Jury selection wrapped up Tuesday afternoon at federal court in New Orleans for the retrial of former Councilwoman and State Rep. Renee Gill Pratt. U.S. District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle spent the day individually questioning potential jurors, eventually narrowing the pool of 90 to 12.
Gill Pratt, a protégé of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for allegedly stealing money earmarked for nonprofits that she and Jefferson’s family members ran. A trial earlier this year ended in a mistrial, as jurors were unable to come to a consensus on her guilt after 30 hours of deliberations.
Former 4th District Assessor Betty Jefferson, Jefferson's sister, and her daughter Angela Coleman are expected to take the stand for the prosecution. Betty Jefferson and Coleman pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, of which Gill Pratt is also accused.
Mose Jefferson, William Jefferson's brother and Gill Pratt's former boyfriend of 20 years, died in May after serving a portion of a 10-year sentence for his 2009 conviction in a separate corruption trial.
Lemelle seated a 12-member jury, along with two alternates. He told attorneys on both sides to have opening statements ready to begin Wednesday at 8:30 am.