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Prosecutor: Grand jury properly chosen

Prosecutor: Grand jury properly chosen

Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:02 pm

MEMPHIS (AP) — Prosecutors say a white supremacist charged with plotting to kill President-elect Barack Obama and other black people has no legal grounds to challenge the racial makeup of a federal grand jury. Daniel Cowart of Bells argues that the grand jury that indicted him and Paul Schlesselman of Helena-West Helena, Ark., was racially stacked against them. The 20-year-old Cowart and 18-year-old Schlesselman are charged with federal firearms offenses and plotting to kill Obama. They are being held without bond at the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex. In a petition filed Nov. 13 seeking dismissal of the indictment, Cowart argued that the 23-member grand jury had only two white members. Prosecutors said in a filing Monday that Cowart had no grounds to challenge the grand jury makeup and his petition showed a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Grand jury deliberations are secret, but prosecutors noted when jurors recently were present in a magistrate’s courtroom, nine of them were white. Published in The Messenger 11.26.08

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