A scene from Michael Jackson's "This Is It." (Kevin Mazur )
A Superior Court judge is poised to decide whether some records of Michael Jackson’s finances and medical history should be kept out of public view during a trial over the singer’s 2009 death.
Jury selection in the wrongful death case began April 2 and is likely to last at least another week, according to attorneys. But the fate of the confidential documents is expected to surface early next week.
The wrongful death suit, filed by Jackson’s mother and three children, accused entertainment powerhouse Anschutz Entertainment Group of hiring and controlling the Las Vegas physician who gave Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the days before he was set to begin a series of comeback shows in London.
AEG contends that it was Jackson who brought Dr. Conrad Murray aboard, while the firm had planned to retain an English doctor.
Jackson’s estate, which is not a party to the wrongful death suit, is requesting that certain portions of the confidential records be shown only to the judge, witnesses, attorneys and the jury. If granted, the motion would keep some of the documents from being made public.
Attorneys for the estate also intend to look at the witness lists and depositions from experts to try to show which materials it wants to remain closely held.
Meanwhile, jury selection continued Friday and Kevin Boyle, one of the Jacksons’ attorneys, estimated that opening arguments would begin about April 29. The trial is expected to last four months.
Attorneys can remove as many potential jurors as they want if they can convince the judge they are biased. In addition, each side is allowed eight peremptory challenges, meaning they can remove a juror for almost any reason. Each side is allowed another five peremptory challenges for alternates. Twelve jurors and five alternates will be selected.
Another hearing next week will be held on AEG’s challenge to some of the Jacksons' expert witnesses, Boyle said.
Jackson died in 2009, two weeks before his "This Is It" series of concerts was scheduled to start.
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