Will a Juror Be Dismissed From the Jackson Trial?

ByABC News via GMA logo
May 5, 2005, 6:55 AM

May 5, 2005 — -- Serious questions about one of the jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial could lead to the juror's removal from the panel, ABC News has learned exclusively.

ABC News has learned that a key witness, who testified that Jackson molested him when he was a child, and a live-in sister of Juror No. 11 work together in the same small auto parts store in Santa Maria, Calif., just blocks from the courthouse where "The King of Pop" is being tried. Sources told ABC News that the court does not know about this and it is being revealed for the first time this morning. This revelation could lead to the removal of Juror No. 11, a 20-year-old Hispanic male cashier.

"The fix would be to simply excuse the juror and substitute one of the alternates," said Robert Ray, a former independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation.

This potential development comes as prosecutors rested their case Wednesday against Jackson, who is on trial for allegedly molesting a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at his Neverland Ranch and appeared with him in the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

Jurors are instructed that everything they use to decide a case should be based on the testimony they hear in court. With Juror No. 11's sister apparently working side by side with a key witness, there is at least the opportunity for outside information to reach the juror.

"It does raise the question about whether under those circumstances, both sides can get a fair trial, and particularly important for Michael Jackson," Ray said.