Conrad Murray trial: As case goes to jury, a pressing question (video)
How did a fatal level of the anesthetic propofol end up in Michael Jackson's blood? That's a key question as the jury in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray begins deliberations Friday.
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“If that is what Dr. Murray did, then no matter what, there was no danger, no chance of harm to Michael Jackson based on what Dr. Murray knew he gave to Michael Jackson,” Mr. Chernoff said. “That is absolutely indisputable.”Skip to next paragraph
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The 25-milligram injection – if true – would explain why Murray was not at Jackson’s bedside at the time Jackson stopped breathing. He assumed Jackson was simply asleep. And it might somewhat undercut phone records and testimony showing that Murray was making phone calls and returning e-mails and text messages rather than closely monitoring his patient at bedside when the emergency arose.
Most important, it raises a bigger question. How did the extremely high levels of propofol discovered by toxicologists enter Jackson’s system if Murray injected only 25 milligrams?
Chernoff told the jury Jackson must have given it to himself in a desperate attempt to get some much-needed rest. He must have done it when Murray was distracted or out of the room.
“What they are really asking you to do,” he told the jury, “is convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson.”
Chernoff suggested that prosecutors and some of their witnesses engaged in a “conspiracy” to suggest that Jackson died during a continuous intravenous drip of propofol.
“It is clear what the prosecution is attempting to do is create a drip that never existed,” Chernoff told the jury. “They refuse to accept the most obvious and reasonable explanation for all of this, that Dr. Murray gave Michael Jackson exactly what he said he did.”
“This isn’t some conspiracy,” Walgren told the jury. “This is what Conrad Murray was doing every night, a drip is what he called it,” the prosecutor said. “It explains the blood levels. It is consistent with the phone records.”
In his rebuttal closing argument, Walgren made a candid admission. “The people cannot prove exactly what happened behind those closed doors. Michael Jackson could give answers, but he is dead. But you know what was happening every night. You know the volume of propofol that was being shipped. You know what was found, and you know that Michael Jackson died of propofol intoxication.”
Walgren did not stake his entire case on the jury finding that a continuous drip of propofol killed Jackson. He offered the jury a second way to convict Murray.
Murray could be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, he said, if the jury unanimously agreed that Jackson’s death was directly caused by Murray’s administration of propofol in a bedroom without proper monitoring equipment and proper resuscitation equipment, and without constant vigilance to closely monitor his patient.
“No one had ever heard of propofol being administered in a bedroom – ever – until Conrad Murray did it to Michael Jackson,” Walgren said. “The setting is a direct cause of his death. This is criminal gross negligence.”
Chernoff told the jury that the only reason his client is on trial is because the dead patient was pop superstar Michael Jackson.
“I can’t disagree that giving propofol in a home is a proper thing to do. And he did that for 60 days,” Chernoff said. But Murray was not giving Jackson drugs to fuel an addiction; he was trying to help a patient sleep normally.
“They want to paint a perfect villain and a perfect victim as if we’re in a television show and we want to feel good when it ends,” the defense lawyer said. “There’s no perfect villain. And there’s no perfect victim.”
IN PICTURES: Michael Jackson – King of Pop