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OTRC: Conrad Murray trial: Closing arguments

Nov. 3, 2011:Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray appears at his involuntary manslaughter trial.

Attorneys have made their closing arguments in the the trial of Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

NOTE: You can watch the proceedings online: OnTheRedCarpet.com is hosting a LIVE STREAM of the Conrad Murray trial, which began in late September.

Murray, a Grenada-born cardiologist, had treated Jackson for years and gave the King of Pop medications, namely the anesthetic propofol, during the hours before his death on June 25, 2009 in what he says was an attempt to treat his insomnia. The doctor has pleaded not guilty to the single count of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutor David Walgren began his closing argument on Thursday, November 3, by telling the jurors that they are to decide whether Murray "acted with gross negligence or criminal negligence in his treatment of Michael Jackson and constituted a "substantial factor" in the King of Pop's death. The verdict set to be made by the jurors must be unanimous.

"Conrady Murray looked out for himself and himself alone," he said. "Conrad Murray is criminally guilty of involuntary manslaughter. I will be asking that you return with the verdict of guilty. Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson. Conrad Murray abandoned Michael Jackson. Conrad Murray gave him propofol and abandoned him. Conrad Murray is criminally liable. Justice demands a guilty verdict."

Walgren also mentioned Jackson's three children - Prince, Paris and Blanket.

"For them, this case doesn't end today, tomorrow or the next day," he said. "For Michael Jackson's children, this case will go on forever because they do not have a father. They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray. If he felt so much for his wellfare, then I would say this: Actions speak far louder than words."

Walgren spoke for about 90 minutes. Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, then began his closing argument.

"If Dr. Murray did what he said he did, there was no danger to Michael Jackson," the attorney said. "It doesn't matter whether you leave the room and you go outside and play basketball or you leave the house and make phone calls. Dr. Murray did not kill Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson cannot die from what Dr. Murray did. I hope that you do the right thing and find Dr. Murray not guilty."

Autopsy results show that Jackson died at age 50 from an overdose of propofol, a powerful anesthetic that the singer referred to as his "milk," and other sedatives. Murray, who was set to be paid $150,000 a month to become his doctor, had administered the drugs to Jackson in the hours before his death. The singer had suffered a cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Murray's attorneys say the dose of propofol he gave was too low to be fatal. They say Jackson was addicted to the drug and injected himself with more of it and also swallowed several anti-anxiety pills while the doctor was away from his bedside.

"What (the prosecution is) really asking you to do is to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson," Chernoff said.

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and Murray, who had maintained clinics in Houston and Las Vegas, could also lose his medical license.

After lawyers finish making their closing arguments, the jurors, made up of seven men and five women, are set to begin deliberations on the case.

They are expected to then signal they have reached a verdict by having a buzzer pressed three times. The judge is then set to announce that the jurors are expected to soon announce formally that a decision has been reached on the case. Approximately two hours afterwards, the verdict is expected to be read in court.


Chernoff told the jury that Murray's "greatest personality defect is his greatest character strength," adding that the doctor was "brought into this situation because he thought he could help ... Michael Jackson sleep normally. "He was wrong. Because Dr. Murray had no control over the situation because of what was happening in the background. He was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond."

It's easy in hindsight to say he's a lousy doctor," Chernoff said. "It's easy to make those statements when you've never had a patient and a friend like Michael Jackson. You can judge Dr. Murray for what he did but don't question his motives."

Prosecutors had said Murray did not call 911 on time, behavior that Walgren called "bizarre." Chernoff made mention of the fact that the doctor administered CPR to the singer when he found him unresponsive in a bedroom.

"You're a doctor in a private residence," Chernoff said. "You're a cardialogist and you're trained in advanced life support. Is it disregard for human life .. to try to revive your patient first?"

The prosecution has also criticized Murray for allegedly not maintaining proper medical and monitoring equipment while treating Jackson and for giving him propofol, typically administered in hospitals during surgeries, outside of a medical clinic or office.

Murray chose not to testify in person during the trial, although a recording of an interview he gave police after Jackson's death was played to the jury. A segment of it was also played on Thursday, as was a voice mail the singer's manager, Frank Dileo had left days before his death, during which he said he expressed concern about Jackson's health.

Murray had said that the singer had complained about insomnia and requested that he order propofol and give it to him on a nightly basis. Records presented to the jury in recent weeks show that the doctor ordered more than 4 gallons of it for him.

Murray had told police that Jackson "begged" for the drug on the day of his death to help him sleep, after being unable to do so for hours. He said that during the two months prior to Jackson's death, he gave the singer propofol "30 days a month, roughly every day" and that he "handled it fine," adding: "(Jackson) explained to me that he had taken it multiple times. He used it frequently on his tours. it was given to him by multiple other doctors."

Murray had also told police that in the days before Jackson's death, he tried to wean him off the drug by giving him other medications to treat his sleep problem.

In what marked one the most shocking moments of the trial, a recording Murray made of Jackson on his iPhone was played to the jury. The singer sounds slurred as he talks the "This Is It" London tour he was to begin prior to his death.

While prosecutors want the jury to believe drugs Murray had given him affected his speech, the doctor's attorneys say the singer could have been under the influence of a painkiller prescribed by a different doctor.

Jackson's brother Tito and sister Rebbie have said they were aware the singer had a drug problem and that he had tried to intervene but added that they were unable to get close to him because of his security team, the Associated Press had reported.

The witnesses who have testified by request of prosecutors included Jackson's security guards, private chef and Kenny Ortega, co-director of the "This Is It"series of London concerts that the singer was preparing for prior to his death.

The defense team summoned witnesses such as Murray's past patients, who praised his treatment of them, as well as a doctor and nurse who had treated Jackson in the past. Both sides introduced their own experts on propofol.

Check out a summary of the Conrad Murray trial proceedings.