Jury selected in Buie trial

ALBANY -- After two days of questioning behind closed doors, 12 jurors and two alternates have been chosen to hear the case of embattled former downtown manager Don Buie.

With the jury now set, opening statements will begin at 9 a.m. today, following an 8:30 a.m. motion hearing that will be conducted outside the presence of the jury, Judge Denise Marshall said.

Buie is accused of using his office as downtown manager and CEO of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority to inappropriately distribute taxpayer dollars to his estranged wife, girlfriend and a local downtown business owner.

The other three co-defendants -- Shanon Buie, Nicole Brown and Tim Washington -- have each pleaded guilty to their respective charges and agreed to testify in exchange for reduced sentences.

Monday, 61 jurors filed into a courtroom at the courthouse. By Tuesday morning, that number had been whittled down to 44 with only three prospective jurors saying that media coverage of the case had influenced their opinion of Buie.

Tuesday afternoon, the 14 were chosen and the remainder were released and sent home. After brief instructions from Marshall instructing jurors to stay away from TV and newspaper coverage of the case, they too were sent home and court closed.

Defense attorney Johnnie Graham, who said Tuesday that she would be filing motions this morning, had little to say about the jury selection.

When asked how she thought they did in picking an impartial jury, Graham said, "I don't know, I guess we'll see when the verdict comes out."

Graham said she will likely file a second change-of-venue request with the court before the trial gets started.

Prosecutors on Monday filed a notice with Graham and the court that they intend to broach the subject of Buie's 1995 felony conviction in a Maryland federal court should he testify.

Buie pleaded guilty in 1995 of federal bank fraud charges in Baltimore.

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