Opening arguments began yesterday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is accused of causing the death of singer Michael Jackson. Prosecurotrs played an eerie tape of a drugged [mp3com-artist]Michael Jackson[/mp3com-artist] with slurred speech.
Prosecutors portrayed Murray as an incompetent and greedy physician who used the dangerous anesthetic Propofol on Jackson without proper safeguards, and also abandoned the singer as he lay dying. The defense countered that Jackson caused his own death by taking a lethal dose of the anesthetic and other drugs himself after Murray left the room. Jackson’s family, including father Joseph, mother Katherine, sisters Janet and LaToya and brothers Jermaine, Randy and Tito, were in the courtroom, where prosecutors played audio of Michael talking to Murray about six weeks before his death. The singer, whose words were slow and slurred, was allegedly under the influence of an unknown substance. ”We have to be phenomenal,” said Jackson, who was rehearsing for a multiple night stand in London. “When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.'”
Prosecutors also showed jurors pictures of Jacikson’s lifeless body. Murray’s defense lawyer Ed Chernoff told the courtroom that Jackson died not because Murray gave the singer too much Propofol, but because the doctor tried to wean the singer off the drug. On June 25th, the day Jackson died, Murray is claiming he was on his third of scaling back the drug, but it didn’t work and Jackson begged him for more because he wasn’t sleeping. Chernoff claims Murray relented and gave him a small dose of the drug. Once opening arguments were completed, Jackson’s good friend, choreographer Kenny Ortega, took the stand and testified that Jackson was in bad shape both physically and mentally. Ortega called a meeting at Jackson’s home and clashed with Murray. ”He said, ‘Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all his responsibilities for the show,'” said Ortega, “I was shocked. Michael didn’t seem to be physically or emotionally stable.” But within a few days Jackson had regained his energy.
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