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Jury Pool Trimmed for Irvin Drug Trial

June 27, 1996

DALLAS (AP) _ The jury pool for the drug trial of Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin was down to 57 people, including 10 blacks, going into the third day of jury selection.

The list of potential jurors had 67 people as proceedings resumed Wednesday, but was cut to 65 when one person failed to show up and another was excused because of a scheduling conflict.

Eight prospective panelists were cut when they said they had formed opinions as to Irvin’s guilt or innocence because of media coverage.

That dropped the number of potential jurors who are black to 10, a day after Irvin’s lawyers complained there weren’t enough blacks in the jury pool.

Irvin faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence if he is convicted of the second-degree felony cocaine possession charge. He is also charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

His lawyers have filed a motion asking that if Irvin is found guilty, his sentence should be set by state District Judge Manny Alvarez, not the jury. They also filed a motion asking that Irvin receive probation if convicted.

Prosecutors want to hear from Irvin’s teammates and fellow wide receivers Kevin Williams and Billy Davis, who have been subpoenaed in the case.

At one point Wednesday, assistant district attorney Mike Gillett complained that Irvin nodded at a juror being brought into the courtroom for questioning by Alvarez.

``I don’t want any signs or any gestures,″ Alvarez said.

When a member of the defense team then complained that prosecutor Shannon Ross had been smiling at jurors as they walked into the room, Alvarez lectured both sides.

``I’m not putting up with this petty stuff,″ he said. ``If I make a call, I don’t want any back talk. Don’t push me on this. The sanctions are going to be swift, and you won’t like it.″

The trial is expected to take up to three weeks. The Cowboys open preseason camp on July 17.

Irvin, 30, was indicted along with topless dancers Jasmine Jennipher Nabwangu, 22, and Angela Renee Beck, 21, who were in an Irving motel room March 4 when police were summoned by the night manager.

The motel manager testified in a pretrial hearing that he called police because he recognized the two women as prostitutes who had left drug paraphernalia in rooms they rented previously.

Only Beck was arrested that night, after telling police the drugs belonged to her. Former Irvin teammate Alfredo Roberts was also in the room, but wasn’t indicted. Nabwangu and Beck are to be tried later.

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