[b]Jackson jury selection completed[/b] Opening statements in trial of pop star set for Monday Thursday, February 24, 2005 Posted: 4:51 PM EST (2151 GMT) SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) — Jury selection has been completed in Michael Jackson’s trial on child molestation charges, clearing the way for opening statements to begin Monday, the presiding judge announced Thursday. Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville also announced that he will release transcripts of grand jury proceedings against the pop star once the jury is seated. Lawyers selected a four-man, eight-woman jury Wednesday and chose eight alternate jurors — four men and four women — early Thursday afternoon, Melville said. The oldest juror is a 79-year-old woman; the youngest, a 20-year-old man. (More on the 12 main jurors) Wednesday’s announcement that a jury had been seated was a surprise. Jury selection began January 31 with hundreds of prospective jurors. Analysts had thought picking a jury would extend into March. The jury selection process was interrupted for a week after the death of the sister of Jackson’s lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., and for a week when Jackson became ill and was hospitalized for the flu. He was released last week. … With jury selection complete, opening statements are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday (11:30 a.m. ET). CNN’s Dree DeClamecy contributed to this report. Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/02/24/jackson.jury.picked/index.html

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