No jurors seated on day 1 of Schoharie limo crash trial
Jury selection is underway in Schoharie County in the trial of Nauman Hussain. Jury selection in this case is a slow, deliberate process, under the watchful eye of Judge Peter Lynch. No jurors were seated on day one.
He was the operator of the limo company involved in the October 2018 crash that killed 20 people. There were 17 passengers in the limo, along with the limo driver and two people in the Apple Barrel parking lot, where the limo crashed.
Each potential juror is being asked about — among many things — any connections to law enforcement, or anyone on the long list of potential witnesses.
Hussain was at the courthouse with his attorney, Lee Kindlon, on Monday.
Hussain is charged with 20 counts of manslaughter and 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide, one for each person who died.
The difference is manslaughter is reckless conduct, and the other is criminal negligence.
Both sides are trying to pick 12 jurors and four alternates.
The trial began after a state appellate court denied Hussain’s request to restore his previous guilty plea — a plea that would have kept him out of jail. That plea was not accepted by this judge, Peter Lynch.
Kindlon told NewsChannel 13 on Monday that his client is ready for this day to come.
“This is the first step in demonstrating that he is not guilty of the charges and that other people bear responsibility. Mavis and the state of New York, we’ve said from day one they should be here, but they’re not,” said Kindlon. “Unfortunately, we feel this is the weaponization of the criminal justice system. They’re going to fit the facts to try to convict one man when other people should be here.”
There are some 170 people on the potential witness list, according to Kindlon.
Jurors can find Hussain not guilty of both manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, or guilty of just one or the other.
Lynch told the jury pool that the trial could last four to six weeks. Many potential jurors so far seem to know someone involved in this case.
Jury selection is expected to resume at 9:30 Tuesday morning.