Affairs, strip clubs, photos of Michael Jackson’s body should be off limits, Conrad Murray's defense says
Dr. Conrad Murray's legal team asked a judge Thursday to prohibit any mention of the physician's extramarital affairs, out-of-wedlock children and fondness for strip clubs at his manslaughter trial next month in the death of Michael Jackson.
In papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the defense argued that such evidence was irrelevant to the question of Murray's guilt and would be used by prosecutors only "to inflame the passions of the jury."
"The prosecution's case involves the treatment and care of Michael Jackson provided by Dr. Murray. It is not about the existence and number of children Dr. Murray has, or about his personal sexual relationship with women," wrote defense lawyer Nareg Gourjian in the documents, which also sought to bar prosecutors from presenting evidence about lawsuits against Murray for failure to pay business debts and his home mortgage.
The defense also objected to the use of pictures of Jackson's dead body at the trial, saying the "graphic, gruesome and highly prejudicial" photos would appeal to jurors emotions and jeopardize Murray's right to a fair trial. Judge Michael Pastor has ordered a hearing on the requests for April 21.
The parties took another step toward selecting a jury Thursday with the finalization of a pool of about 170 prospective panelists. In the run-up to final jury selection May 4, prosecutors and defense attorneys will review 30-page questionnaires completed by the potential jurors.
A copy of the questionnaire was unsealed by the judge Thursday. Panelists were asked 117 questions about their background, life experience and opinions on the case and those connected to it. Among the questions:
- Have you ever considered yourself a fan of Michael Jackson or the Jackson Family?
- Did you ever watch "This Is It" (the documentary of Michael Jackson's concert tour prep)?
- Do you have any positive or negative feelings or opinions about Conrad Murray or Michael Jackson?
The questionnaire also asked if panelists had ever used a laundry list of prescription drugs, including propofol, the surgical anesthetic blamed in Jackson's death.
Murray, 57, faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
-- Harriet Ryan at Los Angeles County Superior Court