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Last Updated:  Saturday, 1 March, 2003, 17:42 GMT
Clinton may face jury duty
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, also known as Prospective Juror Number 142
Former US President Bill Clinton could be called for jury duty in an attempted murder trial in Manhattan, New York.

The revelation was made during a jury selection hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Friday, when questionnaires prospective jurors fill out for prosecution and defence lawyers to vet those on the jury were read out in court.

Although Mr Clinton's name was never mentioned, his identity became apparent when a question asking about previous jobs was answered "President of the United States".

Prosecution lawyers immediately expressed their opposition, the New York Times reported; however, lawyers for the defence said they felt Mr Clinton, or Prospective Juror Number 142 as he was referred to in court, wanted "to be seated as a juror".

Mr Clinton has a law degree from Yale University and served as attorney general in his home state of Arkansas before successfully running for the White House.

Impartiality fears

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald also expressed her reservations, concerned that the impartiality of the trial may be tainted by sensationalism.

Marc Rich
Rich: Controversially pardoned by Clinton

"To have Juror 142 here, with Secret Service protection is to, it seems to me, undermine our efforts to keep the case focused quietly on the evidence," she said in a court transcript.

Concerns were also raised about a previous investigation into Mr Clinton by US Attorney's office for New York's southern district over whether he had accepted gifts and donations in return for pardoning US billionaire Marc Rich, accused of tax evasion.

Mr Clinton denied the claim, although he later said he regretted pardoning Mr Rich.

Nonetheless, Judge Buchwald later indicated that she would not be willing for Mr Clinton to be part of the jury in the trial, and would give her final decision on Monday.

The trial involves charges of attempted murder by Dushon Foster, who is alleged to have tried to kill someone to improve his position in a street gang.

Mr Foster has pleaded not guilty to the charges, for which he could face life in prison.

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