A jury has been selected in the trial of disgraced former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner. Ten women and two men were seated as the main jury during the jury selection process, with one woman and one man as alternates.
More than 100 potential jurors spent all day Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Knoxville for day two of the selection process. U.S. Magistrate Ronnie Greer had all of them stay until the final 12, plus two alternates were selected Wednesday evening.
Court started Tuesday with a pool of 129 potential jurors from the Eastern Tennessee District. That got whittled down to a smaller, preliminary pool of several dozen. The final 12, plus the two alternates, were selected from the preliminary pool.
For two days, Baumgartner's defense attorney, Don Bosch, worked to keep potential jurors he felt "struggled" with keeping personal opinion separate with the facts, out of the pool. He also didn't want anyone who might indicate they would hold Baumgartner to a higher standard than other people because Baumgartner was a judge. And, Bosch intensely questioned some individual jurors about their beliefs on pill addiction. That was a move to get at whether those people would confuse Baumgartner if evidence of his pill addiction is introduced.
Looking ahead, to the rest of the trial, which is expected to last in to next week, the defense has said it won't deny Baumgartner's pill addiction or that he had a sexual relationship with Deena Castleman, a graduate of his drug court. The defense denies Baumgartner tried to cover up Castleman's involvement in a drug conspiracy.
Prosecutors must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt for a guilty verdict: that Castleman committed a drug trafficking conspiracy; that Baumgartner knew about it; that Baumgartner failed to notify authorities; and, that Baumgartner took an affirmative step to conceal Castleman's alleged drug offenses.
Castleman, and the seven people Baumgartner is accused of lying to, are all expected to take the stand against the former judge in the coming days.
The jury is expected to convene at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday; court proceedings start at 9 a.m.
Baumgartner faces seven counts of misprision of a felony. Prosecutors say he lied to the people, including state official, while trying to cover up a drug trafficking conspiracy.