Biloxi attorney Paul Minor says friends are showing up to support him during a judicial bribery trial, but prosecutors think the defense team is manipulating the jury.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson sat on the front row, behind the defense table, when jurors arrived to deliberate Monday and Tuesday. Former Congressman Wayne Dowdy sat beside Thompson on Monday morning.
“You can see right through that,” said U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton. “They’re there for the purpose of trying to influence the jury.”
Thompson and Dowdy, both Democrats, said they dropped by to buoy their friend Minor, a multimillionaire who contributed $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2001, before his legal troubles began.
Attorneys for Minor and three judges learned from pretrial jury screenings that 10 of 12 jurors are Democrats. One juror lives in Bolton, Thompson’s hometown. The jury forewoman handed out fliers during a Dowdy campaign, she wrote on her questionnaire.