LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge presiding over the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor said Friday he expects to have enough prospective jurors to form a complete pool by the end of the day, meaning lawyers could prepare to begin the screening process to select a final panel.
Around 140 people reported for jury duty Friday, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said. There was some tittering when the judge asked whether anyone was unaware of the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, but no one raised a hand to indicate unfamiliarity with the proceedings.
Murray faces an involuntary manslaughter charge to which he has pleaded not guilty. Murray faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted in the case, which will focus on the Houston-based cardiologist’s actions in the final hours of Jackson’s life.
The session Friday was similar on one held a day earlier, after which 72 people were given a detailed questionnaire probing their knowledge and opinions of the case.
By late Friday afternoon, court officials will know whether they have enough prospective jurors to begin the next stage of the screening process. In-person questioning of jurors based on their written responses will begin on Sept. 23.
The judge is hoping to have 100 prospective jurors who have enough time to devote to the roughly five-week trial and don’t have strong views on the case. That group will be whittled down to a jury of 12, with several alternates.
More than half of the 187 people who reported Thursday were dismissed because they could not devote the amount of time needed to hear the case, and all indicated they had some knowledge of the trial.
Pastor had reserved Monday to continue jury selection if a sizeable pool could not be found.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at https://twitter.com/celebritydocket
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