Putting the 'American Idol' alum's fame into consideration, one defense attorney notes that jurors could be influenced by how she reacts, which could be used as grounds for a mistrial.
The trial of the man charged with murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew will start Monday, April 9. While the Grammy-winning singer is expected to be in attendance once testimony begins, she is likely to be advised to show little emotion to avoid any mistrial to be declared.
The Associated Press reported that legal experts believed that Hudson's presence at the trial will bring complication due to her celebrity status. Gerald Uelmen, a defense attorney at O.J. Simpson's murder trial, explained, "The risk is that jurors may be watching her rather than testifying witnesses, and they could be influenced by how she reacts."
"She would be well advised not to engage in any facial expressions or outbursts. That could be grounds for a mistrial," Uelmen added. Prominent defense lawyer Gerry Spence additionally pointed out that there's a tendency to protect movie stars and singers almost as if they're family. He said, "And they think, '[He] shot Jennifer's [mother, brother and nephew] and I'm going to get him.' "
It is noted that the problem has started even before the trial begins. 150 potential jurors have filled out their questionnaires in court sometime last week, and when Judge Charles Burns asked if prospective jurors couldn't hear the evidence "without sympathy, bias or prejudice," 20 of them volunteered to leave.
Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson and nephew Julian King were gunned down by William Balfour, an estranged husband of her sister Julia, in October 2008. While the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother were found in the family home, the body of her nephew was found days later in a vehicle several miles away.
Balfour was arrested in December the same year and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of home invasion. Meanwhile, Hudson is expected to be called to the witness stand in the triple murder trial. The "American Idol" alum, who won an Oscar for her role in "Dreamgirls", is included on the 300-name list of witnesses who could testify.