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Jennifer Hudson's Fame Hangs Over Murder Trial

Jury selection doesn't look easy in trial of William Balfour
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2012 6:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – Is anyone here not a fan of Jennifer Hudson? Defense attorneys may be wondering that tomorrow as they begin questioning prospective jurors for the trial of William Balfour, the man who allegedly shot and killed Hudson's family, the AP reports. Some in the jury pool gasped last week when Judge Charles Burns read Hudson's name—and 20 got up to leave when asked who was unable to hear the evidence "without sympathy, bias or prejudice." Looking on in alarm, Burns told them to sit back down.

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Burns has banned tweeting and television cameras in the Chicago courtroom, but experts warn that Hudson, who is expected to attend, could influence jurors with just her reactions. "She would be well advised not to engage in any facial expressions or outbursts," said one attorney. "That could be grounds for a mistrial." The fear is that jurors will unconsciously identify with Hudson, as if the alleged killer "attacked somebody in [the juror's] family," said a defense lawyer. "And they think, `[He] shot Jennifer's [mother, brother and nephew] and I'm going to get him.'" (Read more Jennifer Hudson stories.)

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