The judge in Michael Jackson's child-molestation case ruled Friday that his courtroom will be open to the public when the singer's accuser testifies.
Prosecutors had requested that the courtroom be closed to both the media and the public when the boy, now 15, and his 14-year-old brother give their testimonies, and that reporters would be allowed to hear their voices through an audio feed (see "Lawyers In Jackson Case Spar Over Keeping Hearings Open To The Public"). While the judge ruled that the courtroom would be open, he also noted that he would consider reversing the decision if there were any significant disruptions, according to CNN.
In the pretrial hearing, which took place just three days before jury selection is set to begin, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville also ruled that sexually explicit material seized from the bedroom suite at Jackson's Neverland ranch in November 2003 could be admitted as evidence during the trial.
The prosecution had claimed that the materials — including dozens of books, magazines, DVDs and photographs — could show that the singer had prior intent to commit the alleged crimes (see "Prosecutors In Michael Jackson Case Seek To Use 'Erotic Materials' As Evidence").
While Melville said the sexually explicit items could be entered as evidence, he also reportedly specified that they could not be referred to as "pornographic," "obscene" or "erotic."
Melville also declared that British journalist Martin Bashir's documentary "Living With Michael Jackson," which aired on ABC in 2003, could be admitted as evidence. In the documentary, Jackson is seen holding hands with his accuser and defending his choice to share his bed with children.
The judge stipulated that the jury would only be allowed to see the documentary as it ran in Europe, and not the version that aired on ABC, which the defense deemed "heavily edited in the most sensational fashion possible," according to FOX News.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."