Judge Pastor has approved the addition of Nareg Gourjian to the defense team. From my understanding, Mark Geragos changed his position on his former colleague when he spoke privately with Judge Pastor in chambers.
The mainstream media is now reporting that opening statements will start May 9th. This is about a week later than the initial reporting of May 4th, for the final jury selection.
After an in camera meeting with counsel, Judge Pastor ruled today to delay the start of Dr. Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial for one month. Initial jury selection will still start on March 24th, but the final selection will not begin until May 4th, 2011. Dr. Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of music icon, Michael Jackson on June 25th, 2009.
Although I did not go to the hearing, it appears Judge Pastor granted the prosecution's motion for a delay because of untimely turn-over of discovery of the defense's top witness, Texas anesthesiologist Dr. Paul White. One of the sanctions a Judge can impose on a particular side besides fines is barring a witness from testifying for not complying with discovery.
From what I'm reading in the mainstream media, jurors will show up on March 24th where they will be given a jury questionnaire to complete. What will most likely happen is those questionnaires will be due back to the court by a certain date (possibly before May 4th for counsel review) or they could be due back on May 4th. I expect the jury questionnaire will be made public at some point.
I had a feeling from the very beginning that this trial would not start on the original date of March 28th (later amended to March 24th). I would not be surprised if there are further delays in the case.
The May 4th date precedes one of the most talked about and over analyzed murder trials to date: The Casey Anthony case scheduled to start on May 9th, 2011. Our own ritanita has provided T&T readers with some of the Internet's best easy-to-understand analysis of the motions presented by both sides. Almost every one of my trial watching buds has been waiting on the edge of their seat for this trial to start. Even the media is building a special staging area in an empty lot directly across from the courthouse that has been dubbed "Casey Town."
For a while there, I thought that I might get on the media list to try to get a seat at opening arguments for the Conrad Murray case. However, since it's probably going to start near to or about the same time of the Stephanie Lazarus trial, I'll just have to watch what I can online or late at night on TV.
The delay in Murray's trial now means that the Cameron Brown retrial that was originally slated to begin in Judge Pastor's courtroom on February 24th, is also delayed. Cameron Brown is being tried for the third time for the November 8th, 2000 death of his 4-year-old daughter, Lauren Sarene Key. I covered his second trial in Judge Pastor's courtroom. Brown's two previous trials both ended in a hung jury.