Trial Won’t Feature Unreleased Jackson Footage
Jurors in the Michael Jackson manslaughter case will not watch previously unseen footage from the singer’s final rehearsals to determine the state of his health before his death, a judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor agreed with the characterization of a defense attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray that more than 100 hours of rehearsal footage condensed into the film “This Is It” did not show the singer in poor health.
Pastor also agreed with attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment that the clips have significant value and should not be publicly shown without a good reason.
“There is absolutely nothing in those materials that could have been of assistance to the defense,” Pastor said.
The judge reviewed several hours of the footage last week then canceled plans to travel to Sony Studios over the weekend to finish watching the rest of the film that attorneys wanted to use during the upcoming trial of Murray.
Sony filed a motion Friday citing comments by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan calling the review of the footage a “big waste of time.”
Murray’s attorneys wanted to show jurors four hours of film, while prosecutors wanted to show up to 12 hours.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the footage “demonstrated that Michael Jackson was optimistic, engaged, confident, physically well.”
Pastor, who has ruled that snippets of the theatrical version of “This Is It” can be shown at trial, said it was unnecessary to show other clips.
“There are materials which I viewed which I would regard as extremely valuable to Sony,” the judge said.
The footage could be used later for extended versions of “This Is It.”
Pastor warned Flanagan about speaking publicly about the case, scolding the veteran attorney for discussing evidence during a radio interview that won’t be presented to jurors.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Sept. 8.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors accuse him of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of his rented mansion days before he was scheduled to travel to London for a series of comeback concerts.
Defense attorneys have said Murray did not give Jackson anything that should have killed him.