Defense attorneys and prosecutors in the involuntary manslaughter case against Michael Jackson's doctor won permission Friday to view raw footage that didn't make it into the concert movie "This Is It."
The lawyers want to show excerpts from the movie to demonstrate Jackson's physical condition before he died.
However, the ruling also sets the stage for the singer to become the posthumous star of the upcoming trial.
At one point in the court hearing, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked if prosecutors wanted to show the entire movie to jurors, but the issue was tabled for later discussion.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren initially asked to show excerpts of the actual movie compiled from rehearsals two days before Jackson's death on June 25, 2009.
Defense attorneys, however, asked to see outtakes not used in the movie and requested the time frame begin 10 days before Jackson died.
Walgren said prosecutors want to see the same raw footage that is viewed by the defense.
Defense attorney Nareg Gourjian objected to the prosecution's request to sit in on the private screening, saying the subpoena was issued by the defense.
Walgren countered that it would be "silly and a waste of time" for him to get a separate subpoena and the judge agreed.
"I think the people should be part of it," Pastor said.
Pastor said both sides can go to Sony studios beginning Tuesday and view 21 boxes of audio-visual materials that have been estimated to capture 100 hours of rehearsal time. Jackson was preparing for a widely anticipated London concert and died just before he was to leave for Britain.
Dr. Conrad Murray, hired as Jackson's private physician for the tour, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of giving Jackson an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and other sedatives. He has pleaded not guilty and is due for trial in September.
The hearing came one day before the second anniversary of Jackson's death. Some theaters in Hollywood are showing "This Is It" as a tribute to the singer over the weekend.
Walgren said the time-consuming effort to view all the footage may require a trial delay of about three weeks. Pastor ordered lawyers to return on July 12 and give him a progress report and time estimate.
Sony lawyer Gary Bostwick said the materials in Sony's possession are not categorized, and Pastor described the treasure trove as sounding like "boxes someone would have in their garage."
Bostwick agreed but called it a unique situation because of the path the footage took.
Concert promoter AEG, which owned the videos, decided to release a posthumous movie soon after Jackson's death and rushed to have the rehearsal footage edited by director Kenny Ortega, Bostwick said.
The movie eventually was sold to Sony and the raw footage was turned over to them as well.
Bostwick said producers were working so fast to get the movie out that "there never was any complete inventory."