Randy McIIwain, NBC 5 News
Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of ex-Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent, accused of killing his teammate in a drunken driving wreck. Over 100 jurors were interviewed by attorneys during the first day of jury selection on Thursday.
Jury selection in the intoxication manslaughter trial of former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent is now underway.
Brent stands accused of both intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter in connection with the death of friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr., who was killed in a car crash on Dec. 8, 2012, in a Dallas suburb.
Jury selection began Thursday where, due to the high-profile nature of the case and media exposure, the number of potential jurors was doubled to 120 to make sure an unbiased jury of 12 could be assembled.
On Thursday, 23 jurors were excused after many of them said they’d followed the case and were concerned about their ability to be fair and impartial.
The remaining jurors are responding to a detailed questionnaire that took four months for both the prosecution and defense to create. The questionnaire is 23 questions long and is designed to gauge potential bias. Attorneys for both sides will get a chance to directly ask more pointed questions of jurors when the selection process continues Friday.
Brent's trial, which was supposed to begin in Dallas last fall, was rescheduled to this week due to the upcoming holidays and the JFK 50 Anniversary. The trial should begin Monday and is expected to last at least two weeks.
While awaiting trial Brent has twice tested positive for marijuana use in court-mandated drug tests that were a condition of his bond. Meanwhile, his lawyer George Milner fought unsuccessfully to have Brent's blood test removed from evidence after claiming it was taken without a warrant and was inadmissible. Judge Robert Burns denied Milner's request to suppress the evidence.
In October, a Dallas grand jury added a charge of manslaughter against Brent. Milner said at the time that he wasn't surprised by the additional count being added and that it could allow a jury to find Brent guilty without finding that he was intoxicated.
Brent, who, in Aug., 2013, pleaded not guilty to the charge of intoxication manslaughter, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Should he be convicted, his lawyer is expected to ask for probation in the case.
NBC 5's Randy McIlwain and Jeff Smith contributed to this report.