A jury of seven men and five women was selected here today to hear conspiracy and other criminal charges against Washington lawyer William A. Borders Jr., who is accused of soliciting a $150,000 bribe for Miami federal judge Alcee L. Hastings.
Attorneys for Borders, who is being tried separately from Hastings, disclosed during jury selection a list of potential defense witnesses that included Herbert O. Reid, legal counsel to D.C. Mayor Marion Barry; former D.C. Superior Court Judge Alfred Burka; former Democratic National Committee official Ben Brown; and former Howard University Law School Dean Charles Duncan.
Former Attorney General Griffin B. Bell, who got to know Borders during the Carter administration, and former heavyweight boxing champion Jersey Joe Walcott, a member of the New Jersey boxing commission, are also on that witness list.
Borders, a member of a commission that helps select D.C. judges and the former president of a national association of black lawyers, and Hastings have denied all the charges against them.
Most of the opening day of Borders' trial here in U.S. District Court was taken up with the tedious process of selecting 12 jurors and four alternates.
The jurors selected include a carpenter, a data transcriber for the Georgia state government, a retired home economics teacher, a woman who described herself as a housewife, five businesssmen, a secretary, a wheelchair handler at a local hospital and a builder. Two of the 12 jurors are black.
Borders' defense attorneys include Washington lawyer John A. Shorter Jr. and Atlanta attorney Marvin S. Arrington, who is also serving his second term as president of the Atlanta City Council. Arrington handled the questioning of potential jurors for the defense team during today's session.
In other developments today, Judge Edward T. Gignoux, of Portland, Me, who is presiding over the trial, denied a request from a Florida television station that wanted to make tape recordings of wiretap evidence against Borders as it is played during the trial.
Similar arrangements have been made in other trials, including some of the Abscam bribery cases. But Gignoux expressed concern that Hastings, who has not yet come to trial, could suffer prejudice by the release of such recordings.
Justice Department prosecutors Reid Weingarten and Robert I. Richter, both of the department's public integrity section in Washington, said during the hearing yesterday that most of the witnesses against Borders will be FBI agents from Miami and Washington. The prosecution was to make its opening statement Tuesday.
The prosecution contends that Borders and Hastings, a federal judge since 1979, conspired to receive the $150,000 payoff from Frank and Thomas Romano, who were convicted in Hastings' courtroom of racketeering. A grand jury indictment alleged that in exchange for the money, Hastings would reduce fines and prison terms he imposed on the brothers.