Patrick Healy & Thomas Bravo
Jury Selection is underway in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's former personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.
Potential jurors in the trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician are likely to face a wide range of questions regarding their experience with prescription drugs, doctors, celebrities, news outlets, law enforcement and their DVD collections.
A lengthy questionnaire will be part of the jury selection process, which began Friday morning in a downtown LA courtroom with a group of about 160 people. By late Friday afternoon, more than half the potential jurors were dismissed. Dr. Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of the pop star.
After an initial screening Thursday, people who are able to serve on the jury will then fill out a questionnaire. An earlier version of the document is available here.
Judge Michael Pastor is looking to find about 100 people to fill out what he has called an "exhaustive and exhausting" questionnaire.
"It's critical," said NBC legal analyst Royal Oakes of the questionnaire. "You have to try to read minds and get past jurors. It's up to the prosecution and defense to decide whether someone hates Michael Jackson and who really might have been an obssessed fan."
It took three days to find an eligible pool of jurors earlier this year. In May, the judge dismissed them when he agreed to delay Murray's trial to provide attorneys with time to prepare.
In April, the court provided a questionnaire that asked a wide range of questions, including several about the Jackson family and respondents' perceptions of one of the world's most popular entertainers. For example, Question No. 97: Have you ever considered yourself a fan of Michael Jackson or the Jackson family? No. 99 is a related followup: Did you ever watch "This Is It."
Other questions were about pop culture, prescription drugs, law enforcement and the people involved in the case. During his remarks to potential jurors Thursday, Judge Michael Pastor specifically warned jurors they will have to avoid online and social media discussions about the case.
"We didn't expect you'd been living under a rock... or made a pit stop from Mars," Pastor said Thursday.
Attorneys will consider responses for several days before direct questioning of potential jurors begins on Sept. 23. Analysts expect the case to last about four to six weeks.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Murray is accused of administering a lethal dose of the drug propofol and other sedatives. Defense attorneys have said Murray did not give the singer anything that should have killed him.
Murray faces up to four years and the loss of his medical license if convicted.