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Conrad Murray trial: Final day of pre-trial motions

In this file photo, Dr. Conrad Murray arrives at his clinic in Houston on Nov. 23, 2009. (Pat Sullivan)

September 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lawyers were in court Monday morning for a final day of pre-trial motions in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

It has been two years since the sudden death of the Michael Jackson, but this week, a jury and the public will hear Murray's account of how the pop star died at the age of 50. Murray has pleaded not guilty in the pop star's 2009 death.

Murray is accused of administering a deadly dose of propofol to Jackson and then failing to properly monitor him.

Opening statements in the high-profile trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning. Testimony about the powerful sedative propofol is expected to dominate the case.

The defense will argue that Murray did not administer the fatal dose of propofol. They allege Jackson took the powerful sedative on his own.

"This is a tough case for the prosecution," said J. Christopher Smith, who was on the defense team in the trial of Howard K. Stern. Stern was cleared of conspiracy charges in the death of Anna Nicole Smith. "It's not just a mere negligence standard. They really have to show that (Murray) grossly deviated."

The defense contends Jackson's health was compromised through a history of taking medications. They say there was also pressure to expand his tour from 10 concerts to 50.

"We think that Michael Jackson was involved in certain acts that ended his own life," defense attorney Ed Chernoff told Judge Michael Pastor on Tuesday morning. "We think that he was desperate at the time that he did that."

Pastor denied a request from the defense to show jurors video of Jackson during a press conference announcing the "This is It" tour in London. The defense alleged that Jackson was "under the influence and hung over" at the news conference.

Pastor sided with the defense on the prosecution's request to tell jurors about multiple attempts by authorities to talk to Murray just days after Jackson's death. Defense attorneys argued that Murray could not be blamed for the lack of contact because authorities contacted his attorney, not him.

Pastor agreed but said he would revisit the issue if the defense tried to attack the way police conducted its investigation.

Prosecution will call director and choreographer Kenny Ortega and AEG's co-CEO Paul Gongaware to testify Tuesday because they were in close contact with Jackson before his death.

The Jackson family has taken to Twitter in anticipation of the massive media coverage.

"Let us remember that there have been lies, mud-slinging and rabid TV pundits before and they were defeated by truth," Jermaine Jackson tweeted.

On Friday, a jury of seven men and five women were selected, and half of them are Jackson fans. Five are Hispanic, six are Caucasian and one juror is black. They range in age from 32 to 57.

Trial is expected to last five weeks, with Oct. 28 being the estimated last day.

If convicted, Murray faces four years in prison and lose his medical license.

Watch live stream coverage of the entire trial. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

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