Doctor’s Defense: Michael Jackson Caused His Own Death

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 2:48 pm (UTC-5)
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The attorney for the doctor charged in connection with the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson says the singer's own actions led to his death.

Doctor Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson the powerful anesthetic propofol and then failing to properly monitor the singer's health. But Murray's attorney told the jury Tuesday Murray had refused to give Jackson the medication.

He said Jackson took the propofol himself and overdosed, dying so quickly “he didn't even have time to close his eyes.”

In his opening statement, prosecutor David Walgren accused Murray of abandoning the so-called King of Pop in his time or need. He said Murray was driven by greed and an arrangement to pay him $150,000 month.

Walgren also played a tape of Jackson made weeks before his death. Jackson is barely audible and his words are slurred.

A photograph of the pop star laying on a gurney was shown during the entirety of Walgren's opening statement.

Court documents show Jackson referred to the anesthetic as “milk.” Prosecutors have said Murray gave Jackson the lethal dose and lacked the equipment that could have saved Jackson's life.

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

The singer died suddenly at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009, at his rented mansion in Los Angeles. Murray had been giving Jackson propofol to help him sleep, even though the drug was not approved for use as a sleeping aid.

Hundreds of people – many of them Jackson fans – have gathered outside the Los Angeles Superior Court for the proceedings. Some of Jackson's family members, including his parents and his sisters, Janet and La Toya, were in the courtroom for the proceedings, which are also being broadcast live on television.

Officials have said they expect the trial to take about five weeks. The verdict will be decided by a jury of seven men and five women.

At the time of his death, Jackson had been preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London.

One of the first witnesses the prosecution plans to call to testify is Kenny Ortega. Ortega was Jackson's friend and the choreographer for the concerts. He had been rehearsing with Jackson in the days before his death.

Apart from the criminal trial, Jackson's father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the Nevada doctor of lying to the doctors and paramedics trying to save the singer's life.