Jury selection begins for Linda Schrenko trial

By: Laurie Ott
By: Laurie Ott

Jury selection started Tuesday, April 25 in Linda Schrenko's federal trial.

The former state school superintendent from Columbia County faces dozens of fraud, theft, and money laundering charges.

Prosecutors says she stole more than $613,000 of taxpayer money, with about half of it going to her failed campaign for governor, and $9,300 paying for plastic surgery.

News 12 broke the story.

This time, Schrenko left the faux fur coat at home; she was wearing a cream suit to court when she arrived Tuesday morning.

She smiled often at the prospective jurors, who ranged in age from 20s to 60s.

They come from 10 Atlanta-area counties and have professions ranging from paralegal to IT work at Dekalb County schools.

Defense attorneys focused on how much those prospective jurors know about the case, and whether or not they know anyone in law enforcement, the legal profession, or the Department of Education, which Schrenko once headed up.

They also zeroed in on one prospective juror, who'd filed for bankruptcy in a divorce. That could be because Schrenko has been through both as well.

Defense attorneys also wanted to know more about how the testimony of Schrenko's former aide Merle Temple might be taken by those potential jurors. Temple has cut a deal with the prosecution.

The defense asked several prospective jurors, "If someone takes a plea deal, do you think the person they're testifying against is guilty?"

Temple pled guilty in January of 2005, before Schrenko and her other co-defendants were hit with multiple money laundering charges.

Juror questioning continues tomorrow. The trial starts Monday, even if they pick a jury before the end of the week.

News 12 will be there.

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