Jurors in the manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor, will not be allowed to watch video of the king of pop announcing his comeback tour three months before he died, a judge ruled today.
Opening statements in the case will begin Tuesday. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense met today with Superior Court Judge Judge Michael Pastor to discuss pending motions before the trial gets underway.
Murray's lawyers unsuccessfully lobbied to use video of a news conference given by Jackson in March 2009 to announce his "This Is It" comeback tour as evidence in the case. Attorney Nareg Gourjian argued that the video showed Jackson under a lot of pressure and hung over. The defense claimed that the news conference had to be delayed by 90 minutes because Jackson could not pull himself off a couch.
The defense had hoped to use the video to argue that Jackson wasn't physically fit and that he'd agreed to 10 shows, not 50. Judge Pastor said the tape wasn't relevant to Jackson's death. Jackson was found in cardiac arrest June 25, 2009, after overdosing on the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Pastor also denied a motion by the prosecution to enter evidence that law enforcement tried four times to set up a follow-up interview with Murray. The prosecution will likely argue that Murray was uncooperative with investigators.
More than two years after Jackson died, Murray's trial will give jurors and legions of Jackson fans the first chance to hear Murray's account of how the king of pop died at 50.
Legal experts believe the trial will hinge on testimony about the potent drug, propofol. Jackson, an insomniac who desperately wanted to sleep as he prepared for a grueling 50-night comeback tour, used the powerful drug to get some rest, according to the Associated Press. He called it his "milk." Murray administered the drug.
The drug is typically administered intravenously in a hospital setting during surgery.
"The defense is going to say there were a lot of doctors that were giving him propofol. This is a doctor who was helping him wean off [the drug]," said Dan Abrams, ABC News' legal analyst.
Defense lawyers are also expected to argue that Jackson gave himself an extra dose of the drug when Murray left the room after administering a dose on the day he died. A trace amount of propofol, 0.13 milligrams, was found in Jackson's stomach. Jackson was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, but was declared dead.
"The prosecution is basically going to say that this was entirely reckless conduct, that he should never have been giving Michael Jackson propofol, never should have walked out of the room for as long as he did," Abrams said.
Legal experts also think that prosecutors will attack Murray for having waited to report to police about Jackson's use of propofol.
The jury that will hear the case is a diverse group of seven men and five women. The eldest juror is a 57-year-old Hispanic woman who has never bought a Michael Jackson CD. The jurors also include a mailman, a television director and a British-born marketing executive.
Potential jurors were quizzed on how many of them followed high-profile cases such as that of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony. They were also asked if they were Jackson fans. Half of the chosen jurors consider themselves fans of the king of pop.
Veteran defense attorney and former legal counsel to Jackson himself, Mark Geragos, said that having Jackson fans as jurors could be an advantage to the defense.
"If the defense of this case is that he was trying to wean Michael Jackson off of these drugs, if that's the road they're going down, then they may want Michael Jackson fans," Geragos said.
Five of the jurors said they believed that celebrities get special treatment by the judicial system, which could play in the prosecution's favor, legal analyst Abrams said.
"I'd be very worried about that because those are the types of jurors ... that tend to say the system doesn't work. ? That's a lot of people who are going to know how the legal system works and already have a firm opinion about it," Abrams said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.