Thursday, February 10, 2005

SOMEHOW, THEY'VE FOUND 25 PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T READ ANYTHING ABOUT THE JACKSON CASE: That's the most startling fact in the details released from the potential juror questionnaires: there was less than a 90% 'Yes' rate to the question about if you'd watched even "a little" about the case. E! Television are said to be launching an enquiry to find out how these people slipped through their net.

Sixty percent of the jurors had heard about the time that Jacko paid off the last kid to publicly accuse him of wrong-down-there touching; one juror claimed that Jackson's Uncle is a personal friend of his; while another worked as a firefighter with a Neverland employee. Best of all:

A 47-year-old woman said one of her sons worked at Neverland ranch, while her 15-year-old son had visited to "ride and hang out."

... although, to be fair to Michael, he did always insist that the boys tucked themselves in again before taking a turn on the big dipper.

Meanwhile, the appeals court in Ventura, California, is considering lifting some of the secrecy in the Jackson case. It's always tricky, of course, applying the constitution to cases such as these, and trying to decide what the American founding fathers believed would be right - although Andrew Jackson is known to have had a subscription to the National Enquirer and so would presumably have had cameras in the courtroom in a jiffy.

The splendidly named Theodore J. Boutrous, attorney for the Associated Press made the reporter's urge to do it in public sound almost noble:

Boutrous said the public had a right to follow the allegations and Jackson's responses to them in order to gauge whether prosecutors and defense attorneys were acting properly and making well-grounded arguments.

He said the obligation to release information was especially high in cases with intense public interest.

Perhaps Mr. Boutrous needs to run through again on the differences between "the public interest" and "what the public is interested in"; it can be quite confusing, can't it?

Jackson's attorney, Robert Sanger, came next:

[He] said the singer didn't want special treatment, but was entitled to a fair trial. Sanger said he was worried about the jury pool being contaminated.

The jury pool which, of course, managed to avoid contamination from the recent Jackson video, for example, or long interviews with his ma on Fox, could quite easily lose that purity if the public got a peek inside the courtroom. Jackson, of course, is entitled to a fair trial, and that's a right that must be upheld in any case where he's unable to buy off the key prosecution witness before the hearing begins.

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