Last Friday Sony Pictures asked Judge Michael Pastor to quash a subpoena requiring it to produce footage from Michael’s film ‘This Is It,’ because a defense attorney said earlier this week the footage showed Michael was mostly healthy and called the effort, “a big waste of time.”
Judge Pastor said that jurors in the Michael Jackson manslaughter case will not watch previously unseen footage from Michael’s final rehearsals to determine the state of his health before his death.
He agreed with the characterization of a defense attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, for Dr. Conrad Murray, that more than one hundred hours of rehearsal footage condensed into the film ‘This Is It,’ did not show the singer in poor health.
Judge Pastor also agreed with attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment, that the clips have significant value and should not be publicly shown without a good reason. “There is absolutely nothing in those materials that could have been of assistance to the defense,” Pastor said.
The judge reviewed several hours of the footage last week then canceled plans to travel to Sony Studios over the weekend to finish watching the rest of the film that attorneys wanted to use during the upcoming trial of Murray.
Sony filed a motion Friday citing comments by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan calling the review of the footage a “big waste of time.” Murray’s attorneys wanted to show jurors four hours of film, while prosecutors wanted to show up to twelve hours. Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the footage, “demonstrated that Michael Jackson was optimistic, engaged, confident, physically well.”
Pastor, who has ruled that snippets of the theatrical version of ‘This Is It,’ can be shown at trial, said it was unnecessary to show other clips. “There are materials which I viewed which I would regard as extremely valuable to Sony,” the judge said. The footage could be used later for extended versions of ‘This Is It.’ Pastor warned Flanagan about speaking publicly about the case, scolding the veteran attorney for discussing evidence during a radio interview that won’t be presented to jurors. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on September 8th.