Jordan Johnson Trial Gets Underway Friday in Missoula [AUDIO]
Jury selection will get underway Friday in the rape trial of suspended University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.
400 potential jurors were notified to appear at the Holiday Inn at the Park Friday morning. The state asked for an extraordinarily large jury pool because of the difficulty of finding an unbiased panel. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said he would be surprised if court officials were able to question all the potential jurors and seat 12 men and women with alternates in time to start hearing testimony on Friday.
Former chief deputy prosecutor, and now co-counsel for the defendant, Kirsten Pabst, said her team has only requested a pool of 100 jurors, but was not surprised at the number requested by the state.
Johnson is accused of sexual intercourse without consent, in an incident that occurred at the residence of the alleged victim on February 4th, 2012.
The incident, and all that has followed over the last year, has garnered state-wide and national interest from media outlets from ESPN to CNN to the New York Times. In addition to the alleged rape, the University of Montana and Missoula have come under intense scrutiny over alleged incidents of sexual assault.
In addition, The United States Justice Department, Civil Rights Division, the Department of Education and the NCAA have all been investigating the University for nearly a year. No results from any of those investigations have been released as of Thursday, February 7.
The Johnson trial is expected to last for at least two weeks in Missoula District Court.
Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg
Johnson Defense Attorney Kirsten Pabst