UPDATE 12:50 PM: A jury has been seated in the Tia Pugh trial. The group consists of 12 jurors and two alternates. At least three of the 14 are African-American. A majority of the group are women. Opening statements are expected to start at 2 pm.
UPDATE: A federal judge ruled Monday morning against two defense motions. The judge said it appeared the potential jury pool’s makeup appeared to be the result of randomness and not a larger problem. The judge also denied a motion to delay the trial until September. Jury selection starts at 9 this morning as a result.
ORIGINAL STORY: MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — From the start Tia Pugh’s defense claims her actions at a George Floyd protest last year do not merit federal charges. Now they say a case built around racial justice protests may have a jury unfairly stacked against the defendant.
Police say Pugh was the one seen by a News 5 camera taking a baseball bat to the passenger window of a Mobile Police Department SUV. Last week a judge denied Tia pugh’s motion to dismiss federal charges. The 21-year old mobile woman will appear in federal court today.
At issue: whether her trial will start today. The defense is asking a judge to dismiss the current jury pool of 55 people arguing it’s not racially diverse enough and saying there’s a high probability that a racially charged case like this will end up with an all-white jury. Failing that the defense would like to postpone the trial to September when a new “jury wheel” would be available. Federal prosecutors say the arguments from the defense over the jury pool are not valid and the case should move forward today. Pugh was among hundreds of people protesting the death of George Floyd in may of last year in downtown Mobile.