Jackson child-molestation trial resumes

Urged on by the judge, attorneys in the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/fun/2003/03/04/44010.html ' target=_blank>Michael Jackson child-molestation trial moved briskly Tuesday, tossing 14 people out of the jury pool for various reasons.

Before the trial, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville and attorneys on both sides estimated that it would take a month to seat 12 jurors and eight alternates. As of Tuesday, it appeared they could do it ahead of schedule, despite two recent weeklong breaks, one when Jackson became ill with the flu and another for a death in his lawyer's family.

By the end of the day, prosecutors had used five of their 10 peremptory challenges, and defense attorneys had used six. In a peremptory challenge, an attorney may dismiss a prospective juror without stating a reason. By contrast, "challenges for cause" are unlimited and often are invoked when a prospective juror is clearly biased or has an obvious conflict of interest, writes the Los Angeles Times.

According to the BBC News, twenty potential jurors were dismissed as the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/09/27/37257.html' target=_blank>child abuse case resumed on Tuesday. Mr Jackson denies the charges.

"It's unheard of in a case like this to have a jury this fast," said former San Francisco lawyer Jim Hammer.

Judge Rodney Melville told jury candidates that a delay due to Mr Jackson's illness was genuine, and was not a delaying tactic by the defence.

"Mr Jackson really was sick. He really did have the flu. I talked to his doctor. I wouldn't let anyone take advantage of us that way," he said.

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