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Stage Is Set For Jackson's Return

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After two weeks of delays, Michael Jackson was expected back in court Tuesday as lawyers prepared to resume selecting a jury in the child molestation case against the pop star.

Jury selection was abruptly suspended last week when Jackson was rushed to an emergency room with "flu-like" symptoms. The 46-year-old pop star was treated and released Wednesday.

CBS News has been told Jackson is not feeling 100 percent better, but he is expected to return to court Tuesday.

The week before, jury selection was delayed by the death of lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau's sister.

Judge Rodney Melville will try to get proceedings back on track Tuesday when jury selection was to resume. He insisted on speaking with Jackson's doctors to confirm that the pop star had the flu.

Of 242 potential candidates, attorneys will eventually select 12 jurors and eight alternates. Each side can challenge an unlimited number of jurors for any signs of bias and reject 10 jurors without cause.

Lawyers from both sides, along with the judge, will ask prospective jurors a wide variety of questions, including what they know about the case, their opinions about Jackson, and whether they can judge the case fairly, reports CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman.

Jackson is charged with molesting a teenage boy who was a former cancer patient and plying him with alcohol at his Neverland Ranch. He also is accused of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Last week, Mesereau asked prospective jurors about their interest in the arts, their feelings toward Jackson and whether they believed young witnesses could be encouraged to lie.

Mesereau also offered a star-studded list of more than 300 possible witnesses in the case, including Kobe Bryant, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Jay Leno.

The defense was expected to argue that the mother of Jackson's 15-year-old accuser has told him to lie.

The day after his illness postponed jury selection, Jackson waved from his hospital window before he went home, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales. That might have made his fans happy, but observers say it won't help the singer where it counts.

"If these jurors believe Michael Jackson manufactured this illness for the purposes of delaying this trial, then he takes a credibility hit," said CBS News Legal Analyst Trent Copeland, "and remember, this whole trial is about credibility."

Now the court's credibility is in trouble. Judge Rodney Melville ordered all grand jury testimony sealed until the trial starts, but hundreds of leaked pages have been posted on the Internet.

"Clearly, someone is violating the law, and the timing of this is awfully suspect," said Copeland.

Several media organizations authenticated the documents, which detail the damaging, one-sided case prosecutors made against Jackson before the grand jury.

"I think this judge's reaction, who has been obsessively concerned with secrecy, will be beyond outrage," said Copeland.

Melville had allowed Michael Jackson to release an unusual public statement last month in response to other leaks of that transcript. What action the judge will take in court Tuesday, if any, is unknown.

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.