Who Killed Michael Jackson: Conrad Murray Trial Underway

Posted September 28, 2011 in Criminal Law by Arthur Buono

Just when you thought you knew everything. The involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, kicked off yesterday. Although the prosecution (and many people) think, "he did it," Murray’s lawyers beg to differ.

 

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Murray’s Defense: Jackson Killed Himself

Confirming speculation, in their opening argument, Murray’s lawyers said Jacko gave himself a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol. This, they said, was on top of eight tablets of the anti-anxiety drug, lorazepam, he’d just taken.

Murray’s lawyers also want to shift the blame to another of Jackson’s doctors. They say Arnold Klein, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, got Jackson hooked on the powerful painkiller Demerol. It was only to ease the side effects of withdrawal from that drug that Murray gave Jackson popofol, they say.

Prosecutors Having Two Bites at the Conviction Apple?

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Earlier, the prosecution in its opening statement played for the jury a recording of Jackson made with Murray’s iPhone. The prosecution says it shows a drugged-out Jackson talking about the upcoming tour and what he’d do with the proceeds of it. Prosecutors accused Murray of ordering more drugs for Jackson despite what the recording reveals of his then-impaired condition.

The prosecution contends Murray administered the fatal dose of propofol. It also says Murray ignored his professional medical responsibility in medicating Jackson. They say Murray did so in order to keep his job as Jackson’s "concert doctor" with its $150,000 per month salary.

With these allegations, the prosecution has two chances for a conviction. A jury could find Murray caused Jackson’s death by actually giving him the fatal dose. On the other hand, should the jury not find enough evidence of this, it may still find Murray caused Jackson’s death by making these drugs available to him. We’ll keep you posted as the evidence unfolds.

Art Buono co-authors the Lawyers.com blog.

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