Michael Jackson's doctor wants jury sequestered, from Nancy Grace
A lawyer for Michael Jackson’s personal physician said Wednesday that in light of the uproar surrounding the verdict in the recent Casey Anthony case, jurors in the doctor's upcoming manslaughter trial should be sequestered round-the-clock, or at least “during the hours Nancy Grace is on TV.”
The attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray told a judge he was concerned that biased commentary of the televised proceedings, set to begin Sept. 8, would affect the panel’s ability to render a fair verdict in the Jackson's death.
“I just think there is an overwhelming likelihood of contamination of the court’s control of evidence,” J. Michael Flanagan told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor.
The judge said the defense was free to file a formal motion for sequestration, but that he did not feel it was necessary and that in any case, the financially strapped court system could not afford it.
Pastor, who said the O.J. Simpson case was the last time a county judge had sequestered a jury, said he would order jurors be kept away from the general public inside the courthouse but believed it “unhealthy” for panelists to be isolated for the entire trial, which is expected to last six weeks.
Murray is accused of causing the pop icon’s 2009 death from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol. His defense contends Jackson gave himself a fatal overdose when the doctor was out of the room.
In another development, Pastor said he would travel to Sony Pictures studios in Culver City to evaluate more than a dozen hours of footage of Jackson’s final rehearsals.
The prosecution had identified 12 hours of outtakes from the documentary “This Is It” as relevant evidence. The defense claims only four hours should be shown to jurors.
-- Harriet Ryan
Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court. Credit: Los Angeles Times