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The Michael Jackson Trial

Jackson attorney may call on stars

Bryant, Taylor cited as potential witnesses

From Miguel Marquez

Michael Jackson arrives at the courthouse in Santa Maria, California, on Monday.
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Both sides are looking for sympathetic jurors.

Michael Jackson's legal problems have taken a toll on his fortune.

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SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Lists of possible witnesses were read to the pool of potential jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case Monday -- including basketball star Kobe Bryant, actress Elizabeth Taylor and family members of Jackson's accuser as potential defense witnesses.

Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau read more than 100 names, including "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, singer Stevie Wonder, CNN interviewer Larry King as well as Jackson's own children -- Paris and Prince Michael.

Prosecutors said they would call a boy who accused Jackson of molesting him in 1993, as well as members of his family and the Los Angeles policeman who investigated those allegations against Jackson. The boy's allegations were settled out of court.

Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, giving the boy alcohol and attempting to hold him and his family captive. They appeared together in a controversial 2003 documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir, whose name is also on the witness list.

In the documentary, Jackson and the boy held hands, and Jackson admitted sleeping with children in his bedroom at his Neverland Ranch -- although he denied there was anything sexual about it.

Bashir is now a correspondent for ABC.

Bryant is on the list because he met Jackson's accuser at the hospital where the boy was being treated for cancer, attorneys said, while Bradley interviewed the boy.

Jury selection resumed Monday with Judge Rodney Melville seeking to seat a panel of 12 jurors and eight alternates. After the jury pool was narrowed to about 250, Melville postponed the process last week due to the death of Mesereau's sister. On Wednesday, he released answers given by prospective jurors on questionnaires. (Full story)

Melville began Monday by addressing a group of 18 potential jurors while scores of others listened from the courtroom gallery.

He started by asking, "How many of you are feeling nervous this morning?" He then said that despite 18 years on the bench he, too, felt nervous.

Melville told the potential jurors to consider the jury selection process something like "a job interview," drawing a laugh from the jury pool.

He excused one potential juror after the man disclosed he had health problems.

After the potential witnesses' names were read, Melville began interviewing individuals in the jury pool, asking questions such as whether they know any "creative people," what their television news sources are and their opinions of child witnesses.

"Children do tell the truth," said one person. But the retired high school counselor later added, "If it benefits them, they might twist it a bit."

Still, the person said, "I came in with an open mind and I plan to keep it that way."

CNN's Dree deClamecy contributed to this report.

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