News and Information

Jackson in hospital 'with flu'
February 15, 2005

Michael Jackson arrives in court with lawyer Thomas Mesereau
Two of Michael Jackson's children may be called in his defence
Michael Jackson has been rushed to hospital in California with a "severe case of the flu", his trial judge, Judge Rodney Melville, has said.

The singer, 46, fell ill on the way to court where he was due to attend the jury selection process.

A court-approved reporter announced that jury selection would resume at 0800 local time on Tuesday 22 February, to allow Mr Jackson time to recover.

Mr Jackson denies 10 counts of child molestation.

The singer was picked up from his Neverland ranch at 0805 local time (1605 GMT) to be taken to the court in Santa Maria, but his journey was diverted to the Marian Medical Center after he became ill.

Initially, Mr Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau said the singer had been rushed to an emergency room and was "very, very ill".

Fifteen minutes after the singer was scheduled to appear in court, Judge Melville told prospective jurors at the courthouse that Mr Jackson had been taken to the hospital.

The judge then asked one lawyer from both sides of the legal case to join him in chambers where he took a lengthy conference call with a doctor at Marian Medical Center who told him Mr Jackson was suffering from " a serious case of flu".

Reporter Ted Rolands said Judge Melville came to Mr Jackson's defence over news of his illness, joking that it was beneficial for he and the prospective jurors to steer clear of any possible infection.

Mr Jackson had been due to appear in court for the second day of the individual questioning of potential jurors in the case.

His legal team and the prosecution began the process of questioning prospective jurors on Monday. Jury selection is expected to be completed by the beginning of March.

If convicted, Mr Jackson could face a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.


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