Trial begins for man who doused war protesters

Posted: Wednesday, July 09, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The trial of the man who dumped water on anti-war protesters in Soldotna began Tuesday in Kenai with a search for a jury.

A handful of potential jurors said they had pretty much made up their minds either for or against Jeff Webster, 44, the fishing guide, taxi driver and father of a Marine who twice doused demonstrators during the war in Iraq. They were dismissed from the jury panel.

Magistrate David Landry finally seated a jury of four women and three men after Webster's lawyer, former Republican gubernatorial aspirant Wayne Anthony Ross, finished questioning them on their support for the war, their past involvement in protests of any kind and whether they remembered where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.

Webster has been charged with five misdemeanors, including harassment, assault and interfering with constitutional rights.

Webster said in several interviews in April he had dumped water on the demonstrators twice from a passing pickup, once in late March and once in early April. He said at the time he did it in defense of his son, a Marine who had been deployed to Iraq.

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