LaToya Jackson is continually tweeting from the courtroom alleging sinister conspiracies about Michael’s death, tabloid television serves up “gavel-to-gavel” coverage followed by hours of histrionic “expert” analysis, and gossip websites churn out speculation round-the-clock. Amid all the froth and fury, Judge Michael Pastor is trying to prevent the prosecution of Michael’s personal physician for involuntary manslaughter degenerating into trial by Internet and innuendo. Each day, in the ninth floor Los Angeles courtroom, he painstakingly repeats his instruction to the jury not to look at popular online sites or follow the media. On Friday, he angrily lectured lawyers at the trial that they should not speak publicly about the case after a partner of the Defense lawyer criticised a witness and discussed trial strategy on a television show.
In the first major celebrity trial since social media, and most notably Twitter, gained such dominance, it has been particularly challenging for Judge Pastor to keep the circus at bay.