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Jackson molest case barred from doctor’s trial
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The judge in the upcoming trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor ruled Monday that the defense cannot call any witnesses to testify about the child molestation investigation that led to the pop star’s trial and acquittal in 2005.
Prosecutor David Walgren argued that lawyers for Dr. Conrad Murray were seeking to engage in character assassination of the victim in the involuntary manslaughter case.
The hearing took place on what would have been Jackson’s 53rd birthday.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor barred a half-dozen witnesses related to the molestation case, including the police detective who headed searches of Jackson’s Neverland home in Santa Barbara County in 2003. The judge said such testimony would be distracting and misleading for the jury in Murray’s trial and is irrelevant.
Jackson was acquitted of all charges in a high-profile trial in Santa Maria in 2005.
The judge said he was barring any mention of the molestation case because, “It proves nothing regarding the year 2009,” when Jackson died.
Chernoff repeated a previously stated defense position that the pop star was addicted to that drug and was withdrawing from it when he died of an overdose of propofol and other medications in June 2009.
The judge effectively blocked the Demerol defense when he also excluded the testimony of Dr. Arnold Klein, a dermatologist blamed by the defense for giving Jackson Demerol. Pastor said written reports on Klein’s statements could be used but neither the doctor nor his assistant will testify.
“The calling of Dr. Klein does raise the issue of third party culpability,” the judge said, noting jurors would become distracted by that issue.
Opening statements in the trial of Murray are scheduled to begin on Sept. 27. Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, could face up to four years in prison if convicted.
Authorities allege he gave Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of his rented mansion on June 25, 2009.
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