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Jury Selection in James Kopp Federal Trial

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Jury selection began Thursday for the federal trial of anti-abortion extremist James Kopp. Kopp was convicted in 2003 for the murder Doctor Barnett Slepian and is serving 25 years to life. But now federal charges against Kopp must be decided.

100-jurors were brought in yesterday. The selection process will resumed Friday. Potential jurors were required to fill out a 12 page questionnaire that asks if they have any opinions or beliefs regarding the abortion issue. They were also asked if they ever heard about this case.

Attorney John Humann has been assigned as counsel to Kopp, even though Kopp will represent himself. Humann says the juror questionnaire will allow Judge Richard Arcara to weed out those who can not be impartial based on their beliefs.

Kopp faces federal firearms charges and violating the FACE ACT, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances. The government plans to apply that to of Slepain's Amherst home where he was murdered in 1998. The prosecution is expected to claim Kopp prevented the doctor from performing reproductive health services. The judge has ruled that Kopp won't be allowed to promote his anti-abortion views. But Humann says the issue would be difficult to avoid at Kopp's trial. Click the "listen" icon above to hear Eileen Buckley's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.