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Michael Jackson Trial Begins, Secrecy Ends

Jury Selection Begins in Jackson Case


Updated May 20, 2010
The court-ordered secrecy, which has shrouded the Michael Jackson case in the 14 months since he was charged with 10 felonies connected to the molestation of a teenage boy, will come to an end as his trial begins and the public light begins to shine on his life behind the doors of Neverland Ranch.

Jackson is facing trial on charges of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion, three counts of committing lewd acts upon a child, attempted lewd acts upon a child, and four counts of administering intoxicating agents to assist in the commission of a felony.

In an effort to ensure a fair trial in the high-profile case, Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville has maintained an almost unprecedented level of secrecy regarding official court documents in the case. Melville ordered the grand jury transcripts, which are usually available 10 days after an indictment is returned, sealed until after a jury is selected in the trial.

Melville imposed a gag order on all parties in the case, refused to allow cameras in the courtroom, and ordered all pre-trial motions to be filed under seal. When those motion papers have been released to the press, they have contained large blacked-out areas.

Although many of the details of the grand jury testimony have been leaked to the media, much of the prosecution's case against Jackson remains unclear. After the leaks were made public, Judge Melville lifted the gag order to allow Jackson to make a statement about the leaked information on his personal web site.

Exposed to the Public Light

But as the trial begins, and the jury is selected, all of the secrecy will be lifted. Judge Melville has ruled that all of the evidence seized at two searches of Jackson's Neverland Ranch can be admitted into evidence. The teenage accuser will take the stand in open court and reveal the details of his story, which will be supported by other witnesses.

In fact, Judge Melville has ruled against almost every pre-trial motion and request from the defense. Melville has shown that he is in charge of the trial proceedings and has demonstrated the he will not tolerate the sidebars and sideshows that dominated the high-profile O.J. Simpson trial. There may be a circus atmosphere outside the courtroom, but it will be strictly business inside the court.

It may take weeks for 12 jurors to be selected from the pool of 750 who will be interviewed in groups of 150, but when the jury is seated and the trial begins, the secret life of Michael Jackson will finally be exposed for all the world to see.

Background Information: Secrecy In Michael Jackson Case Increases The Pressure For A Scoop

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