03/13/2013 12:42 pm ET

William Beavers Jury Pool Has No Black Men, Prompts Defense Team Outcry And Claims Of 'Rigged' Trial

As Cook County Commissioner William Beavers preps to stand trial on charges he pocketed campaign money to pay off gambling debts at the Horseshoe Casino, Beavers' defense team is claiming the deck is stacked against him.

During the trial's jury selection which started Monday, not a single black man appeared in the randomly selected pool of 50 prospective jurors, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The result is unusual given one-quarter of Cook County residents are black and one-third of the city's population is black, according to the most recent census.

Beavers' defense team led by Sam Adams Sr., meanwhile, thought the result was more than just an outlier.

According to the Sun-Times, Adams hollered “Don’t tell me this was an accident!” outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after spying the jurors in Judge James Zagel’s courtroom.

“I thought I was in Mississippi today," Adams said. "The only black man down here today was Jim Crow!”

As Beavers' defense team argued the pool -- which did include at least two black women -- was not, in fact, a jury of the 78-year-old's peers, Judge Zagel agreed the selection was a rarity. "I've never seen in a criminal case a jury that did not have a single black man," Zagel said, according to Fox Chicago.

The defense team now wants a do-over on jury selection, and while Zagel said he can't remove the randomly-selected jurors, Fox reports Zagel will issue a court order to let the defense examine the clerk's "supposedly random process."

"They're going to say ‘yeah, we rigged the jury?' They're not going to admit it! They're never going to say it," Adams told Fox.

Beavers, who has often called himself a "Hog With the Big Nuts," faces charges of dodging taxes on tens of thousands of dollars that he converted from his campaign funds for personal expenses.

Opening arguments are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, once jury selection is completed.



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