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Posted: November 08, 2017

Former President Barack Obama reports for jury duty in Chicago

Former President Barack Obama reported for jury duty in Chicago Nov. 8.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Former President Barack Obama reported for jury duty in Chicago Nov. 8.

By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk


Former President Barack Obama was up bright and early Wednesday morning as he reported for jury duty in Chicago. 

The Chicago Tribune reported that Obama was one of 168 people who was assigned to one of 16 panels for jury duty, according to a spokesman for the chief judge. The panel Obama sat on was sent home with seven others around noon. CNN reported that Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans told reporters that Obama was not selected to serve on a jury.

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“The public allowed him to come in and to do his duty,” Evans said at a news conference held after Obama’s exit. “I thought, for example, he would be reticent about greeting them. He came in and greeted the prospective jurors on both sides of the panels. We had about 220 people here. He took time to greet people on both sides.”

Joshua Lott/Getty Images
Former President Barack Obama extends his hand as he attends Cook County jury duty at the Daley Center on November 8, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Jurors receive $17.20 for each day of jury service.

Twitter user Angel Martinez was among those in the assembly room and recorded video of POTUS44 greeting jurors. Martinez posted the video to Twitter.

“Thanks to everyone for serving on the jury -- or at least being willing to,” he is heard saying on the video.

Although Evans said Obama didn’t pose for selfies out of concern that he would be delayed, he appeared to shake the hands of everyone in the jury assembly room. 

At one point, he signed copies of his books brought by some jurors.

“He discovered that some knew they might have a chance to meet him and they brought books for him to sign,” Evans said. “I saw him pause for a moment and I thought his Secret Service panel may not permit him to do that, but he said that he wanted to sign their books and he did sign.” 

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were previously called for post-presidency jury duty, in 2003 and 2015, respectively. Neither were selected for a jury.

Chicago’s own Oprah Winfrey was selected to be on a jury, in 2004, however. The Tribune reported that she and 11 other jurors convicted a man of first-degree murder for shooting and killing a man over $50.

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