Three lawyers, R. Kenneth Mundy, Joseph Gibson and Alan Lenchek, make up Terrence Johnson's defense team, but it is Mundy, widely regarded as one of Washington's top trial attorneys, who will do 99 percent of the arguing in court.

Like Marshall, Mundy admits that his involvement in this trial has become an emotional experience for him.

"I believe Terrence is innocent for reasons which I think will come out during the trial," he said. "I feel emotional about the trial for many different reasons, but the main one is because I've become extremely close to the entire Johnson family.

"I've vicariously felt everything they have felt, and gone through everything they have gone through. Believe me, that has been rough. The whole experience has been draining -- draining on my emotions and draining on my time."

Mundy is aware of the tension on both sides as the trial begins and concedes that everyone involved must be concerned about the reaction when, about 10 days from now, the jury renders its verdict.

"If all the facts are heard, if the trial is fair and if the truth, the whole truth, comes out, I don't think there will be a problem," he said. "There is a difference between being mad and being disappointed.

"Some people are going to be disappointed when this trial is over -- that we know. But people don't have to be mad. I certainly hope they won't be mad. That rarely accomplishes anything."

A superb orator in court, Mundy was able to literally talk Judge Jacob S. Levin out of denying a defense motion. "He just made me change my mind," Levin said as he left the bench. "That's remarkable."

That ability is what Johnson, his family and supporters are banking on as they try to convince the jury which will be chosen today that Johnson is innocent. Mundy will try to convince the jury that Johnson was temporarily insane and acted in self-defense when officers James Brian Swart and Albert M. Claggett IV were shot and killed.

"Terrence is a young man going through an old man's experience," Mundy said. "That and what the two officers and their families have lost makes all this a tragedy, whatever happens in the courtroom."