Sunday, March 20, 2005

MJ Update -- Friday, 3/18

Fridays are usually my favorite days on the Jackson trial since they're usually miscellaneous hearing and motions days. This past Friday was a bit slow.
  • Melville said he would rule on 3/28 whether or not the prosecution will be allowed to bring up Jackson's past accusations of child abuse. Both were multi-million dollar settlements and neither brought criminal charges. The defense believes they are irrelevant and confusing.
  • Melville also denied a defense request for a mistrial based on a prosecuting attorney named at least one of the boys who had previously accused Jackson. The judge ruled that the mere mention of the name was in context and would not jeopardize their case.
  • Melville ruled that the defense can add comedian George Lopez to the witness list to question him about a falling out over money that he apparently had with the accusers family.
  • Both sides and Melville also discussed the issue regarding the fingerprint and the adult magazines. The magazines were not checked for fingerprints until after the grand jury testimony and the boy's fingerprints were found on at least one. It is unclear whether or not the fingerprint was placed on the magazine during grand jury testimony. The defense asked for the right to call grand jurors to testify if they'd seen the boy handle the magazine. Melville opted to exclude grand jurors as witnesses and members of the prosecution have volunteered to testify in their place. The court reporter may also be called.
Some are saying this trial will go the full scheduled five months while others are saying this trial may wrap up in four months.

Jury reaction: Some reporting on jury reaction from the Santa Maria Times:
Reactions so far by the 12 jurors and eight alternates have been tough to categorize. Several appeared disengaged and bored by the testimony, even when Jackson's accuser took the stand. Others took copious notes. The jury enters the courtroom each day smiling, and about half the panel dressed in green for Thursday's St. Patrick's Day. Most appear to have warmed to Melville, who occasionally jokes with them using his characteristic dry sense of humor. The presence of a world famous defendant does not seem to phase them anymore, and they rarely look in Jackson's direction. However, trial consultant Richard Gabriel said guessing a juror's reaction on body language can be misleading. "The juror who is nodding and winking at you during the trial is the one that can hit you the hardest in the deliberation room," Gabriel said. "Some jurors will as a rule say, 'I know everybody's watching me, I'm going to personally look disinterested.' There's some jurors who scowl because that's how they express concentration. Some are smiling at a witness, but thinking that the person is (lying)."

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