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The Jackson 12

Well ahead of schedule, a jury was selected Wednesday for the child molestation trial of pop star Michael Jackson.

"We have a jury," Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville announced.

The panel consists of four men and eight women, ranging in age from 20 to 79. The racial and ethnic breakdown appeared to be: seven whites, four Hispanics and one Asian.

After the jury was sworn in, attorneys moved on to selection of eight alternate jurors.

Jury selection had been expected to last several weeks, but took only five court days, which were interrupted by a one-week break due to the death of an attorney's sister and another one-week break because Jackson was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

Among the jurors were a woman who said her grandson was required to register as a sexual offender because of a crime; a woman who said she was related to the pilot of Flight 93, one of the planes that went down on Sept. 11; a 20-year-old man who likes "The Simpsons" TV show; and a man who is interested in Western art and country music.

One of the jurors had been asked during selection if he recognized celebrity witnesses in the case including self-help guru Deepak Chopra. He responded, "I think he's a rapper."

"This is considerably faster than I think anyone anticipated," said CBS News Legal Analyst Trent Copeland. "Remember, the jury selection phase is probably the most important process the court has to undertake."

Both sides had the choice to reject 10 jurors each without explanation. The defense cut six Tuesday and the prosecution five.

The judge had put a limit on the amount of time lawyers could question individual jurors, reports CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman, adding that opening statements could begin next week.

Along with three jurors who were removed by mutual agreement and six jurors the judge dismissed at their requests, 20 prospective panelists were gone by the end of the day.

The five jurors rejected by prosecutors included a man who said during questioning that he was a "karaoke junkie" and Jackson fan and a woman who once did a cheerleading routine to one of Jackson's songs.

Among the jurors dismissed by the defense were a man who has several sheriff's deputies as friends, and two mothers of young children. One has a friend in law enforcement and another's mother works for the Santa Barbara County district attorney's office.

"It would have been kind of cool and interesting to be on the jury, but I have a life outside of this," said Jerry Gallant, who was dismissed by the defense.

Each side used its peremptory challenges — challenges for which no reason needs to be given. The defense did object to one of the prosecution's peremptory challenges to an African American woman, one of the few black prospective jurors. Futterman reports the defense apparently accused the prosecution of removing her from jury because she is black.

Jury selection was delayed twice — first by the death of lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr.'s sister two weeks ago and then Jackson's highly publicized trip to the hospital last week with "flu-like" symptoms.

Judge Rodney S. Melville welcomed jurors back Tuesday by assuring them the delays were real, and were not delaying tactics by the defense.

"Mr. Jackson really was sick. He really did have the flu. I talked to his doctor," Melville said. "I wouldn't let anyone take advantage of us that way."

In court Tuesday, Jackson at first appeared still ill, staring into space. As the day wore on he watched the proceedings intently, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

The 46-year-old singer is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, plying him with alcohol, and conspiring to hold him and his family captive.

More famous names were added to the witness list Tuesday, including singer Smokey Robinson, former child star Macaulay Culkin and Eddie Murphy.

"Our sources are telling us that the mother of the alleged victim contacted Eddie Murphy on several occasions," said Jackson biographer and CBS News legal consultant J. Randy Taraborrelli. "It does show that the mother had a laundry list of celebrities that she was trying to introduce her son to."

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