The federal judge in the Ronell Wilson death penalty case said Thursday he had only limited worries about the impact that publicity about the convicted cop killer's affair with a federal prison guard will have on prospective jurors.
"Many people do not read newspapers, do not watch television news, and know nothing about this," said U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis. " . . . I don't want to make light of this. But think there's more concern about whether Beyoncé is lip syncing."
Wilson was convicted in 2006 of shooting two cops during an undercover gun buy in Staten Island in 2003, but his death sentence was overturned on appeal. A new jury trial on his penalty is planned this year. Last week, guard Nancy Gonzalez of Huntington Station was accused of having an affair in jail with Wilson and carrying his baby.
At Thursday's hearing on the upcoming trial to decide whether Wilson gets live in prison or is executed, Garaufis said he plans to have 2000 potential jurors fill out questionnaires as the first step in jury selection.
Defense lawyer David Stern said he expects to file a motion seeking a change in location of the trial due to potentially prejudicial publicity about Wilson.