Forty prospective jurors were interviewed for the sexual abuse trial of former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET -- By the end of the day Tuesday, nine jurors were selected at a central Pennsylvania courthouse, where former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will stand trial on charges of sexually abusing children.
"I need you to all have an open mind," Judge John Cleland told jurors, according to PennLive.com. "This defendant is charged with sexual abuse of children."
Sandusky, who had been laughing as Cleland made a few jokes with jurors, immediately looked down at that point, PennLive's reporter wrote from the courtroom.
One of two middle-aged women selected told the court she's been a Penn State football season-ticketholder since the 1970s and that her husband works for the medical group where the father of key witness Mike McQueary previously worked. A 24-year-old man was also selected.
Cleland said that unless ties to witnesses or Sandusky were strong, relationships such as hers would not mean she could not serve on the jury, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The jury selection officially started later than scheduled with 240 prospective jurors out of the 600 who were called. The pool will be narrowed to 12 jurors and four alternates.
The initial pool of 600 was narrowed down via an at-home questionnaire, PennLive.com reported.
The 240 potential jurors will be divided into groups of 40 for more questions, followed by one-on-one questioning for those who are not dismissed. The process could take days, reported AP, but the judge said he wants the trial to start Monday.
Cleland also told the prospective jurors what their duties would entail and said they would not be sequestered during the trial, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Judges rarely isolate juries; when they do, it is to prevent them from being swayed or threatened.
"I'm trusting you will not read the newspapers, watch TV news, will not read blogs,” the judge said, according to the Inquirer. “I'm sure that judgment will not be misplaced."
Jurors are being chosen from among people who live in the State College area, where Penn State's main campus is located, AP reported.
TV trucks surrounded the courtroom, as potential jurors began slowly filing into the front door of the courthouse around 8 a.m. One man wore a gray Penn State sweatshirt, AP reported.
Sandusky and his lawyer, Joe Amendola, made no comments as they arrived. He has repeatedly denied the charges.
Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. Some of the alleged victims are expected to testify.
The defense also presented a list of some 60 possible witnesses that includes: the son and wife of the late coach Joe Paterno; former Penn State President Graham Spanier; and PennLive.com reporter Sara Ganim.
On Monday, the alleged victims were told they would have to use their real names when they testified. Lawyers for five accusers had requested their clients be allowed to use pseudonyms.
Penn State, for its part, released a statement on the trial that read: "We are further hopeful that the legal process will start to bring closure to the alleged victims and families whose lives have been irrevocably impacted and that they can begin the healing process."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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