For what promises to be one of the most bizarre and riveting legal proceedings in years, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Monday that a television camera will be allowed in the courtroom when Michael Jackson's doctor goes on trial for involuntary manslaughter.
Reuters reported that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, approved the presence of a camera in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray as long as it does not interfere with the proceedings in the closely watched case.
The judge asked for the "absolute least-intrusive placement" of a TV camera in the courtroom, but blocked cameras from documenting jury selection.
Pastor also announced that he would bump up the opening date of the trail by four days to March 24, at which point jury selection will begin. Murray, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial is expected to last around six weeks.
Cardiologist Murray was hired to be Jackson's personal physician in the run-up to the King of Pop's planned 50-date comeback series of shows at London's O2 arena in the summer of 2009. The doctor told police that he provided Jackson, 50, with sedatives and the surgical anesthetic propofol in order to combat the singer's chronic insomnia. He said he did so on the morning of June 25, 2009, when Jackson died of what a coroner deemed acute propofol poisoning.
TMZ reported on Tuesday (February 8) that Murray's lawyers plan to argue that Jackson was already in weak health before he died and that it's unfair to blame propofol for his passing. Unnamed sources close to the case told the gossip site that at the time of his death, Jackson's body was already failing him in part because concert promoter AEG Live had "driven [him] over the edge" with a rigorous rehearsal schedule for the shows.
Murray's lawyers reportedly plan to call witnesses to say that Jackson was not showing up for rehearsals and when he did he showed "clear signs" of frail health. They also reportedly plan to argue that it was Jackson who administered the final, fatal dose of propofol to himself while Murray was out of the room.