I've read that Michael Jackson's kids want to testify in the Conrad Murray trial. Can they just walk into the courtroom because they're celebrities?
—Tara, via the inbox
The Los Angeles Superior Court does not operate like bottle service at Drai's. You can't just walk up to the velvet rope and say, "Don't you know who I am?"
The velvet rope at the courthouse is actually a metal detector, there are no bouncers who will wave you in, and even if Michael Jackson himself returned from the grave tomorrow, he might find himself sitting on the courthouse steps:
Here's what I can tell you.
According to Radar, Jackson kids Prince and Paris have told their grandmother they want in on the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial. Murray, of course, is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with the death of Jackson, who passed away after an overdose of the drug propofol.
When I first looked into the possibility of the kids testifying, the answer was very clear: no. Both prosecutors and the defense told me they had no plans to call any of the kids to take the stand in this matter. Neither Prince, nor Paris, nor Blanket appears on either side's witness list, and that's crucial, attorneys tell me today.
"They cannot just muscle their way in," says Stephen Smith, managing partner at the law firm Greenberg Glusker. "They would need the consent of at least one of the lawyers, for either the prosecutor or defense, and also and the consent of the court, the judge."
And before anybody could get that, they'd have to explain why the kids were a last-minute addition to the lineup. After all, if the kids had seen anything truly crucial on the day of their father's death, they would have been placed on a witness list months ago.
Conversely, if the kids don't have anything important to say, there's no need to waste a judge's time. People, even VIP people, generally do not get to testify before a court unless they're invited. Technically, the ghost of M.J. could appear at the bench and the bailiff could kick him out if he wasn't on the witness list.
"People can't just testify because, you know, they miss their daddy, or they think what happened to their dad is bad," Smith says.
Even if the trial results in a sentence for Dr. Murray—it may, it may not—the kids probably wouldn't take the stand, defense attorney Ellyn Garofalo tells me.
"I've never seen it happen in a case like this," she tells me. "It's not like this is a death penalty case."
Indeed, it is, instead, merely a very high-profile case, one that will get plenty of attention no matter who takes the stand.
E! Online will be livestreaming the trial, starting Tuesday at 8 a.m. PT