Eleven angry men... and the queen of chat shows

As the queen of confessional daytime television, she should be perfectly equipped to observe domestic dramas unfolding in a courtroom.

As the queen of confessional daytime television, she should be perfectly equipped to observe domestic dramas unfolding in a courtroom.

But when Oprah Winfrey said she was concerned that she might be a little too "outspoken" for jury service, her words apparently fell on deaf ears.

Winfrey swapped her multimillion-pound chat show lifestyle yesterday for a sobering $17.20 (£9.40) day job after she was selected to sit on the jury at Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago. The 50-year-old was picked from 300 potential jurors to determine the outcome of a three-day murder trial.

While officials insisted that she would not receive any special treatment, it was clear from the start that she was no ordinary juror. Fellow jurors took the front entrance of the courthouse, while Winfrey slipped in a side entrance in a failed bit to avoid the waiting posse of reporters.

Clutching a copy of the novel Anna Karenina , she told them: "I'm just hoping it doesn't take longer than a week because I've got shows to do." She then took her place alongside an assorted selection of society, ranging from a man who works for a pest-control agency to a woman who did not complete her high school education.

Details of the murder case would not sound out of place in her television chat show. Dion Coleman, 27, stands charged with murder after Walter Holley was allegedly shot to death in February 2002 during a row over a fake $50 note.

When asked on what basis Winfrey was picked, Judge James B. Linn said: "This was a straight-up jury selection."

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