jennifer hudson*A judge and attorneys began questioning dozens of potential jurors Monday at the Chicago trial of William Balfour, the man accused of killing singer and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew.

By Monday afternoon, nine of the 12 jurors and six alternates were selected.

Judge Charles Burns and attorneys had questioned 24 of the 150 prospective jurors one-by-one for four straight hours before taking their first break.

The judge publicly stated that his desire is to weed out anyone who could possibly be swayed by Hudson’s celebrity status.

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Among the selected jury members were a physical therapist, a junior high school teacher, and a man who works at a country club.

Balfour, below, according to TheAP, sat across a conference table from the prospective jurors, wearing a blue dress shirt and tie. At one point one of his attorneys asked him, “How are we doing?” Balfour nodded his head, unsmiling.

Balfour, 30, faces a maximum life sentence if he’s convicted. Burns told would-be jurors last week that anyone opposed to capital punishment need not worry because Illinois abolished the death penalty this year.

Testimony will begin April 23 and Hudson is expected to attend every day of the trial. She is among 300 other potential witnesses.

william balfour

William Balfour