Katy Perry Convent Trial Corners Jurors on Faith

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Setting the stage for a long-awaited trial on Katy Perry’s efforts to take up residence in a former convent, attorneys grilled potential jurors Thursday about their religious leanings.

One Los Angelino found himself excused from the jury pool after confessing that he would have a bias against a person of the cloth, as he has a bias against Christianity in general.

This individual identified as a Buddhist.

Aside from questions about churchgoing and church giving, the prospective jurors were asked to disclose their feelings about Perry, a singer they might remember for having shot whipped cream from her bra or for playing an elderly stripper in various music videos.

Though her image today is a fairly secular one, Perry came to the music business as an aspiring gospel singer from a devout, evangelical family. She debuted with a Christian rock album in 2001, but it flopped.

In the upcoming trial, 33-year-old Perry and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles seek damages from local restaurateur Dana Hollister for interfering in their real estate deal.

After the archbishop struck a $14.5 million deal to sell Perry an 8-acre property in Los Feliz, Hollister entered into a separate contract with a few of the retired nuns who used to live on the grounds of Waverly Drive.

Two sisters with the Immaculate Heart of Mary order sought to intervene in the case, but Monday’s trial will kick off without them pursuant to an earlier order by Judge Stephanie Bowick.

“This case is all about recovering attorneys’ fees,” Hollister’s attorney Michael Geibelson with the firm Robins Kaplan assured the jury pool on Thursday.

Greenberg Traurig attorney Eric Rowen, who represents Perry’s company, Bird Nest, asked the jurors if they understood that attorneys’ fees do not just go to one person, but an entire law firm.

The jurors also disclosed how comfortable they would be in awarding the Catholic Church less than what it sought in damages. They spoke about their faith, their relationship with their own places of worship, and if they felt that the ethics of a person of faith were different from anyone else.

Trial is expected to last five days, coinciding with Perry’s tour dates at the Los Angeles Staples Center next week. Still the singer is reportedly not expected to attend proceedings or testify.

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