Lawyers for Michael Jackson's doctor filed an emergency 11th hour appeal Friday seeking to overturn a judge's refusal to sequester jurors in Dr. Conrad Murray's upcoming trial.
Attorneys also asked to halt the start of jury selection on Sept. 8 until the issue of sequestration is decided by California's Second District Court of Appeals.
Murray is accused of giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol in his home just before the pop star's 2009 death. Jackson was said to be suffering from insomnia and was desperate for sleep.
In a 28-page petition filed just before the long Labor Day weekend, lawyers challenged a recent ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor in which he expressed faith in jurors' ability to ignore publicity about the high profile case.
Attorneys Nareg Gourjian and Edward Chernoff said in their petition that jurors would be poisoned by publicity unless they were placed in a hotel during Murray's trial. They acknowledged that their request was extraordinary, but said Jackson's legacy as one of the biggest celebrities in the world would feed extensive news coverage of the trial.
They predicted that jurors will be inundated with reports in supermarkets, bars, gyms and coffee shops and on the Internet.
"News organizations have planned sets overlooking the courthouse as if they were preparing for the Rose Bowl," the attorneys said in the petition.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said they would have no comment on the petition.
Four pages of the appeal were devoted to the recently concluded Casey Anthony trial in Florida and the CNN commentary of Nancy Grace, who attorneys said campaigned for Anthony's conviction. Defense attorneys predicted similarly opinionated commentary on the Murray trial.
"There is sincere danger that a well-meaning juror will be more impressed with an 'expert' on television than one presented by the parties at trial," the petition said.