Feeding Our Future trial: jury selected, opening statements on Monday

The Sahan Journal reports that, after four days, a jury has been selected to hear the first trial in the sprawling free-food scandal. Opening statements in the case are now scheduled for Monday in the Federal court in Minneapolis.

The Sahan Journal’s account reports on the demographics of the jury of 18 (12 plus 6 alternates) and how the selection process played out over the week. This detail caught my eye,

Roughly half of the potential jurors questioned recalled seeing, hearing, or reading about Feeding Our Future in the news. 

Only half? I take that as a personal failure.

Those opening statements may take some time, with the prosecutors having to summarize a complex case and lawyers for each of the seven (7) defendants on trial getting a crack at the jury.

While we wait for Monday’s drama, I continue to comb through the exhibit lists and other documents filed in the case to look for clues to how the trial will unfold over the next six to eight weeks.

I’ve paid particular attention to the banking records listed in the index of exhibits. Banking information for all seven defendants is included, plus banking information for three other defendants in the case, not on trial in the current proceeding.

There are also banking records for a few individuals who appear to be spouses of defendants (joint bank accounts).

Then there are banking records included as exhibits for some twenty other individuals, who have no apparent marital or familial relationship to the case’s defendants.

I mentioned one the other day, a man who serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS). His banking records, along with the nonprofits’, are included in the exhibit list, although neither has been accused of any wrongdoing. In all, the nonprofit and its executive director are mentioned in 43 separate exhibits in the Feeding Our Future trial.

Since then, alternative media outlets on both the right (AlphaNews) and the left (MN Reformer) have picked up on the story of Somali Community Resettlement Services.

The nonprofit has been making news on its own. The nonprofit currently has three offices in the state–Minneapolis, Faribault, and Rochester–and is looking to add a fourth office in suburban New Hope.

The Sun Post is reporting that New Hope’s city government is allowing SCRS to purchase property in the city and remove it from the property tax rolls. No date has been set for the new office’s opening.

More to come…