Jackson Prosecutors Want Courtroom Open

Michael Jackson's prosecutors have asked the trial judge to keep the courtroom open during hearings on whether to admit into evidence allegations of prior sexual offenses by the singer, according to d

Michael Jackson's prosecutors have asked the trial judge to keep the courtroom open during hearings on whether to admit into evidence allegations of prior sexual offenses by the singer, according to documents released yesterday (Jan. 11).

The parties are due in court today to argue the admissibility of the alleged prior offenses and a motion to close the courtroom.

The prosecution motion said the grounds on which the defense seeks to exclude the evidence is that it is "inherently incredible." But the prosecution said that is for the jury, not the judge, to decide. "Merely labeling the proposed testimony of an adverse witness as 'incredible' doesn't make it so," the motion said.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Gerald McC Franklin said the prosecutor who will argue the motion to admit evidence of prior acts will speak "with discretion" and "is acutely concerned that the right of both parties to a fair-minded and impartial jury not be prejudiced by references to evidence not yet made public."

The 46-year-old Jackson has pleaded not guilty to charges of molesting a boy, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to the alleged victim at his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif.

Another recently released document showed that the judge has issued an order for Martin Bashir, the producer of a documentary about Jackson, to come to California to testify in the trial on March 1. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.

In related news, E! Entertainment Television and U.K.-based satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting (BSB) have partnered to produce daily half-hour courtroom re-enactments of the trial. Because cameras will not be allowed in the court room, actors will rely on verbatim court transcripts to recreate highlights of the previous day's events.

E! and BSB will add their own hosts, while E! plans include a panel of legal analysts to provide commentary. In addition to E! News' daily coverage of the trial, the re-enactment will air on E! in the United States and in more than 50 countries on the E! International Network. In the U.K., BSB will air its version of the series on Sky News, which is also available in more than 40 countries, and Sky One.


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