Jackson rushed to hospital

Click to follow
The Independent US

Michael Jackson was rushed to hospital today with the flu, delaying his high profile trial until next week.

The latest twist in the singer's case forced the judge to postpone jury selection until next Tuesday, February 22.

Jackson, who stands accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy, was picked up as normal from his Neverland ranch at 8.05am (4.05pm GMT), a 30-minute drive from the courtroom in Santa Maria, California.

But his entourage diverted to the Marian Medical Centre one mile from the court and Jackson was taken into the emergency unit.

He was later admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a bad case of the flu.

In court Judge Rodney Melville told the pool of prospective jurors to wait before he spoke to a doctor and returned to adjourn proceedings.

Jackson was said to have been blowing his nose a lot in court yesterday. He has a history of illness and stress.

The tedious process of choosing a panel of 12 jurors was enlivened yesterday when it emerged the Jackson team planned to call a host of Hollywood celebrities in his defence.

The singer's lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, read out a star-studded list of proposed witnesses which includes Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Elizabeth Taylor.

Illusionist David Blaine, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and relatives of actor Marlon Brando, as well as Jackson's own children Paris and Prince Michael, could also be called to testify.

The prosecution list includes the mother of those children, Debbie Rowe, former Jackson attorney Mark Geragos and a young man who as a boy was involved in 1993 allegations against Jackson.

British journalist Martin Bashir, whose documentary, Living With Michael Jackson, sparked the investigation, is also on the list.

Prospective jurors were not told the relevance of the witnesses.

The pool of some 242 people, who have already filled out eight-page questionnaires on the trial, will be further quizzed when the trial resumes as the court attempts to whittle the panel down to 12 people who will give the singer a fair hearing.