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Conrad Murray lawyers review jurors' bias

September 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With less than a week to go from opening statements in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, both sides were back in court on Wednesday to dismiss jurors who may be biased based on questionnaires.

Murray is accused of negligence in Michael Jackson's 2009 death from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives. The Houston-based cardiologist has pleaded not guilty.

Murray's defense team alleges Jackson knew his physical limits, and part of the evidence proposed is video of Jackson speaking during a news conference about his "This Is It" concert run.

Jackson said he was doing 10 concerts, but later promoters demanded 50 - a schedule that the pop star said was too much.

The defense alleges Jackson, under pressure to sleep and recuperate between demanding rehearsals, swallowed propofol when Murray was not looking.

Judge Michael Pastor says he will rule later on whether the tape can be used.

In the meantime, attorneys from both sides are reviewing hundreds of jury questionnaires, looking for signs of extreme bias.

"This case is going to be won or lost through jury selection," said lawyer Mark Geragos.

Geragos has been through the process before on multiple high-profile cases, and once defended Jackson on molestation charges.

This case, he says, is somewhat "topsy turvey." Typically, the defense wants people with less schooling, but in a case involving a doctor and tedious medical details, they want more education, Geragos said.

"You want people who are more rational. You want people who aren't going to be carried away or swept away with emotion," he said.

The challenge for prosecutors is that people who strictly support law and order often see doctors as heroes.

"Jurors are loathe, normally, to do anything in terms of convicting a doctor. That's the prosecution's big hurdle," Geragos said.

And the biggest challenge for both both sides is identifying stealth jurors - the people who seek fame by sitting on this case, and have their mind already made up.

Watch live stream coverage of the entire trial, which is set to begin Friday.

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