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Suspects In Kansas Bomb Plot Seek Conservative Jurors - KOAM TV 7

Suspects In Kansas Bomb Plot Seek Conservative Jurors

Updated:

A judge says three Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb apartments housing Somali refugees have no legal basis to request that prospective jurors come from counties where more residents voted for President Donald Trump.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren issued the decision Wednesday.
    
The men are accused of targeting an apartment complex in Garden City, in rural western Kansas. 

They're being tried at the closest federal courthouse about 220 miles away in Wichita, where trials pull prospective jurors from surrounding, more urban counties.   The men argue the practice is discriminatory because it excludes western Kansas counties where more rural, conservative residents live.

Prosecutors opposed the men's request, arguing that defense attorneys were trying to pick a jury pool based on ideology and open "a dangerous door" to similar requests in other cases.
    
The judge ruled that demographic differences aren't legally recognizable.The judge also noted that adding prospective jurors from sparsely populated western Kansas counties would boost the number of registered Republicans in the jury pool by only 2.37 percent, which he said was "entirely insufficient to show political discrimination."
    
The defendants - Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen -  are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights. Wright also is accused of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors allege the men were part of a militia group.  All three suspects have pleaded not guilty.


 

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