From the Morning Memo:

Potential jurors will be filling out questionnaires today for the upcoming trial of five people accused of rigging the bid process for state contracts in connection with the governor’s signature upstate economic development project: The Buffalo Billion.

The purpose is to give the court, as well as prosecution and defense attorneys, more information as they aim to pick an impartial jury. The form also gives the general public a little more information about what to expect when the high-profile trial starts. For now, it’s still scheduled for June 11.

The questionnaire asks possible jurors what they have seen or heard about the criminal charges, as well as any connection they have to the defendants: Former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros, former LPCiminelli executives Louis Ciminelli and Michael Laipple, and COR executives Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi.

The bid-rigging allegedly happened for projects in the Buffalo and Syracuse areas, respectively. That includes the RiverBend project – the lynchpin of the Buffalo Billion initiative.

There is a question on the survey about whether the person taking it has any strong opinions about state government officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in particular. Another asks if there are strong feelings about people who do business with New York and also make campaign contributions.

The developers in question here are well-documented political donors to the governor and other elected officials.

Finally, there is a list of roughly 100 people with whom potential jurors are asked if they have any connection. Not everybody on the list will be called to testify, but it’s likely at least some will take the stand, while others will be merely mentioned throughout the course of the trial.

They include current and former state employees – many who would have had involvement with New York’s economic development projects and potentially bid-rigging projects. There also people who would represent competing development companies with both COR and LPCiminelli.

Some names stand out as a bit unusual, like Joann Falletta, a conductor and the music director for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The connection: Louis Ciminelli was the chairman of the BPO board of trustees and a major donor through his family’s foundation.

“Lou Ciminelli is well-regarded and did a lot for the good city of Buffalo, and at least four people on that list or three people are character witnesses I hope will come forward and say that he’s a person of integrity,” defense attorney Paul Shechtman explained. “So they’re on the witness list.”

Shechtman said with the latest development that the prosecution has decided not call disgraced former lobbyist Todd Howe to the stand, another former LPCiminelli executive, Kevin Schuler, will be the government’s key witness.

Schuler took a plea deal earlier this month, and Shechtman expects his testimony could actually help the defense. He already credits Schuler’s plea with convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop bribery charges.

The judge did not make a decision on a request by the prosecution for a brief delay of a week or so for the trial. Shechtman said she indicated she would prefer it start on time in two weeks, but left the possibility open for taking some additional time.

According to the juror questionnaire, the trial, which will take place in Manhattan, could last as long as six weeks.

Juror Questionnaire by Ryan Whalen on Scribd