Jurors were seated Wednesday for the second trial stemming from last year’s armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office used a consulting firm to help select jurors for this trial.
Just before jurors were set to enter the courtroom yesterday, the hybrid counsel for one defendant announced he had concerns about the government’s use of Tsongas Litigation Consultants.
Attorney Andrew Kohlmetz says he also worked with the firm in the last year, and discussed pretrial motions and jury selection in numerous conversations last spring and summer. Kohlmetz is representing Jason Patrick.
Kohlmetz says he reached out to Tsongas consultants as recently as November, when he asked a member of the firm to help this second group of defendants pick a jury. Kohlmetz says that person told him the firm was unavailable.
Kohlmetz is concerned that his conversations with Tsongas remain private and not benefit the government’s case.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown asked the consulting firm to draft a declaration that Kohlmetz’s dealings and the firm’s assistance to the U.S. Attorney’s Office have been kept separate.
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