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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

40 excused of 175 in Noe jury pool

Nearly one-quarter of the prospective jurors summoned for the criminal trial of coin dealer Tom Noe have been excused from jury service.

With the trial less than 10 days away, Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik yesterday released 40 potential jurors from the highprofile case during a hearing with defense attorneys and prosecutors on pretrial issues.

Subpoenas to appear as potential jurors were sent to 175 people. But Judge Osowik allowed those with legitimate excuses under state law to be excused from reporting to court on Oct. 10.

The number and reasons for being excused were: 16 for outdated addresses making the subpoenas undeliverable; 10 for medical conditions ranging from surgery to arthritis; 10 for having turned 75 years old, and three potential jurors had moved out of the county.

One potential juror who cited a financial hardship also was excused. The attorneys and prosecutors did not object to any of the excuses offered by those subpoenaed.

The two sides will meet with Judge Osowik Friday to review any other excuse requests submitted by potential jurors.

Noe is facing 46 felony charges stemming from allegations that he embezzled more than $3 million from two coin funds he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $500,000 bond.

Defense Attorney John Mitchell also argued yesterday that an accountant's report on Noe's income tax filings that prosecutors plan to enter into evidence should not be allowed at trial. Judge Osowik said he would issue a ruling on Monday.

Jury selection is expected to take about five days. Judge Osowik said opening statements will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 16.

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