Dr. Conrad Murray, singer Michael Jackson's personal physician, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court where Murray pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's 2009 death. Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray have asked the judge overseeing his involuntary manslaughter case to sequester the jury, citing coverage of Casey Anthony and plans to allow online online broadcasts of the Jackson case.
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LOS ANGELES — The doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death has asked a judge to sequester jurors in the physician's upcoming involuntary manslaughter trial, citing coverage of the Casey Anthony case and the threat of information leaks posed by Twitter and Facebook use.
Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, in a motion filed Thursday, cited widespread media coverage of the Anthony case, which ended with a Florida jury that was sequestered acquitting the mother of killing her daughter. The motion cites comments by CNN Headline News commentator Nancy Grace, who featured the case on her show on a nightly basis and believed Anthony was guilty.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor has said he is reluctant to sequester the jury in Murray's case, saying it is an extreme measure last used in Los Angeles during O.J. Simpson's murder trial.
District Attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined comment, saying prosecutors would only respond to the motion in court. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Thursday.
The filing also cites the danger of jurors learning about the case through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Both sides are blocked by the court's public wireless network inside the criminal courthouse, but the motion notes that jurors could access the sites on their phones or when they're outside court.
"There is great danger that Dr. Murray will not be able to rely on a fair trial, if the jury is allowed access to this prejudicial coverage," the motion states.
Murray faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Anthony could have received the death penalty had she been convicted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Murray, a Houston-based cardiologist, is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of his rented mansion in June 2009.
Jury selection in Murray's case is scheduled to begin on Sept. 8, with opening statements slated to begin later in the month.