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Charges in Michael Jackson case remain in doubt amid squabbles [Updated]

Jackson's doctor could face arrest

Will Michael Jackson's doctor be charged today in the pop singer's death?

That remains an open question this morning after negotiations between prosecutors and attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray to secure his surrender on involuntary manslaughter charges broke down.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office declined to say whether Murray will be charged today. And there are now reports from Murray's camp that he will show up for court this afternoon -- even if he is not charged.

"We are going to be at the courthouse at 1:30 [p.m.] for his surrender," Miranda Sevcik, spokeswoman for Murray's legal team, told the Associated Press. "We see no reason to perpetuate the arbitrary situation any longer."

Previously, law enforcement sources told The Times that Murray's attorneys have objected to prosecutors' calls for the doctor to make a formal court appearance in which a judge would set the terms of his bail and dictate any restrictions on his movements. Instead, the attorneys want their client to be allowed to post bail at a police station, the sources said.

[Updated at 7:20 a.m.: Murray’s attorney called the charge that he was refusing to make his client available for a public court hearing “bull manure” and said negotiations broke down Thursday night because authorities insisted on “a photo op” of the physician in handcuffs.

Lawyer Ed Chernoff said Murray was prepared to surrender to a police station and post the standard $25,000 bail for an involuntary manslaughter charge. The bond would allow him to remain free pending a formal arraignment, Chernoff said.

But authorities wanted Murray to agree not to post bail at the police station so he could be taken into custody, transported to a courthouse by police and brought before a judge, the lawyer said.

“I told them there is no way that I’m going to let my client sit in jail so you can have your show and parade him into court in handcuffs,” Chernoff said. “That’s when they pulled the plug.”]

The dispute could delay plans to file charges. "It's very unclear," said one of the sources. "The defense attorneys apparently don't want him to go to a public hearing."

Murray is prepared to turn himself in to authorities, hand over his passport and put up bail money, his lawyer said. "We've always made it clear: You tell us where, we'll be there," attorney Ed Chernoff said.

On Thursday, law enforcement agencies squabbled over whether to arrest the doctor or allow him to surrender, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Some in the Los Angeles Police Department, which has spent seven months building a case against the 56-year-old cardiologist, are pushing for him to be placed in handcuffs and taken into custody by officers, a departmental source said. The source said police were concerned that allowing Murray to walk into a police station or courthouse suggested to the public, including potential future jurors, that he was entitled to special treatment and was a "white-collar" case rather than a criminal accused of causing a man's death.

Publicly, the district attorney's office refused to address the issue. "Nothing's been filed at this time, and making public statements on something that has not been filed would be silly," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

Privately, however, a high-ranking official in the office said prosecutors believed that arresting Murray would amount to special treatment.

The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because the case is ongoing, noted that Murray does not have a criminal record and poses no danger to the public. The source said similarly situated defendants, including police officers accused of crimes, are commonly allowed to turn themselves in.

"This shouldn't be treated differently because it's a celebrity-related case," the official said.

Murray has acknowledged giving propofol, a powerful anesthetic intended for use in operating rooms, to Jackson as a sleep aid on the morning of his death, according to court documents.

The coroner's office ruled the death a homicide and said it was caused by "acute propofol intoxication" in combination with the use of sedatives also administered by Murray.

Involuntary manslaughter, which applies to unlawful killing committed without malice or an intent to kill, carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

-- Harriet Ryan, Jack Leonard and Richard Winton

Read more about Michael Jackson's case on the Homicide Report, including links to The Times complete coverage of his life and death

Photo: Remi Nishimoto, right, of Nippon TV in Japan, sets up her microphone outside the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday. The district attorney's office could charge Dr. Conrad Murray as early as Friday. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (20)

It doesn't surprise me that the lawyers are already getting into it. I'm sure this will continue for sometime...sadly...before the case is finally brought to a conclusion. Despite his smooth talking ways and apparent pleasant demeanor, Mr. Murray's behavior and decision making regarding his patient, Michael Jackson, was deadly disgraceful!! In some ways it mirrors the attitude we've seen over the last year in Wall Street, with its greed and arrogance. As long as "I" get what "I" want, it doesn't matter what happens to anyone else. Mr. Murray claims to not have given his patient anything that should have killed him (this remains to be seen) but it seems clear, from the publically available police report, that he administered a med that shouldn't have been given outside of a hospital setting for a condition, insomnia, that it is not indicated for, without the appropriate back-up equipment to revive a sedated patient in distress. This guy calls himself a doctor??? I hope that justice will finally be done and that he is held legally responsible for his GROSS negligence!

Arrest the guy already! Good gracious.


Not a danger to the public? The guy did ILLEGAL actions that lead to the death of a patient. We don't care if MJ asked for it or not: Murray consciously took a substance wich was prohibited outside an operation room. He administrated the substance even if he wasnt allowed to, and without any anesthesist around. That Conrad Murray is a danger. A doctor should save lives, not take them.

MJ was handcuffed behind his back when he first appeared in court in 2005; for charges on which he was subsequently acquitted. I don't recall his attorneys trying to get him out of that portion, and why should these so called attorneys do the same for Murray? He killed a person whether intentional or not. And showing up at MJ's burial site yesterday was beyond the pale, even for a sinister low life like Murray. Please arrest him and let's get going on this for the sake of MJ's kids and rest of family. These lawyers are only making Murray look WORSE, if that's possible!

And when Murray is finally arrested, please keep him incarcerated for his safety as well as the safety of others whom he might come across in the course of his "first do no harm" duties as a doctor. It's impossible to think he is still "out there". Maybe the fact that Dateline has a program on Murray tonight which may show him in some favorable light is causing his "attorneys" to hold back, thinking the fans and public may view him differently? NOT!

I highly doubt Conrad is going to jail. If anyone knows what a sociopath is, you'd know that they can come off as calm and collective or anything they think the public wants to see. Their eyes however show someone who feels nothing. I wonder why the news gives this man sympathy?

According to police reports Murray didn't just administer these drugs in a home-setting, he:
1) left his patient unattended while anesthetized
2) did not use monitoring equipment that would have alerted him to his patient's failing situation
3) proceeded to perform CPR on a soft surface (a bed) -- a cardiologist!
4) called the patient's children, bodyguards and others before calling 911

Puh-lease!

We now have Dr. Conrad begging to be handcuffed and charged. This guy is going to walk because the DA and LAPD can't prove he intended to kill MJ. This case is weak from day one. Malpractice maybe.

give me a break....all this so stupid civil servants can pat themselves on the back. It's all about the stupid perp walk and a guarentee that someone ends up with a promotion for this, competant or not
the man's life is ruined, who cares if he does "the walk". Who cares if the DA or the LAPD get their moment in the Sun...they are all idiots anyway. It's amazing if they get a legitimate and resounding guilty verdict in anything....they are ruled by incompetance and politics.

LAPD and the LA District Attorney's Office should be given the National Apathy Award.
I am tired of cowardly officials who are thinking too much of their careers and not about Justice.
"Dr." Conrad Murray committed a crime. He fled the scene of the crime.
Obviously, LAPD and LADA don't give a damn, because if they did, an arrest would have been made months ago.
To the LAPD, you were given a Badge, A Uniform and a Gun to Serve and Protect. Now get up off your fat doughnut eating, computer game playing butts and DO YOUR JOB!
Arrest Conrad Murray!

You people just don't get it: the reason why the Conrad case is complicated is because Conrad needs to be found guilty of involuntarily murder to make an outside 3rd party happy. WHICH will be ok with Conrad and his attorney, as long as he doesn't have to do time or have his medical practice/reputation sullied. Otherwise, Conrad will provide evidence that MJ >WAS< a drug-abuser. (Now here's the kicker...)

If MJ is found to be a "drug-abuser" in the trial, THEN the owner of the Staples Center and LA Live (Philip Anschutz of Colorado) will NOT get paid off on the $22M Business Completions Insurance policy for all the concerts that got cancelled when MJ died. Slick, eh? The city is finding a careful way to arrest Conrad, so that he doesn't testify the truth about MJ. Just so, this rich Denver billionare concert promoter doesn't lose the insurance proceeds!!

Check the info on the insurance policy: it doesn't pay the insured (AEG Entertainment), if the entertainer dies due to "drug abuse".

It's nice to reiterate that the operative work is money. If he was a poor person they would kick down his door, taser him and drag him off to jail before they ever confirm he's the right person. That is if they don't kill him first.

Don't be surprised if Murray pleads out to avoid jail time.
Don't really want to comment about the possible 'white collar' treatment of an obviously black man - might be construed as a racial slur by the politically correct. One shudders to think if Murray had been Caucasian.
As far as needing his testimony to document MJ was a drug abuser, interesting theory, but hardly necessary given the documentation already in the public domain. Seriously, does anyone NOT think MJ was abusing propofol?
Lastly, FWIW, millions of people have safely received propofol under conditions astutely described by Heather H.

Non-story. Moving on...

To: Sherry Vasquez February 05, 2010 at 11:16 AM.
I agree. They're playing internal politics (ego above justice) with this high profile case and it shouldn't be that way. Someone else posted about how Michael Jackson was taken into court in hand-cuffs years ago and asked why should it be different with Murray? I agree! It reminds me of the ego and arrogance that was exhibited during the Jackson case...but in the opposite direction. Along with Jackson being taken in hand-cuffs, 70 police officers (10 would've been more then plenty) were sent to search Jackson's 13,000 sq.ft. Neverland home. 70 officers have nothing better to do than ransack one persons house!?! How much did that cost the taxpayers?? At that time, an excessive show of force and bravado was used without justification. Thankfully Jackson was acquitted despite police bullying and arrogance at that time. (Normally, I very much support the police as they put their lives on the line everyday to protect the public.) This time there seems to be an excessive amount of caution but no less amount of ego. Hopefully this caution will be justified, and Murray will be held responsible for his negligence as a result of abandoning a sedated patient with NO way to monitor his condition or revive a patient in distress. Even the publically available court documents clearly state he didn't meet the minimum standard of care required in order to use Propofol. He may not have intended to kill Jackson but he was DEFINITELY playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with his patients life!!

I believe this is FAKE!!!!

So they are going to charge Michael Jackson's doctor because Michael Jackson was a drug addict, that makes zero sense. The pre-emininent drug abusing, transvestite, child molester of his generation is dead. Be thankful. Dr Murray is not culpable for Jackson's personal insanity.

It's about publicity and media hype . If the fact is Dr Murray acknowledges giving Michael sedatives & then the drug propofol , because Michael apparently kept requesting it .
I have to ask could a person that had alreadybe given sedatives , be so demanding .
Wouldn't it be easier to just leave the premises & seek advice from a professional .

Dr Murray committed a crime & should be arrested , charged and dealt with .
It's becoming ridiculous , waiting for photos of him in handcuffs ect .

Dr. Murray should have given Mike a recommandation for maraijuana. That would have put Mike to sleep.

In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.

on the ‘outside’ chance that the Jackson family arsenal of powerful attorneys do not vilify Dr. Conrad Murray and the doctor is acquitted the Jackson family and LA county could be sued for a major defamation of character suit. they had better be right with their chosen scapegoat…


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