LOS ANGELES – Lawyers for Michael Jackson's doctor and Sony Pictures aired some of their dispute Thursday over release of unused footage from the star's posthumous concert film, "This Is It."
But the judge presiding over the involuntary manslaughter case of Dr. Conrad Murray delayed ruling on the issue, citing confusion about exactly what the defense wants to see.
Lawyers for Sony said the defense request had "changed radically" in recent days, and the entertainment company wanted more time to research the matter and file additional legal briefs.
Sony attorney Gary Bostwick said the subpoena for raw footage has now changed to a request for film from two of Jackson's personal video cameras.
Defense lawyers said earlier they wanted all raw footage of Jackson's rehearsals for what was to have been a live concert in London.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said he was sensitive to whether the request is merely a fishing expedition. He said release of any footage would come with restrictions to prevent it from being disseminated on the Internet and elsewhere.
"If Michael Jackson materials are just out there, there could be amazing consequences for Sony and the Jackson estate," the judge said. "I'm not inclined to order that they just turn them over."
Bostwick added, "We will continue to be very concerned that anything shown in court leaks out and goes viral."
But he acknowledged that once the video becomes a trial exhibit, it will be difficult to keep it secret
Prosecutors plan to use clips from the theatrically released, "This Is It" to show jurors in Murray's trial that Jackson was in good health just before he died.
The defense wants to show otherwise. Those lawyers contend scenes showing Jackson in frail health during rehearsals may have been edited out of the movie.
Lawyers have said there are more than 100 hours of footage from which the movie was culled.
Murray lawyer Ed Chernoff said he learned recently that footage was recorded by Jackson's personal camera crew operating two cameras.
"If it's more than those two cameras, yes, we are asking for all the footage," he said.
Another hearing was set for June 24, just before the second anniversary of Jackson's death.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives. Trial is set for September.
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