With jury seated, Donnan trial gets underway

A jury panel of nine women and five men (which includes two alternates) was seated Tuesday afternoon and opening arguments were to begin immediately in the fraud trial of former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan in U.S. District Court.

The jury members were selected from a pool of about 100 that were summoned to downtown Athens from all over Northeast Georgia. In a 41-count indictment, Donnan is accused of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme to defraud investors of millions of dollars. A co-defendant, Gregory L. Crabtree of Ohio, has already pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and could be called to testify.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been limited to one hour apiece to make their opening statements. U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal instructed the jury about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

The witness lists for the trial, revealed during the process of striking the jury, is like a who’s who in college and pro football and other sports. Among the individuals who could be called are Bill Parcells, Frank Beamer, Barry Switzer, Hines Ward, Kendrell Bell, Mack Brown, Dennis Franchione, Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, Mike Gottried, Jonas Jennings, Tommy Tuberville and several other former Georgia players.