Edward Garland, Lewis' lead defense attorney, said after court adjourned yesterday that the statement isn't particularly important, but "it was something we wanted not to be in the case, not to have to deal with." Now, he said, Lewis' attorneys will have to explain his response to police.
Meanwhile, both sides expressed satisfaction with the jury selected yesterday. The 12-person panel is made up of nine black women, a black man, one white woman and one white man. They range in age from 20 to 73, with the average about 37, said Lewis attorney Tony Axam.
The defendants ensured a predominantly African-American jury by opting to try the case in mostly black Fulton County. Lewis and his co-defendants are black.
"I think that we have a jury that can understand the interplay between African-American men and women and the aggressive conduct of the decedents," said Steve Sadow, an attorney for Sweeting.
Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Clinton Rucker said: "I think it's consistent with the kind of juries we get in Fulton County. We're very pleased."
The final selection took about 45 minutes, culminating a week of extensive questioning. Both sides started with a pool of 150 registered voters. Of that, 41 were cut based on their responses to written questionnaires - most said they thought Lewis was guilty.
Yesterday, each side took turns, starting with the prosecutors, "striking" unwanted jurors. Among those rejected by the prosecutors: a black man who appeared to be in his 20s and was a high school classmate of recently drafted Raven Jamal Lewis. The man took a dim view of police, saying that half of Atlanta's police are probably "dirty."
Bruce Harvey, attorney for Oakley, pointed out that the defense did not use all the strikes at its disposal. Prosecutors used all six of their strikes after nine of the jurors were picked. The defense ended with two unused.
"I think the jurors who remain are excellent jurors," Harvey said. "The true test, however, is when they return the verdict."
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