Jury selection in the trial of a cardiologist facing criminal charges in the death of Michael Jackson gets under way later this month, but opening statements have been postponed until May.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor announced Wednesday that opening statements will begin May 9 after meeting in closed session with Dr. Conrad Murray, his attorneys and prosecutors.
Prosecutors contend Murray gave the singer a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol, which is normally administered in hospital settings.
Murray has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys maintain he did not give Jackson anything that should have killed the singer.
Murray consented to the postponement after his attorneys and prosecutors said they could be ready for his involuntary manslaughter trial by then, a transcript of the closed session meeting shows.
"It is only acceptable to me if this is not strung along over a long period of time," Murray told the judge, according to the transcript. "I don't want to lose my constitutional right to speedy trial."
The Houston-based physician, who has been seeking a speedy trial because of financial difficulties, told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor he understood the delay was necessary to allow both sides to better prepare for trial.
Pastor has repeatedly sparred in recent weeks with Murray's attorneys about why they had not turned over more notes on witnesses and other potential evidence to prosecutors in advance of the trial.
Murray told the judge he would agree to the delay if the screening of prospective jurors begins as scheduled on March 24.
The judge agreed, saying he did not want to lose a jury pool and that a month-long delay might allow potential jurors to re-arrange their schedules for a trial that could last up to two months.
The case is expected to feature testimony from several experts, as well as from people who were in Jackson's rented mansion on the day he died. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have said they are waiting for reports from experts.
Defense attorneys also reviewed evidence held by the Los Angeles Police Department this week and were trying to view items in the coroner's custody, according to the transcript.
One of Murray's defense attorneys, J. Michael Flanagan, has said one possible defense is the singer drank propofol, which is generally given through an IV drip.
Pastor scheduled a status hearing for March 9.