Jennifer Hudson's presence could complicate family murder trial, jurors selected
Jennifer Hudson's star power may prove to complicate things if the singer decides to attend the trial of William Balfour, the man charged with murdering her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.
Court proceedings began on April 9 with presiding Judge Charles Burns, who questioned would-be jurors one by one, trying to eliminate anyone who could be swayed by Hudson's celebrity status.
By the day's end, 14 people were selected to be among the 12 jurors and six alternates after nine hours of interviews, according to the Associated Press. The last four panelists are expected to be selected Tuesday.
Hudson is expected to attend the trial every day once testimony begins, court officials say, and she's on the list of witnesses who could testify.
Last week 150 potential jurors filled out their questionnaires in court. Nine of the 66 questions dealt with Hudson's career, which asked them if they had seen Hudson's Academy Award-winning role in "Dreamgirls" and if they have ever belonged to an organization associated with Hudson, like Weight Watchers.
Gerald Uelmen, a defense attorney at O.J. Simpson's murder trial, told the Associated Press that Hudson should refrain from showing emotion during the trial
"The risk is that jurors may be watching her rather than testifying witnesses, and they could be influenced by how she reacts," Uelmen said. "She would be well advised not to engage in any facial expressions or outbursts. That could be grounds for a mistrial."
Cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom.
Prosecutors say Balfour, the 30-year-old estranged husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man. The bodies of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family's home on Oct. 24, 2008. The body of her nephew, Julian King, was found days later in a vehicle several miles away.
Hudson has stayed away from interviews about the murders but briefly spoke about her mother and brother during an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in February 2011.
"I try to do everything to say, 'OK, will my mother like this? Will she be pleased? Will she be proud of that? How do I know she's happy and she's smiling down at me from heaven?'" Hudson said. "And that's what I try to go by and walk by."
Since the traumatic event the singer welcomed a son with fiance David Otunga named David Daniel Otunga Jr. on August 10, 2009.