Opening arguments began at 9 am today in the trial of Bob Allen, the Republican lawmaker from Florida who was who was arrested in July after offering an undercover police officer $20 for the opportunity to perform oral sex in a public men’s room. According to Florida Today, “The second-degree misdemeanor brings with it a potential 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.”
The site reports that three men and three women were chosen for the jury: “The jurors include a Christian school teacher, a county parks and recreation employee, a Florida Power & Light employee and a retired bookkeeper. One of the eight jurors is black. In addition to the questions about prostitution, prosecutors asked potential jurors Tuesday about biographical information — their previous experiences in the courts, with law enforcement and their knowledge of Space View Park in Titusville, where the alleged proffer occurred. Defense questions, meanwhile, pried into the ability of jurors to find a defendant not guilty if evidence presented in the trial either doesn’t match or doesn’t prove all the elements of the crime.”
Last week the judge threw out inquiries Allen made upon his arrest (wondering if his “lawmaker” status might get him out of trouble). Earlier, the judge also ruled inadmissible Allen’s controversial remarks that he was in the men’s room because he was afraid of black men in the park.