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Conrad Murray out of jail. What next for Michael Jackson's former doctor? (+video)

Conrad Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death, was released from jail Monday after serving about half of his sentence. He has lost his medical license, but reports are full of other activities he might undertake.

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Jackson died four years ago amid preparations for high-profile comeback concerts in London, after years of bad press and mounting debt. Jackson’s doctor, whom concert promoter AEG Live had hired as the superstar’s personal general practitioner during the comeback series for $150,000 a month, almost immediately came under scrutiny, as investigators worked to tease out what his care for his patient had entailed.

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Staff Writer

Elizabeth Barber is a staff writer at The Christian Science Monitor. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English from SUNY Geneseo. Before coming to the Monitor, she was a freelance reporter at DNAinfo, a New York City breaking news site. She has also been an intern at The Cambodia Daily, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and at Washington D.C.’s The Middle East Journal.

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In a six-week trial two years later, Murray was found to have prescribed propofol as a sleep aid to Jackson during the months leading up to his death. He was also found to have given the superstar a final dose of the medication hours before he died.

Medical experts testified at the trial that propofol is a surgical sedative, not a sleep aid, and said that Murray had not monitored Jackson in accordance with the protocols for administering the powerful drug. On the morning of Jackson’s death in his Los Angeles mansion, Murray had left the pop icon alone in bed with a propofol IV drip in his arm, prosecutors said.

Murray’s lawyers claimed that Murray had refused Jackson’s requests for propofol the night before his death and that Jackson had taken the sedative on his own.

“To hear Dr. Murray say it, Dr. Murray was a bystander,” Judge Michael Pastor said, before announcing the four-year sentence, the maximum allowed, at the trial. “Talk about blaming the victim. Not only is there not any remorse, there’s umbrage and outrage.”

AEG Live was cleared earlier this month in a civil suit, brought by Jackson's children and his mother, accusing the company of negligently hiring the doctor. The company successfully argued that it had been unaware of Jackson’s dependence on propofol and other sedatives when it signed on to manage Jackson’s concert series and hired a personal doctor for him.

The company “never would have agreed to finance this tour if it knew Michael Jackson was playing Russian roulette every night in his bedroom,” said Marvin Putnam, A.E.G. Live’s lawyer, in his closing statement.

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