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Judge Refuses To Sequester Jury In Trial Of Dr. Conrad Murray

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Aug. 25 2011, Updated 2:15 p.m. ET

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By Jen Heger - Radar Legal Editor

Los Angeles Judge Michael Pastor has formally denied Dr. Conrad Murray's defense team motion to sequester the jury at his upcoming involuntary manslaughter trial in connection with the death of Michael Jackson, RadarOnline.com has confirmed.

The stunning decision was made at a pre-trial hearing Thursday morning as Murray's attorney Ed Chernoff vehemently argued that his client's right to a fair trial would be compromised if the jury was not sequestered.

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The judge said that the cost to sequester the jury would exceed over $500k, and that juries that are sequestered often feel like inmates themselves, and are emotionally cut off from their families.

Judge Pastor said he would admonish the jury to not watch or read any coverage about the case once the jury was formally impaneled. The DA's office didn't think the jury should be sequestered either. The defense stated in their motion that the cost of not sequestering the jury could result in a mistrial at any point because of an increased risk of juror misconduct, which would result in a new trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on September 8, and could take about three weeks.

If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Dr. Murray could be sentenced up to four years in state prison.

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