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New York City's mayor reports for jury duty

Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned up at a court in lower Manhattan on Monday, joining about 125 other New Yorkers as they waited to see if they would be selected to serve on a jury.
Mayor's Jury Duty
Flanked by security guards, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg arrives at Manhattan State Supreme court for jury duty on MondayLouis Lanzano / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported for jury duty Monday, joining about 125 other New Yorkers in a lower Manhattan courthouse.

Bloomberg, accompanied by his security entourage and press aides, was expected to serve the full day, waiting while judges in State Supreme Court, New York state's trial-level courts, assembled juries for civil cases. A slow court calendar meant that he might be able to go home after one day, instead of the usual two, court officials said.

By midmorning, Bloomberg and a pool of about 40 others had been called into a courtroom where attorneys were picking a jury for an asbestos lawsuit. The plaintiff's husband died after years of operating a printing press that attorneys said contained asbestos.

"Good morning, Mr. Mayor," the judge said. "He's the same as any other juror, as you will now find out," she told the courtroom.

The plaintiff's attorney noted the mayor's participation.

"If I seem a little nervous to you, give me a break," he told the jury pool. "Let's try to make this as normal as we can."

Landlord-tenant dispute
If picked, Bloomberg would be the second sitting mayor in a row to be part of a jury. His predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, was the foreman on a jury in a landlord-tenant dispute during his second term in 1999.

Unlike many New Yorkers, Bloomberg sounded almost as if he hoped he would end up on a panel when he arrived at the courthouse just a few blocks from City Hall.

"It's always more interesting to be on a jury than to just sit there," he said. "You wish that we didn't need juries, that there was no crime and no civil suits but the real world is people have to make decisions as to what's right and wrong."

As an orientation video began, the billionaire mayor obliged one woman's request for an autograph.

Other high-profile New Yorkers who have been called to serve over the years include Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Barbara Walters, Conan O'Brien, news anchor Ann Curry, singer Roseanne Cash, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Eliot Spitzer, before he became governor.

Last called in 2001
Bloomberg last was called in February 2001, the year he ran for mayor. He served one day but was not picked for a jury. He has been seated on a jury several times, said mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser, serving seven days in 1992, six in 1988 and five in 1981.

Giuliani, a former prosecutor, was on a jury in the case of a man who sued his landlord for $7 million civil personal injury, claiming he was scalded while taking a shower because of faulty plumbing. The jury did not find the landlord negligent.

The five other jurors said Giuliani acted just like a regular guy.