Jurors Screened in Bribery Case

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The list of prospective jurors started out at 100 in the U.S. District Court in Jackson for the case involving Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, wealthy Gulf Coast Attorney Paul Minor and two former lower court judges.

The list was reduced to 71 by noon. Three more were dismissed for hardships before the court began individual questioning.

If 12 jurors cannot be selected from the initial pool of 100, another group of 100 is on standby.

Minor is accused of buying favorable decisions from Diaz, former Circuit Judge John Whitfield and former Chancery Judge Wes Teel. All have pleaded innocent to charges of racketeering, bribery and fraud.

Defense attorneys say the government's case is a political witch hunt. They say U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton, a Republican appointee, targeted Minor because of Minor's connections to the Democratic Party.

Prosecutors have maintained throughout the case that the charges are not political.