The 12 individuals who will decide Michael Jackson's fate have been chosen. They are four men and eight women, including one individual who is very fond of "The Simpsons," and another who thinks self-help expert Deepak Chopra is a rapper.
"We have a jury," Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville announced Wednesday (February 23) as the jury selection was completed well ahead of schedule, according to The Associated Press. The selection process, which began January 31 with 750 potential jurors and was delayed two weeks, was expected to last about a month.
Sitting in judgment of the singer will be individuals ranging in age from 20 to 79 — seven white, four Hispanic, one Asian. One woman reportedly said her grandson was required to register as a sexual offender, while one man said he had a fondness for Western art and country music. Eight alternate jurors were also chosen.
In all, jury selection lasted five court days with a one-week break for the death of defense lawyer Tom Mesereau's sister (see "Michael Jackson Trial Delayed A Week"), and another for Jackson's hospitalization for the flu (see "Michael Jackson, Suffering From Flu, Rushed To Hospital"). Melville helped move the process along by imposing time limits on the questioning of each prospective juror.
The initial 750 potential jurors were whittled down in the initial phase based on whether there was any legitimate reason they might not be able to serve on what is expected to be a six-month trial. The 243 who remained were questioned individually by the lawyers to determine if they had any connections to Jackson or were biased in any way (see "Many Potential Jurors In Jackson Case Have Connections To Singer").
Mesereau's questions focused on the individuals' interest in the arts and their feelings toward the pop singer, while Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen's questions centered more on whether the prospects were fans of Jackson and whether they had seen the recent Fox News interview the singer did with Geraldo Rivera.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty to charges including child molestation and conspiring to hold the child and his family captive.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."