Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I pity the fool

'I pity the fool': Mr. T on jury duty

Who'd expect B.A. Baracus to shirk his civic duty?

Called for jury duty at Cook County Criminal Court, Mr. T didn't disappoint Monday.



Mr. T signed autographs and took pictures with fans when he appeared for jury duty Monday.

The "Rocky III" and "A-Team" star told stories during down time, autographed books and posed for pictures with other potential jurors, county employees -- and the family of the defendant in the case he could have ended up hearing.

"I enjoy doing my civic duty along with my friends I've met," said the Chicago-born actor, 56, motioning to the 20-plus potential jurors who'd been in the room with him for about five hours. "I enjoyed the people that were around me.

"It's not about 'The A-Team;' it's the J-Team -- the jury team."

Ultimately Judge Charles P. Burns dismissed Mr. T and others at 4:32 p.m. when a jury was seated in the drug case.

Sporting camouflage pants, a T-shirt, gym shoes and a longer version of his signature hairstyle, Mr. T -- the only living person besides President Obama to have a Chia pottery figure modeled after him -- carried a matching camo jacket and a gym bag with the logo "Lord's Gym."

"You've got to testify! Tell somebody about it. God is good!" he told an admirer as he tried to leave the building. "I pity the fool that don't get it."

The first at the county building to recognize him as a celebrity was the daughter of the defendant in the case.

Temeka Cartwright recognized Mr. T, born Laurence Tureaud, despite the American flag-patterned bandanna he wore and was quick to ask to snap a photo with him, said her sister Asia, daughter of defendant Sondra Cartwright, who prosecutors say tried to hide illegal drugs during a police raid at her Ida B. Wells apartment building.

She said she didn't know why Mr.T didn't land on the jury.

"My mom would have picked him," she said.

Sondra Cartwright is defending herself in the case.

Like others called for jury duty, Mr. T will collect $17.20 for the day's work.

There was no bad attitude on the part of the actor regarding jury duty.

"If you're innocent, I'm your best man," he said. "But if you're guilty, I pity that fool."