Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Betty Adams email@example.com
BANGOR — Eight men and seven women were selected today as jurors and alternates for an expected three-week fraud trial for former Chelsea selectwoman Carole Swan.
Staff file photo by Joe Phelan
Staff file photo
Swan, 55, of Chelsea, is charged with 10 counts of defrauding the federal government, and the actual trial is expected to begin just after 1 p.m. today in U.S. District Court.
Swan, wearing a white sweater over a blue and white print dress, sat at the defense table with her attorneys, Leonard Sharon and Cayleigh Keevan. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, sat with Rod Giguere, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service.
The process of narrowing a jury pool of 69 people to 15 — including three alternates — began about 9:45 a.m. and lasted until noon.
Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk warned jurors that the trial could take three weeks, but would end no later than Wednesday, July 26. Kravchuk supervised jury selection for Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who is the trial judge.
Kravchuk had a number of questions for prospective jurors, including whether they knew any of the more than 100 potential witnesses.
“I’ve been doing this for 27 years,” Kravchuk told them. “This is the longest list I’ve ever read.”
More than half those in the jury pool were also asked to respond to a questionnaire regarding domestic abuse, because Swan plans to allege she suffered abuse at the hands of her husband as part of her defense.
The trial has been a long time coming. Swan was initially arrested Feb. 10, 2011, and charged in state court with trying to extort money from a contractor in return for giving him town work.
Those extortion accusations will be heard at a later trial, also in federal court.
Today, jurors were chosen to decide a case in which the government has charged Swan with five counts of fraud for allegedly under-reporting more than $675,000 in income on 2007-2011 federal tax returns; four counts of making false statements to obtain more than $205,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits; and one count of defrauding a federal program in 2007 by inflating the cost of a culvert so Marshall Swan Construction, which she and her husband own, could win the project bid from the town of Chelsea.
Marshall Swan, 56, also of Chelsea, faces one count of aiding and abetting in that alleged fraud. He is also accused of the income tax fraud charges.
He was scheduled to go to trial with his wife until Woodcock ruled on Friday that Carole Swan’s accusing her husband of domestic abuse — which allegedly affected her decision-making and behavior — would deny him a fair trial. As a result, Woodcock ruled that the Swans would have separate trials.
This story will be updated
Betty Adams -- 621-5631