Former President Barack Obama reported to jury duty in Chicago Wednesday morning.
He arrived in a motorcade to the Daley Center in Chicago’s Loop at around 10 a.m. after being called last month to perform his civic duty. He made his way to the 17th floor of the building, where he proceeded to shake hands with hundreds of people there to fulfill that very same responsibility.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans said the former commander in chief “promised to do his duty” and was assigned to a panel that was not called to serve on a jury.
One group was called and the rest of the 220 jurors — including the 44th president — were dismissed, though Evans added that Obama said he was willing to serve had he been selected.
Before he left, Obama went around the room to greet his fellow jurors, some of whom anticipated his arrival and brought books for him to sign, Evans said. He signed autographs and allowed videos and pictures to be taken, but, in keeping with his long-held policy, permitted no selfies.
Obama watched the entire 20-minute educational video during his time at the Daley Center, Evans said. The visit was “not disruptive at all,” he added, despite heightened security, massive lines to enter the building, and plenty of onlookers.
Cook County pays jurors a rate of $17.20 for each day of service, and Evans said the court will be sending Obama a check, adding that his staffers indicated that the former president will likely donate his earnings.
“There is a civilian responsibility for justice to take place and that’s what jury service is all about. No one is excused,” Evans said after Obama’s departure. “If the former president can come, anyone can come,” he continued.
Evans also said that he brought letters from Cook County’s juvenile detention center for Obama, some of which asked him to come visit — an idea that Obama committed to, according to Evans.
Obama, who currently resides in Washington, D.C., has been active in various endeavors for his new Obama Foundation, and has also teamed with the other living former presidents in raising money for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
He was in Chicago last week for his first-ever Obama Foundation Summit.
Published at 10:04 PM CST on Nov 7, 2017 | Updated at 4:38 PM CST on Nov 8, 2017