Jury Picked In Realty Agent's Rape Trial

June 14, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

It took attorneys 6 1/2 hours yesterday to whittle an 80-member jurypool down to the 12 people who will judge prominent Annapolis real estate broker Gary Hart on a first-degree rape charge.

Eight men and four women will be impaneled Monday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court to hear lawyers deliver their opening arguments.

Hart is accused of attacking a 33-year-old woman in his home in the 3700 block of Thomas Point Road following a dinner date. He faces life imprisonment.

Before lawyers started the selection process yesterday, Judge H. Chester Goudy cautioned the pool members that some of the questions may be personal.

"Some of the questions will be of a sensitive nature," he said. "We're sorry about that. It happens all the time."

The woman told police that Hart raped her at about 4a.m. Oct. 16 in the bedroom, holding her down with his arms across her neck, making it difficult for her to breathe, court records show.

The woman told police Hart chased her around the house and shoutedthreats until she was able to get away.

The woman called police later that day, and police filed a complaint against Hart on Nov. 2.

Hart, who twice was charged -- but never convicted -- of abusive behavior toward his now-estranged wife, has denied the woman's allegations. He has said that he had sex with the woman that night but that she became upset because he refused to let her accompany him on a tripto Florida.

Yesterday, Hart sat at the defense table and spent a lot of the time staring at the jury pool as members answered Goudy's questions. Six people said that they, a close friend or an immediate member of their family knew Hart.

Five people said they had dealt with Hart's business or a related firm, Coldwell Banker Elite Properties Inc., a company Hart started in January.

Two people -- both women -- raised their hands when Goudy asked if anyone had ever been charged with rape. Twenty-four people told the judge they were familiarwith the case.

Twenty-three people did not raise their hands to any of the 38 questions Goudy asked in public, which ranged from whether they believed in America's justice system to whether they have ever seen a documentary or read about date rape.

Most of the afternoon was spent in the judge's chambers, as defense lawyers and prosecutors asked more specific questions of each juror.

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