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Murray defence want postponement pending sequestering appeal

By | Published on Tuesday 6 September 2011

Conrad Murray

There could be yet another delay to the start of Conrad Murray’s manslaughter trial over the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, as the doc’s lawyers call for jury selection to be postponed until an appeal over whether or not jurors should be sequestered is heard.

As much previously reported, Murray is the medic accused of causing Jackson’s death by negligently administering the drug propofol to the singer. His trial, already postponed from earlier this year, is due to get going this week, with a new round of jury selection due to begin on Thursday. But Murray’s legal reps want jury selection to be put on hold until the issue of whether or not jurors should be sequestered is resolved.

Team Murray originally requested that jurors to be sequestered, so kept away from the public between hearings, back in July. Noting the strain sequestering would put on jurors, not to mention the costs of housing jurors in hotels throughout the case, Judge Michael Pastor declined the request, saying he was confident members of a jury would be able to ignore the news coverage and public comment likely to surround this trial without the authorities physically keeping such content away from them.

But Murray’s people say they still fear that if jurors are exposed to media coverage of the case their opinions may be skewed. According to the Associated Press, in a petition filed to the Californian appeals court just before America’s Labor Day Weekend, the doctor’s lawyers noted that “news organisations have planned sets overlooking the courthouse as if they were preparing for the Rose Bowl [and there] is sincere danger that a well-meaning juror will be more impressed with an ‘expert’ on television than one presented by the parties at trial”.

The defence now want Pastor to delay the start of Murray’s trial until appeal judges have had chance to rule on their request re sequestering.