Jury Seated In Britney Traffic TrialOctober 16, 2008
A jury was seated Thursday in Britney Spears’s misdemeanor driving-without-a-license trial in a Van Nuys, Calif. court.
The 12-person panel, with two alternates, includes 10 women and four men.
Of these, at least eight expressed some form of sympathy for the pop star when asked their opinion of her, although most felt neutral in their overall impression of Spears.
Said Juror No. 1, “I think she’s a train wreck, but it’s not her doing. She has some not good people around her. It’s a sad situation.”
At least three of the seated jurors expressed sentiments that Spears was under “too much pressure” from the constraints of fame. Juror No. 18 said Spears had “enormous success at a young age.”
In addition, juror No. 13 stated that Spears suffers “medical problems, but with the right help, she’ll be okay.”
Several who had negative views of Spears, as well as many with no opinion, were dismissed in the court’s effort to seat a fair jury.
Soon after the jury was seated, prosecutor Michael Amerian’s brief opening statement called the case “straightforward. Spears was driving on Aug. 6, 2007, and did not have a California license.” He added that the jury would conclude “that she is in fact, guilty.”
Spears’s attorney Michael Flanagan then argued that Spears, in possession of a valid Louisiana state license, was not required to get one for California until she becomes a permanent resident of the state.
“She regards Louisiana as her [permanent residence],” he said. “She’s building a new house there, where she hopes to return as soon as her custody situation is straightened out.”
Flanagan also pointed out that Spears currently pays income taxes in Louisiana, is registered to vote there and never applied for a homeowner’s exemption for a tax break on her Los Angeles home.
Among the witnesses expected to be called over the next few days are Spears’s father Jamie, a photographer, a DMV investigator, and several police officers.
If convicted, Spears faces a maximum six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. She isn’t required to attend the hearings as it is only a misdemeanor case.