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Lawyer Skips Contempt Hearing In Jackson Case

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(credit: Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)

(credit: Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)

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textalerts180 Lawyer Skips Contempt Hearing In Jackson Case

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A hearing for a lawyer who defended Dr. Conrad Murray in the death of Michael Jackson was postponed Tuesday when the attorney failed to show up.

The judge wanted to talk to Matt Alford about an interview he gave during the involuntary manslaughter trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor said he would order — but hold — a body attachment for Alford, whose secretary left a message for the court that he was in trial in Houston.

Alford is now due in court Nov. 29 — the same day Murray is set to be sentenced for his Nov. 7 conviction for involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death from propofol intoxication.

Alford, a partner in lead defense attorney Edward Chernoff’s law firm, had been ordered Sept. 30 to return to court for further proceedings Tuesday after Alford spoke about the case with Ann Curry of NBC’s “Today” show during the trial.

During the interview, Alford criticized testimony by one of Jackson’s security guards, Alberto Alvarez, and said “his story has continued to evolve over time.”

Following the interview, the judge issued a strong warning to attorneys and told them that they and their support staffs were not permitted to comment on any aspects of the case.

One of the defense’s key witnesses, Dr. Paul White, is due back before the judge Wednesday for a possible contempt hearing.

White initially got in trouble with the judge Oct. 21 for comments he made to a reporter about his longtime colleague, Dr. Steven Shafer, who was on the stand at the time. He also acknowledged to the judge that he made a comment to Deputy District Attorney David Walgren.

The judge chastised the defense’s propofol expert 10 days later for making comments that were linked to his own conversations with Murray, which were not in evidence, and then again for telling jurors that he would like to explain something to them but that he couldn’t.

The judge said he was prepared to fine White $1,000, but would give him an opportunity to address the issue at the hearing Tuesday.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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