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From the archives: Prospective jurors know Marcos best for her shoes

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos shows a telephone

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos shows a telephone handset shaped into a shoe during an interview at her residence.(Aug.16, 1999) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

This story was originally published in Newsday on March 21, 1990

For Imelda Marcos, there was no business like shoe business yesterday as jury selection began for her trial on federal racketeering charges.

Four of the 10 potential jurors picked by U.S. District Court Judge John F. Keenan said they knew of the former Philippines first lady as the owner of thousands of pairs of shoes.

Marcos even got a good laugh when Keenan asked potential juror Samuel Cerezo, a Transit Authority supervisor, if he would hold it against her.

"No, my daughter also has a lot of shoes," Cerezo quipped.

Marcos' collection of shoes became famous after she and her late husband, former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, were ousted from power in February, 1986. The shoes were found in the basement of the presidential palace.

Marcos, 60, is charged with illegally transferring $ 168 million stolen in the Philippines to the United States and with defrauding U.S. banks of $ 165 million. Her co-defendant, Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi, 54, is charged with fraud and obstruction of justice for allegedly helping the Marcoses to conceal investments in four choice Manhattan properties.

Marcos arrived yesterday at the federal courthouse in a gray limousine about 45 minutes early and was instantly engulfed in a crowd of photographers. Dressed in a black cloak and high-heeled black shoes, it took several minutes for her to climb the 17 granite steps to the courthouse.

About 30 people who described themselves as "Veterans for Marcos" demonstrated in Marcos' support, saying she should not be tried in the United States. They handed her a bouquet of flowers and a wreath.

Marcos paused and made a brief statement, telling reporters, "I am a Filipino citizen. I should be tried in my own country and not in a foreign country. I pray I will be treated and tried like an ordinary American citizen seeking for justice."

The Philippines government of Corazon Aquino later sent in public relations man John Scanlon to make its case to the public. Scanlon handed out a statement in which the lawyer for a Philippines investigative commission said that Marcos had tried to use the United States "as a depository for millions of dollars in blood money stolen from the Filipino people."

Interviews with 20 potential jurors were conducted in Keenan's robing room, with the defendants, lawyers and several reporters present. Among those picked for the juror pool were a retired foreman from a sheet metal shop, a graduate student and a paralegal.

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