Is anyone here not a fan of Jennifer Hudson? Tomorrow, defense attorneys may be asking themselves that question as they try to approve 12 jurors for the trial of William Balfour, the man who allegedly shot and killed the singer’s family, the APreports. Some in the pool of potential jurors gasped last week when Judge Charles Burns read Hudson’s name—and 20 got up to leave when he asked who was unable to hear the evidence “without sympathy, bias or prejudice.” Looking on in alarm, Burns told them to sit back down.
Burns has banned tweeting and television cameras in the 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.’ ”