JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jury selection is set to start May 29 in the trial of James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman who's charged with kidnapping in the 1964 of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.
US District Judge Henry T- Wingate set the trial date today (Thursday). He also ruled that a detailed questionnaire will be used to screen the racial attitudes of potential jurors. Defense attorneys had objected to use of the written question-and-answer form.
Assistant Public Defender Kathy Nester says some of the questions proposed by prosecutors could be used to inflame the prejudices of potential jurors.
But, federal prosecutor Paige Fitzgerald says it's important to ask potential jurors a wide range of questions -- including whether they've been members of organizations such as the Klan. Wingate will put together a questionnaire by next week, using suggestions from prosecutors and the defense.
The 71-year-old Seale was in court for the pretrial hearing today (Thursday). He remains in the Madison County Jail while awaiting trial.