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Jackson family-AEG trial could last until summer, judge says

April 02, 2013|By Jeff Gottlieb

The lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s mother and children blaming entertainment giant AEG for the singer’s death is expected to take more than four months to try, the judge said Tuesday.

The length of the trial was the court’s first concern as jury selection began Tuesday in a downtown courtroom where Jackson’s towering legacy will be pitted against a business enterprise that has had a profound influence on the entertainment scene in Los Angeles.

Thirty-five potential jurors were brought into Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos' courtroom and given a questionnaire to fill out to see who could take that much time from their personal and work lives. A second panel of 35 was scheduled to be given the same questionnaire in the afternoon.

Groups of jurors will continue to be brought in each day until a pool of 80 to 100 people has been chosen. From that group, attorneys will selected  12 jurors and five alternates who will decide the case.

Attorneys estimate that jury selection alone could take two to three weeks.

More than 60 news organizations from countries including Japan, France Germany and Australia have asked for seats to cover the trial, according to Pat Kelly,  a court spokeswoman. There is space for roughly 10 reporters in the courtroom.

On Tuesday morning, Palazuelos heard a motion from CNN asking that the cable network be allowed to broadcast the trial live. The judge has not ruled on the motion.

The suit filed by Katherine Jackson, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II, alleges that AEG negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who -- in an attempt to help the singer sleep -- gave him a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofil.  They say that AEG pushed Jackson to prepare for a tour that he was not physically up to.

AEG says it was Jackson’s decision to hire Murray, and that the company recommended a British doctor.

Jackson died in 2009, two weeks before his "This Is It" tour was scheduled to debut in London.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

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