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Judge delays Jackson doctor trial

The doctor charged over the death of pop megastar Michael Jackson has agreed to delay opening statements in the case until May.

Conrad Murray consented to the postponement after his lawyers and prosecutors said they could be ready for trial by then, a transcript of a closed session meeting shows.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Michael Pastor has repeatedly sparred in recent weeks with Murray's lawyers about why they had not turned over more notes on witnesses and other potential evidence to prosecutors in advance of the trial.

The judge announced opening statements would begin on May 9 after he met Murray in closed session, his lawyers and prosecutors said.

Murray told the judge he did not want to abandon his right to a speedy trial but would agree to the delay if the screening of prospective jurors began as scheduled on March 24.

The judge agreed, saying he did not want to lose a jury pool and that a month-long delay might allow potential jurors to re-arrange their schedules for a trial that could last up to two months.

The Houston, Texas-based cardiologist, who has been seeking a quick trial because of financial difficulties, told Judge Pastor he understood the delay was necessary to allow both sides to better prepare for trial.

Murray denies involuntary manslaughter over the death of Jackson, 50, in June 2009.

Prosecutors say Murray gave the singer a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol, which is normally administered in hospital settings. One of Murray's lawyers, Michael Flanagan, has said one possible defence is the singer drank propofol, which is generally given through an IV drip.

Judge Pastor set a status hearing for March 9.

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