Lawyers for Jackson doc try to limit testimony
LOS ANGELES -- Jurors in the involuntary manslaughter case against Michael Jackson's doctor should not be told about the physician's messy personal life, including his unpaid debts and extramarital affairs, attorneys argued in court filings obtained Thursday.
The details are unnecessary and would unfairly prejudice a jury against Dr. Conrad Murray, the documents state.
"The prosecution's case involves the treatment and care of Michael Jackson provided by Dr. Murray," defense attorney Nareg Gourjian wrote. "It is not about the existence and the number of children Dr. Murray has, or about his personal sexual relationship with women. "
During a preliminary hearing earlier this year, prosecutors called three of Murray's mistresses as witnesses..
Murray, a Houston-based cardiologist, has pleaded not guilty.
His attorneys are also asking a judge to keep prosecutors from showing autopsy photos of Jackson during trial, claiming they would "inflame the passions of the jury."
It was unclear whether prosecutors intended to show the photos during the upcoming trial. No autopsy images were shown during the preliminary hearing, and the images have remained closely guarded since Jackson's death in June 2009.
Meanwhile, another batch of jurors went through an initial screening to determine their availability for Murray's trial, which is expected to last as long as two months.
Potential jurors were asked to disclose in writing their views about prescription drugs, doctors, celebrities in court and the life and death of Jackson.
The 29-page jury questionnaire released Thursday explores whether prospective jurors were fans of the pop singer, attended his concerts or memorial service, bought his records and saw his posthumous concert film, "This is It."
The prospects were asked to disclose their positive or negative feelings about Jackson and Murray. They were also asked about their knowledge of drugs allegedly taken by Jackson.
A total of 170 people who said they can serve on the lengthy trial filled out the questionnaires and will return May 4 for in-person quizzing.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor already has screened 340 prospects and cleared 147 of those for availability. He summoned the third panel of potential jurors to make sure there will be enough people to choose from when in-depth questioning begins next month. Ultimately, 12 jurors and six alternates will be chosen.
Pastor has set opening statements for May 9.
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