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Conrad Murray trial: Defense faces setbacks

The defense team for Dr. Conrad Murray faced several setbacks on Tuesday. A motion to introduce an AEG contract was rejected.
October 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The defense team for Dr. Conrad Murray faced several setbacks on Tuesday. The first came when Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor rejected a motion to introduce as evidence a contract between Michael Jackson and AEG.

The defense wanted the contract entered as evidence so that they could use it when questioning AEG CEO and President Randy Phillips.

Get complete coverage of the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

According to the contract, Jackson would have had to foot a bill of $40 million if he had to cancel the show. Pastor denied the motion, saying it would only be a distraction and that Jackson's finances were not on trial.

Another setback came from the defense's own witness, Cherilyn Lee. The nurse practitioner said she treated Jackson with vitamins several months before his death, but he said her natural treatments were not working.

"He said, 'I have a lot of difficulty sleeping. I've tried everything, and what I need is something that's going to help me fall asleep right away, and the only thing that will do that is diprivan,'" Lee said.

Follow @abc7MurrayTrial on Twitter to get the latest updates on the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

Diprivan is another name for the sedative propofol. Lee refused to administer the propofol, a point underscored by the prosecution when it was their turn to question her.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren drove home the point that Jackson had even said himself that while on propofol, he needed to be monitored. Lee testified that Jackson said to her, "I will be OK. I only need someone to monitor me with the equipment while I sleep."

Lee earned her degree in holistic medicine online. Yet, Walgren pointed out the many steps she took to treat Jackson that Murray ignored. She had detailed notes of each visit, checks of vital signs and lab work.

Lee was visibly emotional while testifying. Her testimony turned out to be damaging for the defense, saying Jackson said that he would be fine on propofol if he was monitored.

Prosecutors say Murray is at fault for Jackson's death because he gave him propofol at home and then didn't properly monitor him.

The defense brought up Jackson's deep desire for financial success and a better home for his children. He had a meeting with Phillips, in which the singer told Phillips that he wanted to make a comeback, "so that they weren't, in his words, living like vagabonds," Phillips testified.

"Was he emotional when he discussed this?" Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff asked Phillips.

"It got emotional, yes ... when he was just describing how they had lived, he and the three kids, and that he just really wanted to settle down," Phillips said, adding that both he and Jackson cried.

Phillips also testified that Jackson insisted on having Murray with him on call 24/7 while living in London.

He said executives approached Murray about Jackson's apparent lack of focus at meetings and missed rehearsals.

The defense's questioning suggested Jackson was under enormous pressure to prepare for his unprecedented final performance.

Legal expert George Bird said establishing the amount of stress Jackson was under for the tour doesn't do much for Murray's defense.

"There's no doubt that he was under pressure, there's no doubt that he had missed rehearsals, there's no doubt that he was fatigued, there's no doubt he was taking medication. But given all that, is Dr. Murray criminally responsible?" said Bird.

It's unknown if Murray will take the stand in his own defense.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Prosecutors allege Murray tried to hide the fact that he had been giving propofol to Jackson.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

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

View photos from the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray.


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