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Media contacting prospective O.J. jurors?

September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jury selection continued for a third day in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery trial in Las Vegas. The former football great could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of all charges. There is a report that a member of the media may have been contacting prospective jurors.Journalists who try to contact jurors are in violation of a court order and subject to contempt of court. Two prospective jurors claim someone claiming to be from a cable news outlet tried to interview them. The court is investigating. In the meantime, attorneys are still trying to find an impartial jury who will decide O.J. Simpson's fate.

Judge Jackie Glass was forced to delay the jury selection process briefly Wednesday after two potential jurors reported they had been approached outside the courthouse Tuesday by a man claiming to be with the media.

"Could you please tell me, Juror 194, what this person said to you?" asked Judge Jackie Glass in court on Wednesday.

"He told me he was from CNN and something ... it sounded like 'I-Report,' and he asked me if he could ask me questions," responded the potential juror.

The two prospective jurors told the judge they refused to be interviewed, and the judge determined neither had been influenced by the contact. Then another prospective juror said they believe O.J. Simpson should have been convicted 13 years ago in the double-murder trial of ex-wife Nicole Brown and friend Ron Goldman.

"Do you think, as Mr. Simpson's lawyer, I should be concerned that you may bring some of your real strong feelings into that jury room when you're weighing the facts, and the evidence and the law in this particular case," said O.J. Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter.

"No because it's a separate case. And I can separate myself from that," replied the potential juror.

Another juror echoed a similar sentiment.

"I feel the case down in California, to me, somebody got away with something like that because in my opinion I feel he was guilty. You would keep yourself clean. You wouldn't come back up here and pretty much commit another crime," said the other potential juror in court.

Finding an impartial jury may be the biggest challenge for attorneys.

Once a jury is seated the panel will watch a surveillance tape from the Palace Station Casino, where Simpson allegedly brought five men to confront a couple of sports memorabilia dealers.

The men can be heard yelling on an audiotape inside the room.

Simpson says the signed footballs and plaques were stolen from him and he was only trying to retrieve it.

Police say only two of the men actually carried guns. But they both cut deals to testify against Simpson. And so did two others, leaving only Simpson and his golfing buddy Clarence Stewart to face the felony charges.

The judge has about half of the panel needed before lawyers can begin exercising their preemptory challenges -- which means they can dismiss a juror without cause. The jury selection process will likely take the rest of the week. Opening statements are expected to begin next week.

 

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