About 250 potential jurors filled out a questionnaire with 43 sealed questions meant to scrutinize their impartiality as the trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi started yesterday.
Judge Mark Wolf provided a brief description of the allegations to the jury pool and thanked them for their service.
“You’re doing something very important to the administration of justice,” Wolf said.
Wolf then asked the attorneys for both sides to introduce themselves and their clients.
Defense attorney William Cintolo introduced the former speaker as “Salvatore DiMasi of Boston.”
DiMasi entered the courtroom about five minutes before 9 a.m. and carried a briefcase.
He talked and held hands with a few supporters and received a hug and kiss from his wife whowas seated in the front row with their two children.
DiMasi is facing charges of fraud, conspiracy and extortion.
He and his co-defendants, Richard McDonough and Richard Vitale, are accused of conspiring in a kickback scheme that saw the men receive payments while DiMasi used his power as speaker to push state contracts toward a software company.
Former co-defendant Joseph Lally will testify for the prosecution as part of a plea deal.
Attorneys for both sides will spend the next couple of days looking over the questionnaires and selecting a qualified jury pool that will be made up of 16 people.
Jury selection is likely to last through the week and opening statements will follow probably next week.