Durham Trial Begins As Prosecution/Defense Lay Groundwork

Potential jurors were asked initially how much they knew about the case from media reports, and those who knew the least made it through the first round.

Federal Courthouse

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

The trial is being held at the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis.

Jury selection wrapped up today for the trial of Tim Durham and two of his business associates, James Cochran and Rick Snow.

During questioning, potential jurors were asked initially how much they knew about the case from media reports, and those who knew the least made it through the first round.

Potential jurors were also asked about their own financial knowledge, and if any of them had ever bought or owned stocks.

While questioning jurors, it became clear that the prosecution will try to portray Durham as a man who ran a bank that took money in, but gave none back in return. US District Attorney John Minckler asked several members of the jury pool how they would feel if one day, their bank informed them it was out of money. The potential jurors expressed displeasure in that scenario.

The defense, however, painted a different picture of Fair Finance, the bank Durham is accused of mismanaging. Attorney John Tompkins asked some in the jury pool if they knew that corporations do not interact with banks the same way individuals do.

Tompkins also asked about their abilities to render a verdict of ‘not guilty’ if the government had not fully proved all claims against Durham.

Durham is accused of fleecing Fair Finance of more than $200 million over a seven year period while he was CEO of the bank.

He faces charges of wire and securities fraud for allegedly funneling money to himself, friends, and his failing businesses by selling troubled assets to investors through Fair Finance.

After Friday’s hearing, Durham says he is looking forward to telling his side of the story. His attorney Tompkins also expressed satisfaction with the 16 jurors who were selected. 12 of those jurors will decide the case, with four alternates sitting in as well. The jurors do not know if they are primary, or alternate jurors.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

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