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Judge drops jurors for media exposure

By DANELIA WILD

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28 -- Six more prospective jurors in the O.J. Simpson murder trial were dismissed Friday because they violated 'Ito's Law,' the judge's order for them to avoid all news media and bookstores. Superior Court Judge Lance Ito dismissed a man who had read a newspaper article over the weekend and a woman who had watched television. Also eliminated was a man who had watched Mickey Mouse cartoons on TV, and had been exposed to radio on a bus he rode to court, prompting Ito to seriously suggest he get earplugs for the ride home. But under further questioning he revealed he had watched the cartoons on television and he was dismissed. The judge indicated he will modify his order to panelists to avoid the media. Ito said he is having his staff prepare edited versions of election campaign coverage so prospective jurors can be informed in time to cast ballots Nov. 8. A 66-year-old Brentwood woman married to an attorney survived Friday's questioning and was ordered to return Nov. 2, when attorneys for both sides are expected to begin exercising peremptory challenges, removing potential jurors without having to state why. The matron, who was born and raised in Italy, said she was willing to serve on the jury, but didn't want to be away from her home for an estimated six months if the jury is sequestered. She said the court would have to force her to serve under those circumstances. 'Maybe you can get people who are lonely, who don't have a very interesting life,' she said.

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'...This is exciting to them. It's their chance at Hollywood.' Defense attorney Robert Shapiro asked if she were on the jury would she take out her frustration on Simpson, 47, who is charged with the slashing and stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend Ronald Goldman, 25, at her Brentwood condominium. 'No sir, if anything I would take it out against the judge,' she said. Prosecutor Marcia Clark asked the woman if there was anything she would hold against the prosecution. 'I think your skirts are too short, how about that,' she said after a brief pause. 'When you sit behind there and you bend -- you can see it.' Clark, who was dressed in a nearly knee-length cream colored dress, was nonplussed for a moment. 'I was wondering when someone was going to mention that,' Ito said. The matron was also highly critical of the media and the pervasive coverage of the sensational case. 'This exploitation of other people's misery is a miserable thing,' she said. The three other panelist asked to return Nov. 2 were black men, including one who had been an assistant news director of a radio station. Another works for Hertz Corp., which employed Simpson as a television pitchman. The third was a carpenter. Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran said it was possible that prosecutors had eased up on their questioning of black jurors on Friday. On Thursday, the defense had accused prosecutors of questioning black panelists differently than white prospective jurors. 'But I think it's too early to tell,' Cochran said. Shapiro and Cochran were met by the Stanford University marching band on their way into the courthouse after the noon recess. The band, which is known for its stunts based on current events, played the Lone Ranger theme as the lawyers walked into the building. They also played 'White Punks On Dope' by the Tubes, and punctuated it with yells of 'Set O.J. free or lock him up.' Shapiro called it 'a new low in tasteless behavior.' The band was in Los Angeles for the Stanford-UCLA football game. Cochran said he would like to have 10 alternates seated on the jury, but said it would be hard to select a jury from the first pool of potential panelist. 'I want to make sure we can get a verdict if at all possible with this first trial,' Cochran said. Costs for the Simpson trial have already exceeded the county's costs for the cases against cult leader Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Sen. Robert Kennedy. The Simpson case has cost the county $912,140 through Sept. 30.

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