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Judge questions Conrad Murray's hiring of lawyer who once worked for Michael Jackson defense team [Updated]

February 15, 2011 |  2:38 pm

Dr. Conrad Murray, right, with attorney Edward Chernoff. The judge handling the trial of Michael Jackson’s physician expressed concern Tuesday that the doctor recently hired a lawyer who once worked for a firm that defended the pop star from child molestation charges.

[Updated at 3:19 p.m.: Dr. Conrad Murray added attorney Nareg Gourjian to his defense team for the involuntary manslaughter trial set to begin next month. Gourjian formerly worked for Mark Geragos, who was Jackson’s attorney about seven years ago in the runup to a molestation trial in Santa Maria.]

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said at a hearing Tuesday that he was worried about a possible conflict of interest and would seek input from Jackson’s estate before ruling.

Gourjian said  he was a junior associate who had “minimal” involvement in the Jackson defense and said, “There is no conflict.” The singer changed lawyers before trial.

The defense gave the prosecution a list of more than 90 potential witnesses. The prosecution has already turned over a list of more than 100 names.

Murray could face four years in prison if convicted.


Conrad Murray pleads not guilty

Coroner says Jackson's drug dose amounted to 'homicide'

Security guard says Murray told him to grab evidence before 911 call

-- Harriet Ryan at L.A. County Superior Court

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray, right, sits with his attorney Edward Chernoff at Los Angeles Criminal Courts on Jan. 25. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times