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30-minute defence in Hudson trial


William Balfour denies three counts of first-degree murder (AP/M Spencer Green)

William Balfour denies three counts of first-degree murder (AP/M Spencer Green)

William Balfour denies three counts of first-degree murder (AP/M Spencer Green)

The man accused of killing three of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson's relatives did not give evidence and his lawyers put on a mere 30-minute defence, calling two detectives in a bid to suggest they botched the 2008 investigation.

The brief defence followed a two-week presentation by prosecutors, who called more than 80 witnesses at the Chicago trial, including Hudson herself, as they sought to prove William Balfour shot the star's mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew in a fit of jealous rage. Balfour, 30, is Hudson's former brother-in-law.

The actress and singer was in court on Tuesday as she has been every day since evidence began last month. Wearing a beige blouse, trousers and high heels, she looked more relaxed than usual - even smiling once as a prosecutor cross-examined one witness.

Hudson was the first witness called in the trial, telling of the last time she saw her family and her dislike of Balfour.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case earlier on Tuesday after showing pictures of Hudson's nephew, Julian King, who was found in an SUV, shot in the head. Police found his body covered by a shower curtain and surrounded by shell casings, officers said.

Both detectives called by the defence gave evidence earlier for the prosecution. Defence lawyer Cynthia Brown pressed one about a 2008 report in which he wrote that a witness saw the SUV in which Julian's body was found at about 6pm on the day after the murders. The detective had said the witness saw the vehicle at about 6am. The officer said he made a mistake in the original report.

The defence may use that admission, and other alleged errors, to bolster its claim that police rushed to pin the murders on Balfour because of intense media coverage spurred by Hudson's stardom.

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Judge Charles Burns said closing arguments would are due to begin, after which jurors will begin deliberating.

Balfour denies three counts of first-degree murder. If convicted on all counts, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Judges typically instruct juries not to hold it against defendants if they choose not to give evidence and Judge Burns will probably do that before jurors start their deliberations.

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