Sony studios on Friday asked the judge hearing Michael Jackson’s manslaughter trial to throw out a subpoena for footage of the singer’s final rehearsals after a defense attorney said earlier this week that reviewing them was “a big waste of time.”
Attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has footage from the “This Is It” film depicting Jackson’s last rehearsals, argue in a motion that neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys should be able to show the footage during the trial.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor is scheduled to consider the request on Monday, but canceled plans to review the outtakes over the weekend. In a ruling, he stated that he had watched some of the 16 hours that attorneys were considering presenting to jurors, but that he would not travel to Sony studios for additional viewings on Saturday and Sunday.
The studio based its motion on quotes defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan made after a hearing Wednesday in which he said the footage doesn’t show the singer was in poor health in the days before he died. Flanagan represents Dr. Conrad Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge related to Jackson’s death.
“We believe his health is somewhat compromised, but he’s not displaying it,” Flanagan told reporters, including The Associated Press. He added that he thought the footage was irrelevant to the trial.
“I really think it’s a big waste of time,” he said.
Sony seized on the statement in its motion, writing, “If the enterprise is a waste of time, the court has stated that it has little time to be wasted.”
Flanagan did not immediately return a phone message Friday afternoon.
Defense attorneys had been hoping the unseen footage from “This Is It” would support their contention that Jackson was frail in the days before his June 25 death.
Prosecutors found the footage helpful to their case, and asked Pastor to allow them to use up to 12 hours of raw footage. Murray’s team wanted to show up to four hours from the rehearsals.
Jury selection in Murray’s trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 8.