DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Late Tuesday night the staff of the judge overseeing the John Wiley Price federal corruption trial, Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn, sent confirmation that a jury had been seated.
There are 10 women, two men and four alternates on the jury.
In what is expected to be a months-long trial, the first step in the process happened pretty quick. Despite concerns about finding and seating an impartial jury -- selection only took one day. The fast pace of the selection process was almost shocking to those monitoring the trial.
Southern Methodist University political science professor Dr. Cal Jillson said, "That surprised the judge... it surprised me. I think it suggests that both sides are confident in the arguments they intend to make and the fact they can make them in a convincing way."
Before the field was narrowed, some potential jurors expressed concerns about the potential length of the trial.
The beginning of the jury selection process was open to the media early in the day, but closed during the final round. During the process attorneys asked potential jurors a number of questions about race and their potential knowledge of the case. At one point, prosecutors asked the panel how many knew Price, who's been commissioner for 32 years, from church or their communities.
While the 12-person jury has been picked, there's no word yet on the racial makeup of the jurors or alternates. But there are things Dr. Jillson says they all have in common. "The people who are on there are people who feel like they can do it and feel like it's a public service that needs to be done. Whether they feel like that coming out of the process, we'll have to wait and see."
Commissioner Price faces charges of bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion. His assistant, Dapheny Fain, is also on trial.
Prosecutors say Price, the longest serving elected official in Dallas County, took more than $900,000 in cash, cars and land in exchange for his commissioner's court vote in favor of business operators.
Price is accused of conspiring with political consultant Kathy Nealy, and Fain in a decade-long operation of taking illegal payments and bribes, by funneling the money through Nealy's consulting business. Commissioner Price, who just won re-election in November, denies it all.
The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
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