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Day 2: Jury selection continues in Jack Strain sex crimes trial

WWL-TV is at the Covington Courthouse and will provide live updates throughout the day on the Jack Strain trial:

COVINGTON, La. — Potential jurors in the sex abuse trial against former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain will face questions including their opinion on the parish's law enforcement and whether they have been a victim of sexual abuse.

Eight jurors were seated on Monday, and jury selection will continue through Tuesday. 

WWL-TV is at the Covington Courthouse and will provide live updates throughout the day on the Jack Strain trial:

Live Updates:

Jury selected 

4:30 PM: The jury has been selected for the Jack Strain sex crimes trial and opening statements will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Twelve jurors, made up of six men and six women, were sworn in just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday for the former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s trial.

One provisional juror added; Selection continues

12 PM: Jury selection continued in the Jack Strain sex crimes trial with the defense questioning a panel of potential jurors.

Defense attorney Billy Gibbens’ questions focused on biases potential jurors may have against his client, including how they felt about law enforcement, politicians and people accused of sex crimes.

A handful of potential jurors had a background in law enforcement. Gibbens questioned if they would be biased against the defense because they would have more trust in the investigation than the average juror.

Gibbens may have given a preview of the upcoming trial by asking jurors how important it was that the accused, Strain himself, testify in his own defense, suggesting that his client would not do so.

In the end, only one additional provisional juror was added, bringing the total to nine.

Another panel of potential jurors will be brought in this afternoon for questioning after an hour-long recess for lunch.

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9:30 AM: The court has taken a brief recess to wait for a potential juror that is having car troubles. Strain's defense and Judge Bruce Simpson both said they wanted to continue anyway, but the state said they wanted to wait for the potential juror.

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8:43 AM: Strain and his attorney Billy Gibbens has arrived to the courthouse for day 2 of his trial. 

Background:

Strain faces 4 counts of aggravated rape, 2 counts of aggravated incest, indecent behavior with a juvenile, and sexual battery.

The allegations against the former sheriff were unearthed during an investigation into a work-release program under his direction during his time as sheriff.

Strain pleaded not guilty to the alleged incidents that happened as far back as 1975 when Strain was a teenager. The most recent allegations are from the early 2000s when Strain was serving as sheriff.

Strain has been free on bond since his arrest in June 2019 and now faces life in prison if convicted.

The trial will take place at the 22nd Judicial Courthouse in Covington under retired Lafourche Parish Judge Bruce Simpson. Every other Northshore judge was recused from the case.

The state trial is expected to last up to two weeks but Strain’s time in court won’t be over.

After this trial, he’s set to face trial in federal court this December for charges related to an alleged kickback scheme at a work release program during his time as sheriff.

   

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