Is it just me or does jury selection for the Michael Jackson case — which resumes today after a week’s hiatus because Jacko is a delicate flower (he was given intravenous fluids at Santa Maria’s Marian Medical Center for what doctors described as “a flu-like illness with some vomiting”) — sound like American Idol?
- Lawyers will once again question selected members of the public in a bid to find 12 impartial jurors.
Each side can challenge an unlimited number of jurors for any signs of bias and reject 10 jurors without cause.
The pool of prospective jurors has already been narrowed down to 240 since jury selection began. As well as the final 12, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville will also have to choose eight alternates, who will replace any jurors dismissed during the trial. [BBC]
It might be fun if Judge Melville and Randy, Paula and Simon switched places, don’t you think?
Paula would encourage all the would-be jurors, an occasional tear dripping down her lovely, empathetic cheek; Simon would indignantly repeat “I see this juror in a Holiday Inn lounge”; and Randy would give the impression he is judging a dog show, what with the obscure hand signals and persistent verbal canine references.
But enough “reality”: in addition to jury selection resuming today, the Smoking Gun dropped another bombshell on Friday, announcing they have the secret grand jury transcript, which has remained sealed. The complete grand jury transcript runs 1903 pages and includes the testimony of 41 witnesses, including the alleged victim and six members of his family, Jackson employees and associates, flight attendants, child welfare officials, four lawyers, one clinical psychologist, and a comedy club owner.
Thus far TSG has published the complete testimony of the alleged victim, his younger brother, sister, mother, and grandmother, attorney Larry Feldman (who represented the boy who made molestation allegations against Jackson in 1993), psychologist Dr. Stanley Katz (who reported his suspicions of abuse and molestation to child welfare and law enforcement officials after interviewing the alleged victim and his brother), Jesus Salas (former Neverland house manager), Brian Barron (part-time Neverland Ranch security guard), Michael Davy (official with the Los Angeles Unified School District), Cynthia Bell and Lauren Wallace (corporate flight attendants), along with the actual Jackson indictment (which had been released only in redacted form).
TSG has also detailed what they consider to be the highlights of the testimony:
- * A California cop who moonlighted as a Neverland Ranch security guard told of seeing a written directive ordering that the accuser not be allowed to leave the 2800-acre property. The directive, posted in the estate’s security office, came during the period in which investigators allege the boy and his family were imprisoned at Jackson’s estate.
* An ex-bodyguard who testified that his job was to shadow Jackson 24 hours a day, said that one afternoon he discovered the teenage accuser drunk. When he confronted the boy and told him he should not be imbibing, the child replied, “Well, I can handle it. Michael said if I can handle it, it’s okay. It’s part of being a man.” Jackson has been charged with four felony counts of providing booze to the accuser, a cancer survivor who lost his spleen and a kidney to the disease.
* Jackson’s former house manager testified that the accuser and his family were held against their will at Neverland and that two of the singer’s top aides told him that the boy’s mother “wasn’t allowed to leave the property.” He also noted that the alleged victim and his brother, then 11, slept almost every night with Jackson in the singer’s bedroom.
* A public relations expert hired to handle crisis management chores for Jackson testified that one of the singer’s lawyers was “absolutely gleeful” when he told of plans to smear the accuser’s mother as a “crack whore.”
* A corporate flight attendant testified that Jackson was “secretive about his drinking” and rejected spirits she delivered in a “fluted crystal stem.” Instead, the singer wanted his wine served in a Diet Coke can, which the woman emptied and refilled in the privacy of a Gulfstream bathroom. The alleged victim has testified that Jackson provided him wine concealed in a Diet Coke can on several occasions, including one cross-country trip staffed by the flight attendant.
* A second attendant, who worked 18 Jackson flights, also told of the entertainer’s principal travel request: “The first one is–the white wine in the Diet Coke can.”
* Corroborating accounts from the accuser’s family, a school administrator testified that he chased away a man videotaping the alleged victim outside his Los Angeles middle school. Investigators determined that the thuggish surveillance agent–who tailed the accuser and his family after they left Neverland for the final time–was working for a private investigator hired by the Jackson camp.
No indication of how TSG obtained the testimony but they claim its authenticity is certain.