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February 06, 2005

Illness holds up Jackson's trial

Jury selection in the Michael Jackson child abuse trial has been halted after a member of the star's legal team was hit by family illness.

February 6, 2005 [BBC News}

Selection will be postponed until at least Thursday due to the grave illness of his lead lawyer's sister.

The case had been due to resume on Monday, with detailed questioning of 250 would-be jurors.

Mr Jackson denies plying a boy with alcohol and molesting him. The trial could last up to six months.

Legal motions

A spokesman for the Santa Maria courthouse said the serious nature of Thomas Mesereau's sister's illness has delayed the jury selection process until at least Thursday.

He did not rule out the possibility that the process of selecting the final 12 jurors and eight stand-by jurors could be postponed into next week.

Though Mr Mesereau and Mr Jackson, 46, will be absent from court on Monday, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville is expected to briefly take the bench to consider legal motions by several news organisations.

Prospective jurors were also ordered to report to the courthouse for processing, but will then go home until Thursday morning at the earliest.

Last week Judge Melville cut short the first phase of jury selection after quickly finding 250 people who said they were willing and able to sit on a long jury trial.

Mr Jackson is facing four charges of lewd acts involving a minor, one count involving an attempted lewd act upon a child and four counts of administering alcohol.

Posted by Nancy at February 6, 2005 05:07 PM