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First Stage of Jury Selection Completed in Michael Jackson Case

The first stage of jury selection in the child molestation trial of pop superstar Michael Jackson has been completed.

Judge Rodney Melville ended the initial questioning Tuesday after selecting 250 candidates. When they return to court next Monday, the candidates will fill out a seven-page questionnaire designed to help the judge and lawyers whittle the group down to 12 members and eight alternates.

Jackson is accused of sexually molesting a teenage boy, then 13, now 15, at the singer's Neverland ranch in the southern California town of Santa Maria.

The singer has pleaded not guilty and predicted he will be acquitted.

In 1993 Jackson paid $23.3 million to settle a child-molestation case out of court.

Some information for this eport provided by AP, Reuters and AFP.