Blogger banned from Michael Jackson wrongful death trial for taking photographs


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The Independent Culture

A blogger has been banned from Michael Jackson’s unlawful death trial after being accused of taking pictures of jurors.

William Wagener had his camera phone confiscated and was banned from the Los Angeles courthouse after allegedly taking photographs within the building.

Mr Wagener has been a regular spectator during the trial which started in April.

He has been ordered by bailiffs to return to court today to hear if the ban will be permanent.

Security around the civil trial has been tight, with the judge giving daily admonitions that taking photographs and filming within the courtroom are prohibited.

Jackson's 82-year-old mother, Katherine, is suing AEG Live, the promoters of his never-realized series of 2009 London comeback concerts, for the wrongful death of her son.

She is seeking $40 billion (£26 billion) in a lawsuit which alleges AEG was negligent in hiring Dr Conrad Murray to care for the singer while he rehearsed for a series of 50 shows.

AEG Live contends that it did not hire or supervise Murray and that Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs for years before he agreed to do the This Is It London concerts.

The concert promoters also argue that they could not have foreseen that Murray, who was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death, posed a danger to the singer.

Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on 25 June 2009, from a lethal dose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol that Murray was administering for sleep problems. Murray, who is not being sued, formally appealed against his criminal conviction in April.

Mr Wagener claims he mistakenly took a photograph while on an escalator in the Los Angeles courthouse where the trial is underway.

He claims that banning him would impede his ability to cover the trial.

Mr Wagener previously attended the entirety of the Michael Jackson child abuse trial in 2005, which saw the singer acquitted.

At the time Mr Wagener accused prosecutors and the world’s media of lying about what went and subsequently launched a $10 million appeal to fund a documentary about it. He has raised around $10,000 so far.