Illness postpones Jackson jury choice

 

Jury selection in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial will be postponed for at least several days due to the grave illness of his lead attorney's sister, a court spokesman says.

The case had been scheduled to resume tomorrow, with detailed questioning of 250 would-be jurors by the judge, prosecutors and Jackson's lawyers.

The serious illness of lead defence attorney Mr Tom Mesereau's sister has delayed that process at least until Thursday, the court spokesman said, and possibly into next week. The nature of the illness was not disclosed.

Though Mr Mesereau and Jackson, 46, will be absent from court on Monday, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville was expected to briefly take the bench to consider legal motions by several news organizations.

The prospective jurors were also ordered to report to the courthouse for processing, but will then go home until Thursday morning at the earliest.

Jackson is charged in a 10-count Santa Barbara County grand jury indictment with molesting a young boy at his Neverland Valley Ranch and with conspiring to commit extortion, false imprisonment and child abduction. He has pleaded innocent.

Last week Judge Melville cut short the first phase of jury selection after quickly finding 250 people who said they were willing and able to sit on a jury trial that could last for up to six months.