A six-person jury has been seated to decide whether Atlanta Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha obstructed governmental administration, engaged in disorderly conduct and resisted arrest stemming from an April 8 confrontation outside of a Manhattan nightclub.
Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday morning and the trial is expected to wrap up by the end of the week in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Sefolosha’s defense attorney, Alex Spiro, said his client was “completely innocent” of the charges.
The selected jurors include four women and two men, one of whom is black, according to The New York Times.
Both sides raised the issue of race during jury selection, with Spiro arguing that the New York City Police Department’s decision to arrest Sefolosha possibly had been strongly influenced by his race.
“I can’t have a referendum, but my client is black,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Spiro as saying in court.
Sefolosha sustained a season-ending injury in the April struggle and missed the Hawks’ playoff run. Police were investigating the stabbing of another NBA player. They say Sefolosha ignored orders to step away from the crime scene and became combative.
According to The New York Times, Spiro says Sefolosha insisted on going to trial to clear his name.
Prosecutors announced they were dropping charges against another Hawks player, Pero Antic.
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