Friday, March 11, 2005

MJ Update -- Day 10

Friday -- Melville heard ruled on a couple of motions today and heard arguments on several others.

* Melville issued his clarification on the gag order requested by attorneys for Jay Leno. Leno is on the defense witness list and his attorneys had asked if that made him a "party to the case" required to observed the gag order. Melville says the gag order does not prevent the late night host from making jokes about the trial. (Last night, Leno showed up "late" for his own show in pajamas sheltered by a large black umbrella.) Leno's attorneys argued the gag order was a restriction on his first amendment rights. Melville agreed and only restricted Leno to not discussing particular parts of the case with which he might be involved.

* Melville listened to arguments from the prosecution seeking to examine Jackson's finances. The prosecution believes financial problems may have motivated Jackson to hold the family captive. The prosecution wants to review records from Jackson's accountants. The defense does not believe Jackson's finances are relevant. (It's unclear if Melville ruled on this although it does appear he will allow this line of questioning in a limited way.)

* The defense asked that Jackson be allowed to a make "an extensive rebuttal" to the Bashir documentary that aired on ABC last month. The judge said that MJ is free to submit anything he likes, but that he'll consider it, conferring with both sides before any rebuttal is allowed to be viewed by the jury.

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