• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Judge refuses sequestering of jury in Jackson trial

August 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A judge on Thursday refused to order sequestration for jurors who will serve in the high profile involuntary manslaughter trial of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor told lawyers that those who serve in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray will be making tremendous sacrifices and locking them up would be cruel. It would also exceed half-a-million dollars to house them, he said.

"We can trust jurors to be good human beings, but we cannot necessarily assume they are not going to be looking at television and looking at the Internet and all the other things," said Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff.

Pastor said he was confident that jurors would follow his instructions to avoid exposure to publicity.

"There are opportunities to engage in misconduct but I have tremendous faith in the jury system and the individual promise of the jurors and I intend to hold them to it," Pastor said.

Pastor said sanctions could include jail time, fines, employment consequences and credit consequences.

Murray's attorneys had argued that sequestration was the only way to ensure a fair trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the Jackson case on Sept. 8, with opening statements slated for Sept. 27.

Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Authorities have accused him of administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of Jackson's rented mansion on June 25, 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Load Comments