A week after word leaked that former child actor Corey Feldman had been subpoenaed by the prosecution in the Michael Jackson child-molestation trial, the singer's lead attorney told prospective jurors in the case that they can expect to see many more stars on the witness stand.
On the first day of questioning of the more than 240 potential jurors, Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said that NBA star Kobe Bryant, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, Elizabeth Taylor and illusionist David Blaine are among the celebrities the defense plans to call in the case, according to The Associated Press. Other potential star witnesses include veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, relatives of late actor Marlon Brando, and former child actors Emmanuel Lewis and Macaulay Culkin.
In addition to the accuser and his family, Mesereau's list also includes Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb, comedian Chris Tucker, talk-show hosts Larry King and Maury Povich, and guru Deepak Chopra, according to a Reuters report.
Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville asked the jurors not to be distracted by the hype of the case or to prejudge. "I'm not bought and paid for," Melville told the jurors, according to the AP. "I have not made up my mind in this case and I want to select a jury that feels exactly the same way. You might be able to relax a little bit if you think of this as a job interview."
The remaining potential jurors were weeded out from a pool of 700-plus after filling out a questionnaire that asked them, among other things, if they'd followed a 1993 accusation of alleged abuse involving Jackson. Each side can eliminate as many potential jurors as it wants if it believes the person has an obvious bias. Both the defense and the prosecution also have 10 peremptory challenges, which allows them to remove jurors with no explanation.
The final jury will consist of 12 jurors and eight alternates. The AP reports that defense attorneys will likely try to eliminate parents of young children who could be more sensitive to the issue of child abuse and that prosecutors will probably search for people with a high opinion of law enforcement.
Both sides agreed to immediately dismiss an 81-year-old man who told them he had a serious health issue.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."