Manslaughter Trial Of Michael Jackson's Doctor Gets Underway
Opening statements in the case against Conrad Murray, the Houston cardiologist accused of killing music legend Michael Jackson, began Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom. In addition to showing jurors a picture of Jackson strapped to a gurney and playing a tape of Jackson's voice recorded in May 2009, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren argued that Murray's action led to Jackson's death, the LA Times reports.
Charged with involuntary manslaughter, Murray allegedly left Jackson unattended and failed to call 911 when he found Jackson in bed. "Dr. Murray was working for $150,000 a month. He was an employee, he acted as employee. He did not act as a medical professional using sound medical judgment," Walgren said."What happened during that time frame is that the acts and omissions of Michael Jackson's personal doctor Conrad Murray directly led to his premature death at age 50. That misplaced trust in Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life."
Walgren's opening statement brought displays of emotion from Jackson's family, particularly his mother. When Walgren played a recording left on Murray's voice mail to show the King of Pop's downward spiral, Katherine Jackson shed tears from her seat in the courtroom audience. "When people leave my show, I want them to say, `I've never seen nothing like this in my life,"' the slurred voice on the recording said.
While Walgren argued that Murray's negligence included giving Jackson the powerful anesthetic propofol, which was cited as a cause of Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, Murray's defense team said Jackson died immediately from a combination of tranquilizers and propofol he took without Murray's knowledge.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff characterized Murray as a hard-working doctor who worked in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Houston. He said that Murray was trying to wean Jackson from propofol. "The evidence is not going to show you that Michael Jackson died when Dr. Murray gave him propofol to sleep. What the evidence is going to show you is that Michael Jackson died when Dr. Murray stopped," he said.
In addition to Jackson's mother, his father Joe and siblings Janet, Latoya, Jermaine and Randy, were present in the courtroom.
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