At a hearing held Thursday, Judge Michael Pastor said that as video is not covered by laws protecting journalists from court subpoenas, it could be likely that Sony will have to give Murray’s defense access to Michael’s previously unseen video footage of his rehearsals for the ‘This Is It’ concerts. His lawyers argue that it could show that Michael was ill and physically weak.
Sony Pictures, which bought the video from Michael’s estate, is fighting the subpoena from Murray’s lawyers for access to about one hundred hours of video that was used to produce the ‘This Is It’ documentary film.
The prosecution already has permission from the judge to show the footage from that film to the jurors. Since Sony was under a contractual obligation with the estate to not use anything that showed Michael in “a negative light,” the unused video may be helpful to the defense, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said.
Sony’s lawyer said the public release of the raw video could hurt the studio’s plans to use it in other productions, such as an anniversary edition of the documentary. “If they become part of the public record as an exhibit, we have a whole different problem,” Sony attorney Gary Bostwick said. “That would immediately become viral on TMZ or some other website.”
Defense lawyers were ordered to narrow their subpoena request for the video, which Pastor called “remarkably over-broad.”
He gave Sony a week to work out technical details with the defense for a way they can view the raw video without the risk of it leaking.