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MySpace trial starts in Los Angeles

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Jury selection starts Tuesday in the federal trial of a St. Charles County woman accused of using a social networking Web site to bully a teenaged neighbor.

49-year-old Lori Drew has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing computers without authorization. Prosecutors generally use that statute to go after hackers. Drew is accused of creating a fake identity on the MySpace site, then sending harrasing messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier. Meier allegedly committed suicide after one message from Drew told the teenager the world would be a better place without her.

Federal judge George Wu says he considered not allowing prosecutors to present that evidence at the trial, but concluded that most prospective jurors know that detail of the case. Wu will tell jurors that the case is not about Meier's suicide, but whether Drew violated the terms of the social networking site MySpace.

Defense attorneys are likely to argue that Meier was already emotionally troubled and Drew's messages played little role in her death.

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