TOLEDO -- Tom Noe's much-anticipated trial began Tuesday, Oct. 10, with jury selection. Sixteen of the 28 potential jurors were removed from the pool, most of them for saying they believe Noe is guilty. The process of selection is expected to run through this week, with testimony beginning next week.
Noe and his four attorneys walked into the courtroom of Judge Thomas Osowik around 10am Tuesday morning. About an hour later, attorneys began the process of questioning potential jurors.
The prosecution and the defense will pick the jury from a pool of more than 100 people. Noe is facing 45 felony charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, grand theft, and money laundering. Prosecutors contend Noe stole millions of dollars from a rare coin fund that he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.
Some of the questions for the possible jury include: Are you an investor? Do you collect rare coins or antiques? Have you ever visited Vintage Coins and Collectibles, which was Noe's former business? The judge also told the jury pool there will be questions about the media attention given to the Noe case.
Noe has pleaded not guilty to theft, money laundering, forgery and a corrupt activity charge. A state audit says Noe funneled the money into his own businesses and spent some of it remodeling his Florida Keys home.
The trial itself is expected to last as long as two months, and that means it could be going on during election day Nov. 7. That's significant because some Democrats say the case is an example of corruption in the Republican Party.
Investigations into the Noe coin investment question led to separate ethics charges against Gov. Bob Taft. Noe has pleaded no contest.
Among those who could be called to testify in Noe's trial are State Auditor Betty Montgomery and James Conrad, the former director of the Ohio Workers Compensation Bureau. If convicted on the most serious charges, Noe could face as many as 10 years behind bars.