Jackson press conference won't be shown at trial

LOS ANGELES - September 26, 2011

Defense attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray had wanted to show the footage, claiming it showed Jackson wasn't healthy and had only committed to 10 shows. By the time of his death, the singer had been committed to 50 shows at London's O2 arena.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled the March 2009 press conference wasn't relevant to the involuntary manslaughter case against Murray, which will focus on the pop superstar's final weeks and hours.

Defense attorney Nareg Gourjian said that according to promoters of the shows, Jackson's press conference was delayed 90 minutes because the singer was passed out and appeared to be "hung over."

"We believe that it's readily apparent from watching the video that Mr. Jackson was under the influence," Gourjian said.

Pastor said showing the footage would be prejudicial and the defense's request included speculation that should not be shown to jurors.

The judge also blocked prosecutors from mentioning efforts by investigators to speak to Murray after his initial interview with police days after Jackson's June 2009 death.

The rulings were some of the final bits of housekeeping before opening statements, set for Tuesday.

Murray has pleaded not guilty. He could face up to four years in prison if convicted and the loss of his medical license.

Authorities contend the Houston-based cardiologist gave Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives.

Murray first disclosed he had been giving Jackson the anesthetic in the bedroom of the singer's rented mansion during his interview with police.

Murray's lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff disputed whether authorities left messages seeking another interview with the physician. Ultimately, Pastor determined attempts to contact Murray through his counsel should not be brought up during the trial.


AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.

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