LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of Doctor Conrad Murray, the physician accused of killing Michael Jackson in 2009.
Murray’s defense attorneys are preparing their case after it was announced that the jury will not be sequestered during the anticipated four-six-week trial. They are worried media coverage could leak into the jury pool and are asking for the trial to be put on hold.
Behind closed doors, 182 jurors began an initial screening Thursday morning as small group of fans gathered outside. Jurors filled out a 30-page questionnaire to determine their knowledge of the case.
“He asked them if anyone did not know about this case, and there was not a single hand was raised in the room,” said Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press.
Open arguments are scheduled for Sept. 27. The trial is expected to end around Oct. 28.
“Michael Jackson is dead. He can’t defend himself. His friends and supporters–we need to behave to show
our support for Michael and his family’s fight for justice,” said community activist Najee Ali.
Of the 182 jurors, 110 were dismissed. Jury selection is expected to last another three days, after which a pool of 100 will be brought back for questioning.
The 72 potential jurors selected Thursday were advised by Judge Pastor to avoid media coverage of the trial.
Murray’s lawyers are unhappy they will not be able to call witnesses to testify about Jackson’s past alleged use of Propofol, the powerful anesthetic linked to his death. A judge ruled that such testimony is not relevant in the case.
“What they’re trying to get is evidence of the same type of desires and behaviors and requests or demands by Michael Jackson in the years leading up to his death,” says CBS2 legal analyst Steve Meister. “I personally think that’s relevant evidence.”
Attorney’s for Murray, 58, allege Jackson administered the deadly dose of Propofol himself.