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Entries in Conrad Murray (43)

Thursday
Nov032011

Fate of Dr. Conrad Murray, in the Hands of the Jury

Carlo Allegri/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Attorneys on both sides got their last chances to speak to jurors Thursday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor. After a day of impassioned closing arguments and juror instructions, they turned over the case to the jury who will begin deliberations Friday morning.

The prosecution spoke first and last, with the defense delivering closing arguments in between.

Earlier Thursday, prosecutor David Walgren argued his case with a PowerPoint presentation in which he denounced Murray as a selfish and reckless physician who put his own needs ahead of Jackson's and Jackson's children's.

"The evidence in this case is overwhelmingly, abundantly clear that Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence, that Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson, that Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father," Walgren said.

Later, defense attorney Edward Chernoff accused the prosecution's key witness, security guard Alberto Alvarez, of lying in order to tell his story.

"Do you honestly believe when you go home to your families that Alberto isn't going to cash in? Honestly?" Chernoff asked.

Alvarez called 911 and later told police that Murray told him to stash various medicine bottles and a saline bag with a bottle of propofol inside of it. The prosecution alleged it was evidence Murray knew he was in the wrong and tried to cover up his actions -- but the defense had a different take.

"He tells you it's been so hard, and then you learn Alberto has been offered $500,000 for his story. How did Alberto Alvarez go from a story that's worth $9,000 to a story worth half a million dollars?" Chernoff asked. "His story became monumentally more compelling."

Chernoff further tried to discount Alvarez by saying that his fingerprints were never found on the saline bag that he allegedly stashed and that the list of actions he claimed he performed -- including getting Jackson's children out of the room and following Murray's orders to stash the objects -- would have had to been done in about 30 seconds, according to phone records.

"He said, 'I'm efficient.' It's not efficient," Chernoff said. "It's impossible, because he didn't tell the truth."

When prosecutor Walgren got the chance to rebut the defense assertions, he said, "Alberto Alvarez has no position in this case. This has been nothing but a nightmare for him. He told you the truth."

Walgren added that the fact that Alvarez's fingerprints were not on the saline bag does not discount his testimony. He told jurors that fingerprints are not often found -- pointing out that Jackson's fingerprints were not found on the syringe that the defense alleged he used to self-administer the fatal dose of propofol.

Chernoff said Murray was "painted as a villain for everything he does" by the prosecution.

"They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson," he said. "They just won't tell you that."

"His greatest personality defect is his greatest character strength: He got brought into this situation because he thought he could help," Chernoff said. "He was wrong -- because Dr. Murray had no control over this situation. He was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond."

Chernoff argued that Murray truly cared about his patients, as shown by former patients who served as character witnesses, and painted Murray as a caring, devoted doctor.

When prosecutor Walgren took the stage once more for his rebuttal and the final word in the trial, he voiced scorn for the defense's accusations.

"Poor Conrad Murray. Everyone is just working against him," Walgren said.

He accused the defense of trying to place blame for Jackson's death on everyone and anyone except for Murray.

"If allowed more time, I'm sure they would find a way to blame it on Michael's son, Prince," Walgren said. "Everyone is to blame but Conrad Murray."

Walgren ended his rebuttal by saying to the jurors, "I trust and I ask that you return with the only right verdict in this case, and the only just verdict in this case. I ask that you return with a verdict of guilty for involuntary manslaughter based on Conrad Murray's actions and his actions alone."

Earlier Thursday, Walgren delivered a passionate argument and told the court that Jackson's children were left crying in despair and will grow up without their father because of Murray's "gross criminal negligence."

"For them, this case doesn't end today or tomorrow or the next day," he said. "For Michael's children, this case will go on forever because they do not have a father. They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray."

Throughout the presentation, Murray fixed his gaze on the presentation projected on a wall opposite the jury and rarely looked away.

Jackson's children were in the house on June 25, 2009, when Jackson died from a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. As Murray sought help from house staff in Jackson's bedroom, his panicked children were ushered out by a nanny so as not to witness what was happening.

Walgren argued Jackson put great trust in his doctor and said Murray betrayed the relationship of doctor and patient by allowing it to become a relationship between employee and employer.

Walgren argued that Jackson was dedicated to the preparations for his "This Is It" tour, which was slated to occur in London and consisted of 50 shows with a hope for more.

Murray was hired to be Jackson's personal physician for the tour with the main objective of putting Jackson to sleep. He expected to be paid $150,000 a month for at least 10 months, according to a contract Walgren showed in his presentation.

Murray claimed he was trying to wean Jackson off propofol as a sleep aid, and that Jackson's insomnia was exacerbated by an alleged addiction to the painkiller Demerol.

Prosecutors argued that Murray acted recklessly by giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid at Jackson's home without back-up equipment, then botched CPR efforts, did not immediately call 911 and did not keep proper medical records.

Judge Michael Pastor told the five women and seven men on the jury Thursday that in order to acquit Murray of involuntary manslaughter, they must find that Jackson's death was caused by an accident and not reckless behavior.

For the jurors to find Murray guilty, they must unanimously determine that he committed a lawful act with criminal negligence or failed to perform a legal duty with criminal negligence.

If convicted, Murray faces as much as four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.

Over the six weeks of the trial, jurors listened to 49 witnesses over 22 days of testimony. Murray did not testify. Back in the jury room, jurors will have more than 300 exhibits to look over.

The pop star's famous family made regular appearances in court and sat in the gallery, including parents Joe and Katherine Jackson and siblings Janet, Randy, LaToya, Jermaine and Rebbie.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov022011

Report: Conrad Murray Filming and Shopping Documentary

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Conrad Murray is still in the midst of an involuntary manslaughter trial in the death of Michael Jackson, but that reportedly hasn’t stopped the doctor from quietly filming a documentary that’s being offered to major TV networks, the New York Post reports.

Sources tell the newspaper Murray has sold the rights “to his story” to an unidentified production company that has been filming him as the trial progresses.  The source says the company is now shopping the documentary around to various TV networks for $1 million as part of a package deal that would also include a video diary and a sit-down interview with Murray.  It’s not known how much money Murray would get from any deal.

The source tells the Post, “A news division that pays for the documentary will end up with a side deal of getting the sit-down with Conrad.  It’s crafted in such a way for a news division that doesn’t pay for interviews.”

The report says the production company has already filmed a long interview with Murray in case he is found guilty and taken immediately into custody.

The Post says a CNN rep confirmed they were pitched the Murray package but passed on it.  Other sources tell the newspaper NBC is close to making a deal.  A spokesman for Murray's legal team declined to comment on the story.

Murray faces up to four years in prison if found guilty of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol prior to the singer's death in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct312011

Star Witness for Michael Jackson's Doctor Fined for Contempt of Court

Paul Buck-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The key defense witness in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor was held in contempt of court Monday during a tense cross-examination.

Propofol expert and anesthesiologist Dr. Paul White was fined $1,000 for violating the judge's order that he respond directly to questions during the prosecution's cross-examination.

White was fined for referring to information he learned from Dr. Conrad Murray outside of the evidence presented in court. This is not allowed because it is seen as providing Murray a way to testify without being cross-examined.

In a combative exchange, the defense's star witness evaded questions, but was continually pressed by prosecutor David Walgren.

White, who is being paid by Murray's defense team, was forced to admit that Murray should have called 911 sooner, should never have left Jackson alone while treating him with the powerful drug, and that he would never give a patient an inappropriate drug no matter how much he or she wanted it.

White had previously testified that he believes Jackson gave himself a fatal injection of the drug while Murray was out of the room.

The questioning began with a tense back-and-forth during which White admitted it was not normal practice to administer propofol to a patient in a bedroom, like Murray was doing for Jackson to allegedly help him with his insomnia.

When Murray discovered something was wrong with Jackson on June 25, 2009, the day of his death, he made two calls to cellphones before calling 911. When asked if he could justify Murray's "inability to call 911," White said he could not.

"I think he should have called 911 earlier, but I do not think that would have made any difference in the outcome of this case," White said.

White conceded to Walgren, "I would have done things differently. I would have called for help, initiated cardio-pulmonary resuscitation immediately."

When confronted with questions about why Murray did not immediately tell EMS responders that Jackson had been given propofol, White said that in a moment of stress, Murray may have forgotten.

Walgren pointed out that even if Murray had initially forgotten, he had an ambulance ride to the hospital to "ponder" what was happening. At the hospital, however, Murray did not tell emergency room doctors that Jackson had been given propofol.

Walgren said that while it is a possibility that Murray "overlooked" the fact, he asked White if it could also be a possiblity that he lied.

"It's an option, yes," White conceded.

White said that he has so far received a check for $11,000 for his time in court. He said that his usual rate for every day spent in court is about $3,500. He has been in court around 12 days, as both a spectator and as a witness, but said he would not be charging the defense this amount for the days he has been in court.

White is the last witness for Murray, who the prosecution blames for Jackson's death by giving him too much propofol and not properly monitoring Jackson while administering propofol.

The defense team contends that Murray was trying to wean Jackson off of propofol. They allege Jackson wanted propofol because he was suffering from insomnia brought on by withdrawal from the painkiller Demerol.

At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing for his This is It world tour, and exhaustion from that preparation also allegedly contributed to his insomnia.

Though it was originally believed that the case would be handed over to the jury for deliberations this week, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case that the trial may not go to the jury until next week.

Following White's cross-examination, there will likely be two days of rebuttal witnesses and then the judge has agreed to send the jury home to let prosecutors and defense prepare for closing arguments, which could push closing arguments to Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

Addiction Expert Testifies at Conrad Murray Trial 

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Thursday at Conrad Murray's trial in Los Angeles, an addiction expert who said he studied the records of Michael Jackson's dermatologist testified that the singer appeared to be hooked on the painkiller Demerol.

Speaking in general terms about patients who've sought treatment from him, Dr. Robert Waldman said, "Most persons who have addiction and are not in denial about it have tried themselves to discontinue and...have met failure." But during a contentious cross-examination by the prosecution, he acknowledged that he would not likely diagnose a patient like Michael based solely on the medical records he examined in this case.

Later in the day, the defense team's final witness, propofol expert Dr. Paul White, said he could not justify Murray hooking Michael up to an IV drip of the powerful anesthetic and leaving the room -- an accusation that Murray is facing. White said if Murray accurately described to police the amount of propofol he gave Michael, White would not have expected the singer to have died.

The prosecution is not expected to cross-examine White until Monday because it needs time to study a computer program White used to review the case.

Murray is accused of giving Michael a fatal dose of propofol prior to the singer's death. He's pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

More Details Emerge of Michael Jackson's Life

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- The final witness in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor is scheduled to take the stand Thursday in the four week long trial that has shed as much light on Jackson's odd and often secretive life as it did on his untimely death.

In the last days of the trial, Jackson was heard complaining about his wandering life that had taken him from his Neverland Ranch to Bahrain, France and back to a series of homes in California.

He told Brandon "Randy" Phillips, CEO of AEG Live and the promoter for Jackson's "This Is It" tour, that he was tired of making his three children live like "vagabonds."

Jackson, who was preparing for a 31-show concert tour, was approached by Phillips about extending the tour to 50 shows, Phillips told the jury.

The king of pop quickly replied that he would consider the expanded schedule under a couple of conditions. One of those conditions was that he be provided with an estate outside of London with 16-plus acres, running streams, and horses, Phillips said.

"The primary reason was that he wanted to finally settle down and get a really, really good home for the kids so they weren't living like vagabonds. He was tired of living like that," Phillips said.

One thing that didn't change about the flamboyant Jackson was his desire to be recognized. His other condition was to have the Guinness Book of Records be present at his 50th concert, "because he knew this was a feat that no performer would ever be able to beat," the AEG executive said.

Earlier in the trial, other revelations emerged ranging from how Jackson slept with a urinary catheter each night to his use of oxygen tanks, skin-bleaching creams, his use of aliases and his refusal to use telephones.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the defense testimony shored up Dr. Conrad Murray's claim that Jackson was responsible for his own death by allegedly giving himself a dose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol while Murray was out of the room on June 25, 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

Conrad Murray's Former Patients Testify He Is a Good Doctor

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Conrad Murray was emotional at his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles Wednesday, dabbing his eyes as former patients of his testified that he was a caring doctor.

The patients' statements were part of the defense team's strategy to paint Michael Jackson's doctor as a quality cardiologist unmotivated by money.

One of the patients, Gerry Causey, said Murray treated him for a heart attack 11 years ago and that they are close friends.  He said he was drawn to Murray because of "the way he cares for you and the way he makes you feel, his concern and the love he has for you."

Another patient, Andrew Guest, said he agreed to talk to the media about Murray because he wanted to show his support for the doctor.

Guest said, "I appreciate his kindness, his caring and I'm alive today because of that man."

Murray is accused of giving Jackson a fatal dose of propofol prior to the singer's death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct262011

Nurse, Concert Promoter Testify at Conrad Murray's Trial

Dr. Conrad Murray pictured on right. David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Michael Jackson's holistic nurse testified Tuesday at Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial in Los Angeles; the caregiver claims the singer asked for the powerful anesthetic propofol two months before he died in June of 2009.

Cherilyn Lee said she warned him that the drug was too dangerous to use at home, but he countered that it would be safe if a doctor monitored him while he slept.

Randy Phillips, an executive with concert promoter AEG, which organized Michael's planned This Is It concerts in London, also took the stand Tuesday.  He said Jackson had requested a London estate where he could stay, with running streams and horses.  Phillips said the King of Pop also asked for the services of Murray, whom Phillips said Jackson had "great trust in."

Phillips said there were concerns over Jackson's health in the weeks before he died, but Murray assured him the entertainer would be fine.

Murray, who's accused of giving Jackson a fatal dose of propofol prior to the singer's death, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct222011

Conrad Murray Defense Attacks Witness' Theory on Michael Jackson's Death

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Dr. Conrad Murray's defense Friday attacked a key prosecution witness' scenario on how Murray could have been responsible for the death of singer Michael Jackson.

But in a sidebar session, it was a prospective witness for Murray's defense who was under attack. The witness was excoriated by Judge Michael Pastor for apparently denouncing either a prosecution witness or a prosecutor as a "scumbag" within earshot of reporters -- an act that could be in contempt of court.

The prosecution witness, Dr. Steven Shafer, an anesthesiologist affiliated with Columbia University, has testified in recent days that Murray most likely hooked up Jackson to an IV drip containing the anesthetic propofol and then left the singer unattended.

Shafer added Friday that even if Jackson was able to start the IV drip on his own, Murray would still be responsible for the death.

"If Michael Jackson had reached up, seeing the roller clamp, and opened [it] himself, this is a foreseeable consequence of setting up a dangerous way of giving drug [and] is in no way exculpatory for the fact that Dr. Murray was not present and permitted this to happen," Shafer said.

But then the defense took its shots, questioning whether Shafer was using medical knowledge or actually doing investigative work beyond his expertise when he came up with his theory on Jackson's death.

"Everything you said in the last two days was your opinion," defense attorney Ed Chernoff told Shafer at one point. "You do understand that, right? Do you understand that?"

Shafer's theory relied on Murray using a vented IV -- which would let air into the propofol bottle, allowing it to drip.

However, Chernoff noted, there was no such vented IV line found in the bedroom where Jackson was discovered unconscious.

As Shafer demonstrated Thursday how Murray could have administered propofol to Jackson, E! reported, Murray could be heard whispering loudly to the possible witness, Dr. Paul White, "Can you believe that?" At which point, according to E!, White turned to journalists and said, "What a scumbag."

It was unclear whether White was referring to Shafer or prosecutor David Walgren.

On Friday, outside of the presence of jurors, Judge Pastor set a Nov. 16 hearing to determine whether White should be held in contempt of court.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct212011

Does Photo Prove Michael Jackson Could Not Have Injected Himself?

ABC News Exclusive(LOS ANGELES) -- A photo of Michael Jackson obtained exclusively by ABC News may help illustrate that the late pop singer could not have injected himself with that fatal dose of propofol.

Taken by Jackson’s business associates in 2003, the photo vividly demonstrates the reaction Jackson had to multiple needle punctures, making it difficult for doctors to find a suitable vein for medical injections.

“Michael Jackson did not have good veins, in fact they were so poor he had to start this IV in a vein below the left knee,” Dr. Steven Shafer, the prosecution’s star witness, testified Thursday. “So the possibility of direct self injection seems extremely unlikely … You would not want to inject into a vein and miss because that would be extremely painful.”

In court Thursday, the prosecution hammered away at the defense’s contention that Jackson killed himself by self-injecting propofol, pointing to a medical condition they said made self-injection nearly impossible. The relentless attack was apparently designed to prove that Dr. Conrad Murray lied to police about how much propofol he gave the sleep-deprived singer.

A visibly-angry Murray sat and listened to the prosecution’s expert witness for the third straight court day.

Shafer also emphasized one of the prosecution themes: even if the jury believes the defense’s claim that it was Jackson who desperately grabbed and injected propofol into his own body, Murray is still at fault.

“He is a physician who has brought propofol into the room, started an intravenous, and provided access to propofol to a patient who may, in fact, be developing a dependency on sedatives,” Shafer said. “And, he has been entrusted by Michael Jackson to look after his safety every night. He is responsible for every drop of propofol in that room.”

The defense cross examined Shafer Friday and is expected to begin its case Monday.


ABC News Exclusive
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct202011

Conrad Murray Trial: Propofol Not Fatal When Taken Orally, Expert Says

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- An expert on the anesthetic that killed Michael Jackson testified Thursday that ingesting propofol orally is not fatal.

The prosecution’s final witness, Dr. Steven Shafer from Columbia University, testified that he personally conducted a clinical study that demonstrated that propofol is not absorbed through the stomach and that it is ineffective as an anesthetic when taken orally.

Shafer said it is not fatal when ingested through the mouth as the liver and stomach lining filters the potency from the drug.

The prosecution hammered away at the defense’s contention that Jackson killed himself by self-injecting propofol.

Assistant District Attorney David Walgren asked Shafer, “There was zero possibility this was the cause of Michael Jackson’s death?”

“Correct” answered Shafer.

Shafer said the only workable scenario he can work out that explains how Jackson died is that he was on an IV drip of propofol and did not separately inject himself with the drug.

Earlier, Shafer testified that given the condition of Michael Jackson’s veins and that he was already sedated by Murray, it would be highly be unlikely the singer could wake up and Murray could somehow find a useable vein.

“It is very clearly explained in Dr. Murray’s interview that Michael Jackson did not have good veins, in fact they were so poor he had to start this IV in a vein below the left knee.” Shafer said. “So the possibility of direct self-injection seems extremely unlikely...you would not want to inject into a vein and miss because that would be extremely painful.”

Intense cross-examination of Shafer by the defense could last well into Friday and the defense is expected to present its case.

The defense’s plan includes presenting 15 witnesses to testify on Murray’s character and his side of the medical case.

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