The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case said Tuesday he was ready to proceed to the next step in the jury selection process, saying enough potential jurors have been selected.
The announcement by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville came after a group of 250 potential jurors have been picked from about 450 people screened during 1 1/2 days of jury selection.
The potential jurors were questioned in two groups of 150 Monday, the first day of the trial, and Tuesday’s morning session delivered another group of 150. A total of nearly 750 prospective panelists had been ordered to report to the courthouse.
But Melville canceled Tuesday’s afternoon session and said court would be dark the rest of the week to give attorneys for both sides time to read the seven-page questionnaires members of the jury pool were asked to complete.
Monday will begin the “voir dire” process, in which prospective jurors are questioned by attorneys from both sides.
Observers in the courtroom said some potential panelists who pleaded to be let out of the jury pool due to hardships were not granted their wish and were told to report back next week.
Jackson, 46, was indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts of child molestation, four counts of administering an intoxicating agent, one count of attempted child molestation and one count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty in the case.