Grand Jury Hears Jackson Case
A grand jury has convened in Los Angeles to hear evidence in the Michael Jackson molestation case.
But an order that restricts reporters covering the activities of the grand jury has prompted a group of nine news organisations to appeal against what they call an infringement on the "First Amendment of the press".
Representing them is lawyer Ted Boutrous, who said: "While there is a tradition of grand jury secrecy, the Supreme Court of the United States has recognised that it must be balanced against other constitutional rights".
The appeal to lift the restrictions preventing journalists photographing jurors or witnesses outside the courthouse was subsequently met by the state's Court of Appeals. But the amended order also added restrictions, forbidding anyone to communicate with or photograph any minor called to testify.
A grand jury's proceedings are usually confidential, while it hears evidence in private and decides whether a trial is necessary. Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon is taking evidence to a grand jury to avoid pre-trial evidence being heard in public.
Jackson, who denies charges of child molestation, is not expected to take the witness stand.