In deference to the health of Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Taylor today adopted an abbreviated schedule for the political corruption trial of the governor and five codefendants.
The judge said the trial will proceed on Mondays through Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 or 4:30 p.m., with a two-hour lunch break, while half-day sessions will be held on Thursdays and Fridays.
Mandel's team of physicians declared on May 27 that the governor was sufficiently recovered from what was apparently a slight stroke to stand trial, but only if the trial schedule was limited to no more than four full days a week.
Arnold M. Weiner, Mandel's attorney, said today that Taylor had "closely followed the recommendations of the physicians and I'm satisfied with the schedule."
The schedule was announced after selection of the final members of a 42-member panel from which a jury will be chosen to try the case.
Unusual security measure accompanied selection of the 42 from 92 persons interviewed in private by the judge in the presence of the defendants and attorneys. In a break with usual procedure designed to prevent jury-tampering efforts that contributed to a mistrial in Mandel's first trial last Dec. 7, the 42 are being kept in a motel at night and their names are not being made public.
On Thursday morning the prosecution and defense are scheduled to select the 12 jurors and six alternates who will hear the case.
Once the jury is seated, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barnet D. Skolnik, the chief prosecutor, will outline the government's case which accuses Mandel of accepting gifts worth about $200,000 from his friends and codefendants while he influenced legislation that benefited them.
Taylor has limited Skolnik's opening argument to no more than an hour and a half. At the first trial Skolnik's opening presentation lasted 4 1/2 hours.
Unlike the first trial, at which only two defense attorneys gave opening arguments, all six defense attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements, with each lasting up to an hour.