Jury selection continues after two weeks of delays, including the defendant's hospitalization

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 22, 2005 08:00 AM

The Michael Jackson child molestation case will resume Tuesday after jury selection was abruptly suspended last Tuesday when Jackson was rushed to an emergency room with “flu-like” symptoms. The star, 46, was treated and released the next day.

The week before there had been another delay, following the death of lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau’s sister.

Judge Rodney Melville is set to pick up the proceedings with a resumption of jury selection. Jackson is expected to be in the Santa Maria, Calif., courtroom, the Associated Press reports.

Of 242 potential candidates in the jury pool, attorneys will eventually narrow their selection down to 12 jurors and eight alternates.

Before the proceedings were suspended last week, Mesereau had queried prospective jurors about their interest in the arts, their attitudes toward Jackson and whether they believed young witnesses could be encouraged to lie. The attorney also delivered a star-studded list of more than 300 potential witnesses in the case, including Kobe Bryant, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Jay Leno.

Jackson is charged with molesting a former cancer patient, then 13, and plying him with alcohol at his Neverland Ranch. He also stands accused of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.