Cult women trial faces year's delay: Legal manoeuvrings by defence could postpone start of conspiracy case
Monday 01 August 1994
Attorneys for Sally-Anne Croft and Susan Hagan are preparing for a fierce pre-trial legal battle aimed at convincing the US District Court in Portland, Oregon, that the jury pool in the state has been prejudiced - both by recent publicity and a lingering hostility towards the cult to which the women once belonged.
It is understood they may demand to be allowed to cross-examine potential jurors in judge's chambers during jury selection. Under federal law, judges question panellists before they are chosen - although they can allow attorneys to do so. The women's lawyers hope this will help weed out jurors who still harbour strong feelings about former followers of the late guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh - some of whom were involved in crimes, including a food-poisoning plot, phone-tapping, arson, and attempted murder.
Defence lawyers are also considering requesting that the trial be moved out-of-state, perhaps to California where the cult's activities received less media coverage. Although the women's trial is scheduled to begin next month, legal manoeuvrings could last many months. According to one defence lawyer, it could be at least a year before a full hearing starts.
Ms Croft, 44, a City of London accountant, and Ms Hagan, 47, an aromatherapist, were conditionally released by a federal magistrate on Friday after they agreed to wear electronic monitoring devices. They denied charges of conspiring to murder Oregon's former US Attorney, Charles Turner.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...