Witnesses at the upcoming trial of Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray will not be allowed to testify about the King of Pop's child molestation case, a judge has ruled.
Autopsy results have shown that Jackson died from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives. Murray was at the singer's side when he died at his Los Angeles on June 25, 2009 and pleaded not guilty in January to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
A Los Angeles judge said on Monday, August 29, that witnesses cannot testify about Jackson's 2005 child molestation trial, during which the singer was found not guilty, because it is irrelevant to Murray's case and would be distracting and misleading for the jury. They also cannot discuss objects or substances that may have been confiscated from his Neverland Ranch.
"I'm afraid we are not going to be able to put on any evidence in this trial," Murray's attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, said as he headed out of the courtroom.
Jackson was known for his friendships with child and teenage celebrities, such as Macaulay Culkin. "Punky Brewster" actress Soleil Moon Frye recently detailed her own childhood encounters with Jackson in her new book.
The judge also posed more hurdles for Murray's attorneys. He said that Arnold Klein, Jackson's dermatologist, is not allowed to testify at the involuntary manslaughter trial.
Murray's attorneys had said that Klein had prescribed the painkiller Demerol to Jackson and that the singer was withdrawing from it at the time of his death. Prosecutors said the defense was trying to divert attention from Murray and pin the blame on Klein.
Others barred from testifying - a police detective who searched Jackson's Neverland Ranch while he was being investigated for child molestation, Grace Rwaramba, former nanny of the singer's children and Chris Carter, a former bodyguard.
Among those who will be allowed to testify at Murray's trial - Karen Faye, Jackson's makeup artist and hair stylist, who has said she became worried about the singer's health prior to his death, physicians David Adams and Allen Metzger, who have treated the him, and the King of Pop's nurse, Cherylin Lee.
Jury selection for Murray's trial is set to begin on September 8. The prosecution has prepared about 30 pages worth of questions for prospective jurors to answer. Murray was ordered to attend a hearing two days earlier.