Trial Underway for ‘King of Pop’ Doctor

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 12:38 pm (UTC-5)
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The trial for the doctor charged in connection with the death of pop star Michael Jackson is underway in a Los Angeles courtroom.

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.

In an opening statement, the prosecution said Jackson trusted Murray with his life, and that his misplaced trust led to the pop star's death.

The so-called King of Pop 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.

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

Murray's attorneys have said Jackson caused his own death by taking an extra dose of propofol while the doctor was out of his room.

Hundreds of people – many of them fans of the so-called King of Pop – have gathered outside the Los Angeles Superior Court for the proceedings. Some of Jackson's family members, including his parents, are expected to attend. The proceedings are also scheduled to be broadcast live on television.

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

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.