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Michael Jackson civil case: Judge to decide on media coverage

April 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
As jury selection begins in Katherine Jackson's $40 billion case against entertainment giant AEG in Michael Jackson's death, a hearing was held to determine whether a camera would be allowed in court.

The trial will undoubtedly attract a ton of attention, but the question is how much media coverage the judge will allow in the courtroom.

The plaintiffs in this case - Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson's three children - want a camera in court. They argued that they want the public to see the evidence for themselves.

"All we ask is that the truth be seen by everyone once and for all," said attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson and the children.

But AEG is against a camera in court. AEG attorney Marvin Putnam said cameras in the courtroom could interfere with due process and intimidate witnesses. The defense argued that allowing print journalists was enough.

It's unclear when the judge will rule on the camera issue.

Attorneys also brought up the possibility of having a gag order for the wrongful death trial.

The case pits Katherine Jackson and the star's three children against AEG, which was promoting the concert the pop star was working on before his death in 2009.

The lawsuit seeks $40 billion in damages, claiming AEG negligently hired and supervised cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of administering the fatal dose of the anesthetic drug propofol.

AEG denies that they hired Murray and says they were not negligent.

"We know AEG is going to try to point the finger at Dr. Murray and say, 'Not our problem, we didn't cause this,'" said legal analyst Ricardo Echeverria. "But from reading the allegations, the plaintiffs have presented a case ... that AEG was pretty active, pretty hands on, and they stood to benefit to making sure Michael Jackson went to his rehearsals at all costs."

Court filings show AEG is blaming Jackson for his own poor health. The Jackson plaintiffs accuse AEG of pushing Jackson too hard in their drive for profits.

Jury selection began just after 11 a.m., with the first panel of 35 people filling out questionnaires that includes their knowledge on drug dependency. After lunch, a second panel of 35 people also filled out the questionnaire, and then they will return for questioning on April 10.

The judge estimated that the trial would take 60 to 90 days.

In the first group of 35 potential jurors to be called in, all but 10 were excused.


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