Barack Obama turns up for jury duty in Chicago

Former US president arrives at Richard J Daley Centre with Secret Service detail

Former U.S. president Barack Obama joined hundreds of members of the public in Chicago, Illinois in a task many Americans grumble about: reporting for jury duty. Video: @1992AngelM

 

Former US president Barack Obama has arrived at court in Chicago for jury duty.

Wearing a sport coat and shirt, but no tie, Mr Obama waved as he walked near the Richard J Daley Centre in Chicago city centre on Wednesday morning.

Timothy Evans, the presiding judge of the Cook County chief judge, told county commissioners weeks ago that Mr Obama would serve in November, but would not say when.

On Tuesday, Secret Service agents were at the courthouse in anticipation of Mr Obama’s appearance.

The former president is in line to be paid the same $17.20 a day which others receive for reporting for jury duty.

Like other potential jurors, Mr Obama will have to watch a decades-old video in which a much younger Lester Holt, who was a local news anchor before he became a national news anchor, explains the ins-and-outs of jury duty.

Mr Obama is the highest-ranking former public official to be called to jury duty in Chicago, and almost certainly the only one who ever arrived with a Secret Service detail.

But he is not the first former president to be called to jury duty.

In 2015, former president George W Bush answered the jury duty call in Dallas. He was not selected to sit on a jury.

In 2003, Mr Bush’s predecessor in the White House, Bill Clinton, reported for jury duty in federal court in New York City. He also was not selected.

Nor is Mr Obama the first famous Chicagoan to be called to jury duty.

In 2004, TV star Oprah Winfrey was on a Chicago jury that convicted a man of murder.

A decade later, actor Lawrence Tureaud, better known as Mr T, showed up to a suburban Chicago courthouse for jury duty, sporting his usual Mohawk, but without the gold chains for which he is known.

But despite the more subdued outfit, Mr T was not chosen to sit on a jury. – PA