July 20, 2011 / 9:48 PM / 8 years ago

Jackson doctor trial judge cool to jury sequestration

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Attorneys for Michael Jackson’s doctor on Wednesday asked a judge to consider sequestering the jury that will hear the involuntary manslaughter case against the physician.

But the judge overseeing the trial, which is expected to last about two months, said he didn’t think it would be necessary and said the Los Angeles court system would likely be unable to afford it.

The trial of Dr. Conrad Murray is scheduled to start in September, more than two years after Jackson’s death from an overdose of a powerful anesthetic used as a sleep aid.

Murray’s attorneys said that massive expected media coverage could influence the jury. Their comments followed recent extensive U.S. media commentary on the trial and acquittal in Florida of Casey Anthony on charges of killing her two year-old daughter.

Jurors are routinely instructed not to watch news coverage of any case they are hearing, but even in media-saturated Los Angeles they are rarely sequestered.

Judge Michael Pastor also said on Wednesday that he would review 12 to 16 hours of raw footage of Jackson’s final rehearsals to decide if it should be shown to jurors.

Prosecutors want the footage to be included because it shows Jackson was energetic before his death and eager to begin a planned London concert series. Some of it was used in the posthumous 2009 film “This Is It”.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. The trial is scheduled to begin on September 8.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant

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