Court TV seeks to televise a Michael Jackson trial

December 25, 1993|By Tom Jicha | Tom Jicha,Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Michael Jackson said Wednesday he is hoping for a speedy trial so he can clear his reputation of allegations he has molested young boys. If and when the entertainer gets his day in court, video voyeurs might be able to follow almost every minute of the proceedings.

Steven Brill, chief executive officer and editor of Court TV, said his network "would seek to cover [a Jackson trial] if it happens."

Court TV would be interested in either a criminal or civil trial. The civil trial brought on behalf of a 13-year-old boy is tentatively scheduled to start in March. No criminal charges have been brought against Mr. Jackson.

California permits TV cameras in the courtroom. Court TV helped turn the lengthy Menendez brothers murder trial into a daily alternative to soap operas for millions of viewers. That there are minors involved in the Jackson case, however, complicates matters.

Mr. Brill said he is not certain that cameras will be permitted in the courtroom, but he hopes Court TV's record for discretion and responsibility will help gain TV access.

"The [California] rules are unclear when there are children involved," Mr. Brill said. "However, we would explain to the judge that it is our policy not to use the names and faces of minors."

At the first prominent court proceeding in the cable network's brief history, the Palm Beach rape trial of William Kennedy Smith, Court TV used a blue dot to shield the identity of Patricia Bowman, who after the trial allowed the release of her name.

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