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Jackson rehearsal footage nixed for doctor's trial

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Raw film footage of Michael Jackson rehearsing a planned concert in the days before his death will not be shown to the jury in the upcoming trial of his personal doctor, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Monday.

Prosecutors wanted to show some 12 hours of unedited footage from the "This Is It" movie about Jackson in a bid to demonstrate that the "Thriller" singer was healthy and in good form before he died of a drug overdose in June 2009.

Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with being responsible for Jackson's death after giving him a dose of the anesthetic propofol, are expected to argue at trial that "This Is It," which was released after the pop star's death, was not a true picture of his health in his final days.

Sony Pictures, the studio that released the documentary film, argued that showing the never-before-seen footage in a public court might hurt its potential commercial value. The studio said it screened more than 100 hours of raw footage for the attorneys and the judge in the case.

Judge Michael Pastor made the ruling on Monday, concluding that it would not help the defense and that "it was a waste of my time."

The jury will, however, be shown clips that were used in the movie showing Jackson rehearsing for a series of comeback concerts in London.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson, 50, at his rented Los Angeles mansion. He faces up to four years prison if convicted at a trial that is scheduled to begin in September.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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