Michael Jackson Manslaughter Trial Begins Jury Selection
Jury selection began in the case against Michael Jackson‘s former physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. In total over 300 jurors are expected to be screened, as proceedings began Thursday (March 24) and will wrap up Friday (March 25).
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor will ask potential jurors several questions, including if participating in the 45-day trial will be financially feasible. After the screening process, jurors will then return to the courthouse in early May, to fill out a 27-page questionnaire, the terms of which have been kept confidential.
During Thursday’s proceedings Judge Pastor expressed his disdain towards the large media spotlight that has been placed on the trail, citing media website TMZ as one of the main factors in spilling otherwise confidential and sometimes inaccurate information.
The judge warned that extreme interest in the case may hinder the opportunity for Murray to receive a fair trial. According to ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV, when Judge Pastor asked who had no knowledge of the case, only two of 159 potential jurors raised their hands.
Murray, who was Jackson’s live-in personal physician, reportedly injected the pop icon with the anesthesia Propofal to treat his insomnia. The 50-year-old went into cardiac arrest in his Hollywood mansion on June 25, 2009, and was rushed to nearby UCLA Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
A coroner’s report confirmed his death as a result of “acute Propofal poisoning.” Despite mounting evidence against him, Murray maintains his innocence, and is said to argue that Jackson injected himself with the lethal amount of the drug the night before his death.
If convicted Murray faces up to four years in prison. Opening statements for the trial are set to begin May 9.