Jury selection continues in Stein trial, videotaped confession admission likely to be addressed

By C. J. Hughes | January 14, 2010 04:45PM

Jury selection continued today in the case of Natavia Lowery, the former personal assistant to broker Linda Stein, who is charged with killing the broker-to-the-stars in October 2007.

In Manhattan’s State Supreme Court, 70 potential jurors filed into a courtroom on the 13th floor where Justice Richard Carruthers explained how Stein, who was a top producer for Prudential Douglas Elliman, was “known in the real estate and entertainment world in New York.” Stein, who worked in Elliman’s 980 Madison Avenue office, counted Sting, Madonna and Billy Joel among her clients.

As on Tuesday, which was the most recent day of the trial — Wednesday was off — jurors today were then led behind closed doors today to fill out a basic questionnaire and asked if they were available for a two-month trial.

Also likely to be argued today by attorneys for Lowery, 28, who is clad in a gray top and pants in the courtroom, is whether jurors should be allowed to watch a videotaped confession from Lowery, given to police, or merely read its transcript, as defense attorneys prefer.

Tomorrow, jury selection continues with voir dire — a process whereby jurors are asked specific questions about their interests and background in open court — expected to occur in the afternoon.

When opening arguments commence next Tuesday, defense attorneys are expected to argue that the confession was forced. But Thomas Giovanni, one of Lowery’s lawyers, had no comment to The Real Deal prior to the hearing.

Separately, Giovanni also did not respond to a question about what kind of liquid his client had thrown in the face of a Rikers Island security guard Jan. 2, which resulted in her confinement in a special section in the jail where her time outside her cell is drastically limited.

The district attorney’s office had no comment.

During the trial, prosecutors, meanwhile, are expected to argue that Lowery frequently stole money from her employers, including Stein, according to what was suggested in court on Tuesday. An argument, possibly over money, prompted Lowery to bludgeon her with a yoga stick, the suspect reportedly told police in the confession.

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