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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Oprah to sit on murder trial jury
Oprah Winfrey outside court in Chicago
Winfrey was one of 12 jurors and two reserves sworn in on Monday
US television host Oprah Winfrey has been picked to sit on the jury for a murder trial in her home city, Chicago.

Winfrey, 50, was among those picked from 300 potential jurors on Monday.

The presenter will help decide whether Dion Coleman, 27, is guilty of shooting Walter Holley in an argument over a counterfeit $50 note in February 2002.

The trial is expected to last three days. Winfrey said: "I'm just hoping it doesn't take longer than a week because I have shows to do."

The billionaire celebrity will get the standard $17.20 (9.33) a day for her time and be allowed to use a side entrance to the courthouse.

But that is the only special treatment she will receive, authorities have said.

She said she would finish reading Anna Karenina and work on ideas for her TV show while waiting around.

'Straight up'

"But I think the whole process is really good because I've been on trial myself and I understand what it takes in terms of people giving up their time," she said.

In 1998, the chat show host went on trial in Texas when cattle farmers sued her, claiming a show about mad cow disease harmed their industry. Winfrey won the case.

When asked how Winfrey was picked for the current trial, Judge James B Linn said: "This was a straight-up jury selection."

Winfrey is one of the highest paid women on television thanks to her hugely successful talk show, which is syndicated around the world.

She recently signed a new deal to keep The Oprah Winfrey Show on TV until 2011, ensuring it will reach a 25-year milestone.

She had hinted that she would bow out in 2006 but decided to extend her contract after ratings were boosted.

The show has won 38 Emmy awards, been distributed to 107 countries and has been a top-rated talk show in the US for the past 18 years.

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