Michael Pastor, the Superior Court Judge in the manslaughter trial of Conrad Murry, has issued a gag order for attorneys after a defense counselor appeared on a television show telling details about the case.
“The attorneys for the parties in this case … are ordered not to comment to anyone outside of their respective teams either directly or indirectly regarding any aspects of this case, whether orally or in writing,” Pastor said.
Judge Pastor’s order came at midday on Friday, the fourth day of the widely-watched trial in which prosecutors are trying to prove that Murray, former doctor of the late Michael Jackson, is responsible for the drug overdose that led to the pop icon’s death on June 25, 2009.
“I sat there with my mouth open,” Judge Pastor explained, when recalling the “Today Show” appearance by Matthew Alford, a law partner of the lead defense attorney.
On the show, Alford directly addressed the case, saying his team would keep Murray off the witness stand as long as possible, and that Jackson was addicted to propofol.
Pastor said that Alford’s actions were “shocking,” in light of his continual exhortations not to try Dr. Conrad Murray’s case in the media.
While lead lawyer, Ed Chernoff, argued that even though Alford was part of his law firm, he was not directly a member of Murray’s defense team and therefore, as a private citizen, should be allowed to speak freely, Judge Pastor disagreed, noting that Alford was repeatedly identified as a member of the defense team on the broadcast.
Conrad Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter; the trial is expected to last about five weeks. If he is convicted, he could spend four years in a California prison and lose his medical license.
To hear Alford’s full Today Show comments regarding the high-profile case, skip to the 4:20 mark in the video below:
via Hollywood Reporter