Michael Jackson case: Dr. Conrad Murray pleads not guilty [Updated]
Michael Jackson’s personal physician described himself as “an innocent man” during a Los Angeles Superior Court hearing Tuesday in which a judge set a March date for his trial in the pop star’s death.
“What’s your plea?” Judge Michael Pastor interrupted.
“Therefore, I plead not guilty,” Murray said.
The physician, who faces a maximum of four years in prison, surprised the judge by invoking his right to a speedy trial, meaning the case would have to begin by March 28.
Pastor remarked on the rarity of a defendant invoking his speedy-trial right but set jury selection for March 28. The judge said his “inclination” was to allow television coverage of the trial, which the defense said was likely to last two months.
Jackson died June 25, 2009, from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told police he had been using to treat the singer’s chronic insomnia.
Murray’s attorneys said at a preliminary hearing earlier this month that there was evidence Jackson injected or drank a fatal amount of the drug when the physician wasn’t looking.
[For the record, 9:49 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the case would have to begin by March 2 for Murray to receive his right to a speedy trial.]
[For the record, 10:15 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the date of Jackson's death as June 29, 2009.]
-- Harriet Ryan at L.A. Superior Court
Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray, right, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court where he entered a not guilty plea. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times