Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Michael Jackson’s Doctor

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 5:36 pm (UTC-5)
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Jury selection has begun in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, who is accused of causing the famous pop star's death in June 2009.

Some 160 potential jurors gathered in Los Angeles Thursday to answer questions about how much they have heard about the case and whether they are eligible to serve. When Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked if anyone had not heard of the accusations against Dr. Conrad Murray, not a single person raised his or her hand.

The judge said he had expected as much, saying he did not think the jurors had been “living under a rock.”

The judge warned the jurors not to publish any information about the case on social media websites or blogs and that they would be barred from seeking pay for any information related to the trial — for instance, by signing a book contract — until 90 days after it ends.

Hundreds of people will be considered in the next two weeks, and that group will be narrowed down to 100 people willing and qualified to serve as jurors for the trial. UItimately, just 12 people will decide the verdict.

Prosecutors say Murray “unlawfully and without malice” killed Jackson, by failing to use proper caution in administering the powerful anesthetic propofol to help the entertainer sleep. Propofol is supposed to be administered by an anesthesia professional, and only under hospital conditions.

The defense is expected to argue Jackson, who was known as the King of Pop, took the fatal dose of the drug himself, when Murray was out of the room.

The doctor has pleaded not guilty.

Opening arguments are expected to begin later this month.