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Judge orders Jackson doctor to stand trial

January 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge on Tuesday ordered Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician of Michael Jackson, to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter after hearing testimony that Murray administered a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic and other sedatives, then left the singer alone.Murray's attorneys have argued that Murray did not give Jackson anything that would have killed him.

The six-day preliminary hearing before Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor to determine if Murray should go to trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.

Pastor also granted a request by the California Medical Board to suspend Murray's license to practice in the state.

The coroner who performed Jackson's autopsy testified earlier that the pop star's death would have been deemed a homicide even if the star gave himself propofol.

Christopher Rogers, chief of forensic medicine for the Los Angeles County coroner, was questioned by a lawyer for Murray, J. Michael Flanagan.

Flanagan suggested that Jackson could have swallowed the drug, which is meant to be administered intravenously. Rogers said it wouldn't have made a difference in his homicide finding because of inadequate care by Murray.

Flanagan's inquiry was the first hint of how the defense plans to counter the involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray. He suggested that Jackson could have injected himself intravenously while Murray was out of the room.

In court Monday, the detective who interviewed Murray two days after the pop star's death gave his testimony.

Murray told police that Jackson begged for propofol and he complained that he might have to cancel rehearsals and upcoming shows if he didn't get some sleep.

Martinez said Murray had been giving Jackson the surgical anesthetic every night for two months and was trying to wean him off the drug.

The King of Pop could not fall asleep in the early morning hours of June 25, 2009. Murray told police that he gave Jackson doses of sedatives. Hours later at 10:40 a.m., Jackson was still awake, so Murray gave him a 25 milligram dose of propofol - half his usual dose.

At that point, Murray said he watched Jackson fall asleep and left the room.

Phone records show that Murray contacted Jackson's insurance company to dismiss reports about the singer's frail health.

Witnesses for the prosecution testified that Murray was on his phone for about 40 minutes, and when he went back into Jackson's room, Murray realized that the singer was not breathing. Murray told the detective he was "stunned."

Murray said he immediately tried to save Jackson, but he told Martinez that he did not call 911 himself because he did not want to neglect Jackson.

Paramedics would not be called until 12:21 p.m., and Murray was making calls for much of the 11 o'clock hour, according to phone records presented.

The Jackson family had been in court hearing the painful testimony. Fans were also very interested in the preliminary hearing because they wanted Murray charged with murder and not involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors used phone records and testimony from police, paramedics and Murray's current and former girlfriends to try to show Murray was on the phone throughout the morning of Jackson's death, even after administering propofol to the singer.

Pastor also denied a request by the prosecution to raise Murray's bail. The judge said it will stand at $75,000 because Murray is not a flight risk.

If Murray is found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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