Jackson case resumes with jury selection
SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Jury selection resumed Tuesday in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial, a week after the proceedings were postponed when the pop star was hospitalized with the flu.
Jackson arrived at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse a few minutes after 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET) looking energetic and healthy. He wore a black suit with a gray vest and silver chain belt with charms hanging from it.
Since the trial began January 31, court has been in session a handful of days because of a death in the family of lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. and because of the singer's hospitalization.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville sought Tuesday to reassure potential jurors that the trial is moving forward.
"Mr. Mesereau really did have a tragedy. And Mr. Jackson really was sick -- I talked with his doctor," Melville said.
"I know the energy that it takes to get yourselves up and be part of this case. ... I just know how you're feeling. I just know the letdown," the judge added. "This is something we're moving forward on."
Melville also announced more celebrities who have been added to the case's 300-plus list of witnesses. Eddie Murphy, Macaulay Culkin and Smokey Robinson are among the latest names.
In Tuesday's court session, attorneys questioned the pool of potential jurors.
By the end of the day, 20 potential jurors had been dismissed, leaving the size of the remaining jury pool at 221.
Of those released, the defense cut six and the prosecution five. Both sides can cut up to 10 prospective jurors without explanation. One of those cut by the prosecution was the only African-American on the list.
Of the nine other jurors released, six were let go due to hardship reasons and both sides agreed to dismiss three others.
Melville must seat a panel of 12 jurors and eight alternates.
Jackson, 46, was admitted to the Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria on February 15 and released a day later.
Doctors said he was suffering from a flulike ailment, and Melville canceled court proceedings, saying that jury selection couldn't continue without the defendant.
Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, giving the boy alcohol and attempting to hold him and his family captive.
The pop star has pleaded not guilty to the charges.