Jury selection resumed Wednesday for Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial, where attorneys already had dismissed half the prospective jurors they are allowed to reject at will
Selection has moved intermittently, despite the judge’s efforts to set a fast pace by limiting attorneys to 10 minutes of questioning the prospective panel members. However, if the attorneys maintain their current pace a jury could be seated within days.
Both sides are allowed to reject 10 jurors each without explanation. The defense cut six Tuesday and the prosecution five. Along with three jurors who were removed by mutual agreement and six jurors the judge dismissed at their requests, 20 prospective panelists were gone by the end of Tuesday’s court session.
The dismissal of another prospect last month for health reasons brings the size of the remaining jury pool down to 221 people.
The five jurors rejected by prosecutors included a man who said he was a “karaoke junkie” and Jackson fan, and a woman who once did a cheerleading routine to one of Jackson’s songs.
Among the jurors dismissed by the defense were a man who has several sheriff’s deputies as friends, and two mothers of young children.
Attorneys need to select 12 jurors and eight alternates.
The 46-year-old singer is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy, plying him with alcohol, and conspiring to hold him and his family captive.
Jury selection was delayed twice — first by the death of lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr.’s sister two weeks ago and then Jackson’s trip to a hospital last week with “flu-like” symptoms.