LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Defense attorneys have asked a judge to sequester the jury in the upcoming trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the singer’s death in 2009.
“There is reasonable expectation that Dr. (Conrad) Murray’s trial will be the most publicized in history,” defense attorneys Edward Chernoff and Nareg Gourjian wrote in a motion filed Thursday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor is expected to consider the motion at a hearing next Thursday.
At a July 20 hearing, the judge said that he did not think sequestration was necessary and that the court did not have the funds to sequester a jury.
But he told Murray’s attorneys they were free to file a formal motion making such a request.
In their filing, Murray’s lawyers asked for the panel to be sequestered during the entire trial, including jury deliberations.
The defense contends that “it is necessary to sequester the jury in order to ensure that it is free from outside influences and guarantee the defendant a fair trial by an impartial jury,” citing the recent swarm of publicity involving the Casey Anthony case in Florida in which jurors were sequestered.
“… It is Pollyanna to expect the jury members to go home each workday and weekend for six weeks and entirely avoid the mass of exposure this trial will engender,” the attorneys wrote. “In today’s world, and for this case, sequestration is the only way to insulate the decision-making process of the jury. Although there is a cost with ordering sequestration, it is comparatively minimal compared to the costs that would be incurred by a retrial or new trial that would be required as a result of contamination.”
The jury selection process is set to begin next month, when prospective jurors are expected to be asked to fill out questionnaires detailing what they already know about the case.
Jackson died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009, of propofol intoxication.
Murray, 58, is accused of administering the powerful anesthetic to the singer to help him fall asleep, then failing to properly monitor him. But the defense has suggested that Jackson could have given himself a larger dose of propofol while the doctor was out of the singer’s bedroom in a rented Holmby Hills home.