LOS ANGELES — A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that there will be no live television coverage of the wrongful death suit that Michael Jackson’s mother and children filed against Anschutz Entertainment Group, the entertainment giant that was promoting Jackson’s ill-fated comeback tour.
CNN and NBCUniversal Television Group had filed a motion asking that they be allowed to televise the trial, which is being held in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
In her ruling, Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos wrote that while the media has the right to cover public court hearings, it is up to the judge to decide whether to allow TV coverage.
Brian Panish, the attorney for Katherine Jackson, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II, declined comment.
But Panish had supported television coverage in an April 2 court filing in which he criticized AEG’s attorney for “making numerous unrelated and disparaging remarks about Michael Jackson” in a CNN interview.
AEG’s attorney, Marvin Putnam, could not be reached for comment.
Jury selection in the case began Tuesday, with potential jurors being asked if they could take off the four months the trial is expected to last. Questioning of potential jurors who pass that first test is scheduled to start April 15.
The suit alleges that AEG negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who — in an attempt to help the singer sleep — gave him a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol. They suit says that AEG pushed Jackson to prepare for a tour that he was not physically capable of handling.
AEG says it was Jackson’s decision to hire Murray, and that the company had recommended a British physician.
Jackson died in 2009, two weeks before his “This Is It” tour was scheduled to debut in London.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
– Jeff Gottlieb, LA Times