Jackson Doctor Case Tests Jury Selection in The Age of Twitter


The marathon search for a jury in the trial of Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor, is testing whether it’s possible to find unbiased jurors in the age of Twitter, blogs, and celebrity-news websites, reports USA Today. 29-page juror questionnaires are to be turned over to the defense and prosecution this week. Jackson died at age 50 in 2009 from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol mixed with sedatives, a coroner’s report said.

Murray, 58, a cardiologist, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was treating Jackson for insomnia as the entertainer rehearsed for his “This is It” comeback concerts in London. “Everybody’s heard of the case,” prosecution spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons says. Weeding out potential jurors with unchangeable views on guilt or innocence has taken on the elaborateness of celebrity trials like that of O. J. Simpson, who was acquitted at the same courthouse in 1995. Coverage by mainstream news outlets isn’t the main problem, says Ed Chernoff, Murray’s chief defense lawyer: “Blogs and other stuff that comes out, they’re not objective.”

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