LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Potential jurors in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor were given a 31-page questionnaire covering topics ranging from their knowledge of prescription drugs to their familiarity with the late King of Pop’s life.
Jury selection began on Thursday and by Friday some 370 people had been considered for the panel. Many answered a questionnaire that will help attorneys narrow the pool to some 145 people.
That smaller group will return to court on September 23 when a new phase of jury selection will begin to choose 12 people who will decide the guilt or innocence of Dr. Conrad Murray.
Pop star Jackson, whose “Thriller” remains the best-selling album of all time, died on June 25, 2009, age 50, in Los Angeles from what authorities have said was an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and prescription sedatives.
Murray is accused of responsibility for Jackson’s death by administering propofol as a sleep aid and failing to monitor the singer properly. He has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and defense attorneys are expected to argue Jackson may have administered the lethal dose of propofol himself.
If convicted, Murray faces a maximum four-year prison sentence.
The jury document, containing 113 questions, asked potential jurors whether they were familiar with a number of painkillers and other medications, such as propofol, Valium, Vicodin, Xanax and Zoloft.
It also asked how much they rely on their doctor’s advice and if they know anyone with drug or alcohol addictions.
Members of the pool were asked if they ever attended any concerts by Jackson, watched his DVDs or had Jackson memorabilia.
Opening arguments in the trial are expected to begin on September 27.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Cynthia Johnston