Mr. T held court Friday outside the Rolling Meadows courthouse, where the television and film star was assigned jury duty.
"I pity the criminals today," said the Chicago resident, who said he was designated a potential juror for a trial scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Sporting his trademark mohawk and wearing an FBI sweatshirt and hat, Mr. T, who co-starred in the movie "Rocky III" and on TV's "The A Team" spent his lunch break shaking hands, posing for photographs and chatting with fans whose numbers included courthouse personnel, attorneys and law enforcement officers. All of them jockeyed for position near the gregarious celebrity, who accommodated female fans with the comment "ladies first."
"My mama taught me that," said the self-described "old-fashioned mama's boy" as he encouraged young people in the crowd to listen to their mothers.
Mr. T, 62, who was born Lawrence Tureaud, said he never considered "playing hooky" when he received his jury summons.
"That's not my style," said the former bodyguard-turned-actor, who expressed respect for law enforcement and the judicial system. "I've got to set an example. I understand my responsibility. I told the judge: I'll do my best to never let you down."