Juror selection difficulties because of Jackson's fame

One in seven potential jurors in the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/95/380/10224_tatu.html' target=_blank>Michael Jackson trial have links to the singer, questionnaires released by the court have shown.

The Santa Maria court has been having difficulty finding 12 people who will give the star a fair hearing and last week issued eight-page questionnaires to 242 potential jurors.

The results showed that almost 90 per cent were aware of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2002/03/01/26707.html' target=_blank>child sex abuse case, while one in seven know the star or know somebody who does, informs News.Telegraph.

A member of the Rock and Roll &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/sport/2001/11/12/20726.html' target=_blank>Hall of Fame with a legendary career that has spanned more than 35 years, Jackson is perhaps the most recognizable celebrity in the world. He is also one of the most controversial. It would be hard to find a person who hasn't heard of Jackson or isn't at least aware of his legal woes.

"If I'm a prosecutor, I wouldn't want any die-hard Jackson fan. You have enough to contend with in proving your case, I wouldn't want to have to compete with that, with trying to bend over backward to win over a Jackson devotee," said Steve Cron, a California-based defense attorney. "As a defense attorney, I would try to avoid someone who is a cable news junkie, someone who is likely to have heard about all the reports and leaks not favorable to Jackson. The more reports you have heard, the more likely you have formed an opinion about the case."

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys, experts say, will try to select a fair and impartial jury by "de-selection." Jury selection is generally a process of elimination in which both sides try to whittle a jury pool down to a panel they believe can put personal beliefs or opinions aside and fairly judge a case. Laws vary from state to state but each side has a number of peremptory strikes to eliminate a juror picked by their opposition, says ABC News.

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