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Michael Jackson civil case: Attorneys seek six alternate jurors

April 23, 2013|By Corina Knoll

A day after a jury of six men and six women was impaneled in the Michael Jackson civil case, attorneys were scheduled Tuesday to continue questioning potential jurors to find six alternates.

Jury selection began three weeks ago with potential jurors first brought to the downtown Los Angeles courtroom to determine whether they were even able to commit to a trial projected to last four months.

The civil suit, filed by Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and the singer’s three children, accuses entertainment company AEG of negligently hiring and supervising Dr. Conrad Murray.

FULL COVERAGE: AEG wrongful death trial

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to Michael Jackson, who died in 2009 shortly before he was to perform in a series of concerts promoted by AEG.

Last week, voir dire began with a pool of about 100 would-be jurors who had indicated it would present no hardship to serve on a months-long trial. The group was asked to review the extensive list of witnesses who might be called to testify and let the court know if they recognized any of the names.

That pool has now been whittled down to about 50 after some potential jurors were tossed and 12 were impaneled.

In addition to personal questions about their background, jurors were asked about their ability to be fair and impartial and their feelings on wrongful-death lawsuits.

The lawsuit contends that AEG pushed Jackson at a time when the music legend was in poor physical condition, putting “its desire for massive profits from the tour over the health and safety of Michael Jackson.”

“Three loving children lost their father, a loving mother and father lost their son, the Jackson siblings lost their brother and the world lost its most celebrated entertainer,” the complaint in the case said.

Brian Panish, attorney for the Jackson family, said he had faith in the 12 chosen jurors and said it was “a good, diverse jury.”

He estimated that after alternates are selected and hearings are held on outstanding motions, the trial could begin Monday.

The trial is expected to delve into the sensational -- the singer’s eccentric lifestyle, his purported drug use, his enormous debt and his allegedly erratic behavior in the days leading up to his death.

Witnesses in the trial could include celebrities such as Prince, Diana Ross and Quincy Jones, as well as Jackson's ex-wives Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe.

Director Spike Lee and actor Lou Ferrigno are also among the listed possible witnesses, as are AEG founder Philip Anschutz and his former chief executive, Tim Leiweke.

Attorneys may add or withdraw names from their initial lists, and some witnesses are expected to testify via deposition.

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