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Michael Jackson hearing: Dr. Conrad Murray withheld information about powerful drug, prosecutor says [Updated]

Michael Jackson’s personal physician caused the pop singer’s death by abandoning his patient, performing ineffective CPR, failing to call 911 in time, and hiding from paramedics and emergency room doctors that he had given Jackson a powerful anesthetic used in surgery, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren made the comments in opening statements for the doctor’s preliminary hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial.

Dr. Conrad Murray stands accused of involuntary manslaughter in connection with  Jackson’s June 25, 2009 death.

Walgren outlined for Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor the time line of events that led up to Jackson’s death. He repeatedly emphasized that Jackson’s final rehearsal at Staples Center had been “energetic” and “fabulous.”

“Michael left the rehearsal very optimistic for the future,” he told the judge.

After the singer returned to his Holmby Hills estate, Walgren said Murray gave Jackson various medications, including benzodiazepines such as lorazepam or Valium, throughout the night.

Sometime between 10:40 and 11 the next morning, Murray gave the singer a dose of propofol, a dangerous anesthetic normally used in surgery. He then made a phone call around 11:51 a.m. and about 10 minutes into the call he appeared to first realize there was something wrong with his patient, the prosecutor said.

Yet rather than calling 911, Murray’s next move was to call Jackson’s security personnel, most of whom weren’t at Jackson’s home, Walgren said.

When a security guard, Alberto Alvarez, walked over from the security trailer parked next to the home, he saw Murray performing CPR with one hand on Jackson on a soft bed, according to the prosecutor. The doctor then instructed Alvarez to help him collect medical paraphernalia and stuff it into a bag, and only then told Alvarez to call 911, he said.

The prosecutor said the physician waited a minimum of nine minutes, and possibly as many as 21 minutes, before the 911 call was made. When paramedics arrived, Murray made no mention of the propofol Jackson was given, Walgren said.

Coroners ruled that Jackson died from acute propofol intoxication. Walgren said prosecutors would call as witnesses medical experts to testify about Murray’s conduct.

“The court will learn that in the opinion of these medical experts, there were a number of actions displayed by Dr. Murray that showed an extreme deviation from standard medical care,” Walgren said.

The producer of Jackson’s planned 2009 tour, Kenneth Ortega, was called as the first witness.

Ed Chernoff, Murray’s defense attorney, declined to make an opening statement. The hearing is expected to last seven to eight days.


Michael Jackson employees who saw pop star near death to testify

Michael Jackson's mother describes learning her son was dead

Michael Jackson death investigation may be coming to a conclusion

-- Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan

Photo: Michael Jackson's brother Jackie Jackson and mother, Katherine Jackson, arrive for the preliminary hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

[For the record, 12:17 p.m.: The caption with an earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Jackie Jackson as Jermaine. ]

Comments () | Archives (56)

This is said
Dr Conrad is guilty of something, but it is not the death of Micheal Jackson..... Micheal killed him self, period he would have gotten them drugs from somebody ... all that is happening here is a waste of taxpayers dollars in the prosecution of a man that should be dealt with on medical end by a panel of his peers
did you know it is easier right now to get pain pills off the street then it is to get them from my own Doctor.... I have to send the old lady to complain about menstrual cramps to get ibuprofen... if i need a real pain pill, I talk to my man Willy. besides he is cheaper and faster then a Dr visit ... but lets spend a few million prosecuting him the DA needs to make a car payment and needs his brownie points

Dr. Murray needs to play the race card, and soon.

A pedophile is dead, oh sorry alleged pedophile.

Good Riddance.

The Jackson's are all untalented, money hungry noids. No what I'm saying?!

At BEST the doctor should be convicted of involuntary manslaughter. There are criterias that must be met to prosecute him for murder or even manslaughter. I do not believe this fool set out to kill his meal ticket. Nonetheless, MJ is in large part responsible for his own death. He DID ask for these drugs and if it hadn't been Murray, it would have been some other money grubbing doctor. What Michael wanted, he got. The entire Jackson clan is dysfunctional in my opinion. Every darn one of them are money scavengers the same as Murray was. Jackson himself had many psychological problems, but nooone saw fit to get him treatment. Yes, he was a talented singer and a great entertainer, but sadly he was his own worst enemy.

Does it really matter? Honestly, Jackson was strange and his drug use brought on his death. Murder? Hardly.

It's hard to know the details. Those of us that new Michael, know he died needlessly. It turns my stomach.

The truth of the matter is that no doctors forced Michael Jackson to take drugs. He wanted to take them, he killed himself. You play with fire, you get burned, simple as that. I'm sick of hearing how "the doctor withheld information", like Jackson thought he was taking an aspirin. Jackson was a messed-up weirdo with massive issues, was an unfit parent of kids he basically purchased made to order (not his own biological), claimed to love those kids but couldn't give up being a junkie. He did it to himself. Other than his talent, he was a loser.

I want to know what dose of propofol this guy gave? I use propofol regularly for induction (for intubation) and sedation for procedures - usually a hefty (induction) dose will start to wear off anywhere from 10-20 minutes after it is pushed. For their to be toxic levels of propofol in his system over an hour later (between administration and death), he must have gotten a monster dose... or the doc is lying and he got more than one dose.

Also, any anesthesiologist, ER doc, or anyone else who regularly performs inductions/sedations, knows that combining benzodiazepines together and adding propofol = plastic (ie. a endotracheal tube connected to a ventilator).

This guy doesn't stand a chance in court and I'm surprised that involuntary manslaughter was the hardest charge the prosecutor went for (weak!).

I can't go for the murder beef as some suggest, but "involuntary" manslaughter is absurd, period. This clown WAS a doctor. He DID do dangerous things to and for his patient, willfully and knowingly put that patient at risk, etc. etc. Didn't call 911 and wasn't honest with paramedics when they arrived BECAUSE that would have put himself on front street. He put his own rep. with the mistakes he made WAY above his patients' life. The FIRST-FIRST-FIRST thing you are taught in med school is this Latin phrase: "PRIMUM NON NOCERE", Which means "First, do NO HARM". This philosophy is inculcated into EVERY student continually, and he took an oath to that effect. Being a "Professional" means the onus of responsibility is GREATER, not LESS. It doesn't often work that way in our society, where politicians skate on legit corruption charges, crooked cops walk, seducing teachers in schools are everywhere I look, prosecutorial misconduct is rampant in courtrooms, and Doctors review boards are a joke. It needs to stop yesterday, or America the "great" will be only a footnote in dusty and unread history books. For the "doctor", I suggest at LEAST voluntary manslaughter. If I owned the World(!), I'd lock him up for 10 yrs straight w/o possibility of early parole, suspend his priviledge to work in ANY medical related industry, and keep him under supervised parole till death. This isn't a gut who should have known better. He DID know better. And did it anyway.

Jackson killed himself with his strange lifestyle. I'm tired of self-abusers always blaming others!

Wish you clowns would put this much compassion for our troops....he is dead and would of found another doctor to get his "drug on"....

sounds like he did what he was instructed to do.

This filthy corrupt doctor killed Jacko for a lousy $300,000 per year payroll job.
Thia amoral bottom feeder/pig/killer did not lose his medical license in Nevada..Hence, Nevada remains the state with no moral fiber and Joe Jackson lives in Vegas compounding the dirt bag state's lousy reputation.
If only Joe Jackson died instead of Jacko - It ain't fair ...Joe, join your son -
Everyone hates you Joe.

Moe, you obviously don't know the definition of either.

This is malpractice which is very common specially for those who are not medical practitioners. I think and in my opinion he is very liable to the icon's death.

To say Michael Jackson killed himself, I think is wrong. He was under a doctors care right at his own home. If the doctor was giving him anesthesia that isn't used outside of hospitals, that was the doctors decision. Michael can want anything he wants but the doctor administered it. Why wasn't the doctor there when Micheal took a benzodiazepine supposedly when he was outside the room. Who would put someone under anesthesia and leave the room period, even more so who would leave the room treating Michael Jackson. To me that is beyond stupid and since he's under the doctors care I put the blame where it belongs, on the doctor. Yes, I do think there may be a good case of involuntary manslaugher. Only for the simple reason that doctor should have never left Michaels side, never had these procedures done outside a medical environment regardless. Even more so not notifying police immediately and not informing them of the drugs given right then and there shows intent to conceal. I don't know Michael, but from years of watching him, he didn't seem like someone who wanted to die, but entertain, to amaze people. Unless he had prior suicidal attempts on his life, or overdoses, I don't think the doctor has too much going for him. Michael may have wanted many things, but what he should have wanted was a more responsible doctor who wouldn't leave his side regardless of what Michael wanted and the doctor should have been smart enough to know when dealing with someone who wants such outlandish procedures NEVER leave their side. If I was that doctor I wouldn't have cared what Michael told me or offered me, I would have said Michael you are too important to your children, to the world, to your family and to my career to ever, ever let anything happen to you - so I'm not leaving your side for a second while you are under my care. I miss Michael. He was an enormous talent, I hope true justice is served. If the doctor was withholding information and not being forthright that sure won't work for him. His actions speak louder than anything.

Involuntary manslaughter sounds about right to me. Nobody has made any argument worth consideration that Murray intentionally killed Jackson, or that Murray did not care whether Jackson lived or died, or even that Jackson killed himself.

His death was accidental, but that does not relieve Murray of responsibility. Murray knew very well how dangerous administering (or even just furnishing) the propofol was, and he would be responsible for knowing the conditions under which propofol could be used safely. In California, the extraordinary recklessness with which he acted is called "criminal negligence", and causing someone's death through criminal negligence is properly considered "involuntary manslaughter".

The question of the existence and extent of propofol abuse in the medical community is an interesting one here, but is better the subject of a different article.

This whole story is a complete joke. First of all Conrad Murray had no business obtaining, or administering Propofol. That drug is only to be given by an Anesthesiologist in a hospital setting. His medical license should have been susupended immeadiately. His bail should have set a hell of alot higher than 75,000. It just seems that hiding medical paraphernalia in your bag, giving cpr on a bed, & not calling 911 right away tells me what he was up to. They also forgot to mention the fact that the paramedics were at the house for over an hour. Conrad Murray was in charge at the scene pulling rank so that the propofol had longer to wear off .The fact that he didn't tell the paramedics, or the ER doctors that the drug was given says it all. His ass is guilty of Murder, not involuntary manslaughter. Doctor's take the Hippocratic Oath to not put patient's lives in danger, and to do what you can for them. I hope there will be Justice for Michael. Rip MJ your true fans love you, and miss you. You will live forever in your music, and in our hearts. God bless your children, and your family.

"The prosecutor said the physician waited a minimum of nine minutes, and possibly as many as 21 minutes, before the 911 call was made. When paramedics arrived, Murray made no mention of the propofol Jackson was given, Walgren said."
If this were "ordinary" people we were discussing, charges would have been laid immediately after this "pointer to intent" had light shed on it.

This is not about what the good doctor DID, as it is about what he didn't do. He NEVER showed a true caring for his patient, prominently displayed in the doctors ACTIONS. Actions ALL WAYS tell the truth about intent.

On that note, his family, now loudly proclaiming the guilt of another, ALSO stood by and DID nothing. They all knew something was amiss to a great depth with him. A full disclosure, or at least the threat of such, is something I would have done, failing the efforts they say they made. ALL kept their mouths shut, to keep the money flowing. THAT is evidenced in the behavior of, among others, Katherine covering for her husband in an attempt to keep Michael's money flowing to good old dad. While he was alive, All we heard about was how he struggled with money issues. Those money issues were used to get him to do the London concerts. Now, he is worth so much more dead. The question then becomes, worth more to whom?

While the doctor is guilty of much, he has not done as well as others. If Michael's death was, as they say, a murder committed for financial gain, then maybe the good doc should have some company up on trial.

Just sayin'.

MICHAEL JACKSON was probably MURDERED. As I have read, Murray has been putting propofol on MJ's system 6(six) times a week for 2(two) months but only on June 25th that it got him killed. Why?????

The defense will be playing the "blame the victim" card. The fact that propofol was administered to Michael Jackson by Dr. Murray, a cardiologist, outside of a hospital setting with no resuscitative equipment available, coupled with the fact that the patient was left unattended for even a second is criminal in my estimation. His attempt to cover up his crime is beyond pale.

I recently had an upper endoscopy and propofol was the anesthetic that was used. The anesthesiologist asked if I had any questions or concerns before he put me under. I told him I knew Michael Jackson died from acute propofol intoxication administered by a doctor who was not certified in anesthesiology. His immediate response was, "Yes, that was shameful, but don't worry, I will not leave you to go to the bathroom; I will be in the room the entire time monitoring you." That statement speaks volumes...any medical expert will tell you that Dr. Murray was dead wrong in his care of Mr. Jackson.

The best thing Dr. Murray can do is to fess up and save the tax payers the cost of a trial. If this case goes to trial, I pray that justice will be served. Dr. Murray needs to spend time in prison rethinking his inane decision to put money before the welfare of his patient and hopefully, also apologizing to the family of Michael Jackson. Of course, I realize that no amount of regret on Dr. Murray's part will heal the pain that the Jackson family, especially Mr. Jackson's children and mother, will have to endure forever.

"The prosecutor has no choice but to win in this case."
The Truth

You clearly haven't paid much attention to Los Angeles court cases over the years, have you?

If you had, you'd be well aware of the bizarre picadilloes of the disparate groups we call "juries."

A few reminders:

A jury watched the same video as the rest of the world, then found 4 police offers "Not Guilty" of beating Rodney King to a pulp.

Another nutty group of 12 thumbed their nose at logic an dismissed O.J. Simpson, after he butchered 2 people.

Another jury found Robert Blake "Not Guilty" & still another deadlocked on the Music Madman Phil Spector.

So the answer to your statement is that, in actuality, when it comes to celebrity cases, juries get blinded into "fame stupidity" all the time.

All of MJ's family acting sooo concerned is such BS. They knew he was a drug addict, but like everyone else in Hollywood they only care after the fatality. Sorry Latoya, Janet, Jermaine, and the rest of you. You're all just as guilty as the doctor, but ultimately it's Michael's own fault.

Michael Jackson: Dr. Murray, will you accompany me on my London tour and administer propofol when I can't sleep?

Conrad Murray: Why, no, Mr. Jackson, propofol as a sleep aid is a wildly inappropriate use of that drug. It's dangerous and you could die.

MJ: I have chronic insomnia. I want propofol, the only thing that has ever worked for me, and I'm willing to pay you $150,000 per month to give it to me.

CM: Oh, well, then. That's a different story! Sure I'll accompany you to London and give you propofol whenever you need it.

MJ: You'll use your medical expertise to properly monitor your administration of propofol? You have experience with propofol, right?

CM: Of course I do! I'm a cardiologist, for cryin' out loud. You can count on me!

MJ: OK, great, you're hired.

CM: You won't regret it, Mr. Jackson. I'll have you sleeping like a baby every night.

Murray's a dead man.

Ah----the results of affirmative action medical programs! UC irvine cranking 'em out right now! Different standards and piecemeal exams--then turned loose on the unsuspecting public!!!

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