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Michael Jackson autopsy photos can be shown to jury in Conrad Murray case, judge rules

Conrad Murray This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician will include two haunting but starkly different depictions of the pop star’s last day -- a video of him dancing and singing on stage and photos taken hours later of his lifeless body on a coroner’s gurney, a judge ruled Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor cleared prosecutors to present the rehearsal footage and autopsy photos during a lengthy hearing that established evidentiary boundaries for next month’s involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

The judge barred both sides from delving far into the personal lives of both the physician and his famous patient, saying he wanted to focus the trial tightly on Murray’s medical care of Jackson in the months and days leading up to his 2009 death.

Jurors, Pastor said, will hear nothing about Murray’s extramarital affairs, out-of-wedlock children and penchant for strip clubs, all evidence prosecutors had hoped to present. Nor, he said, will they hear evidence that the defense had sought to introduce concerning Jackson’s crushing debt and mountain of pending lawsuits.

The ruling on Jackson’s money woes was a particularly difficult blow for Murray, whose lawyers had said their case hinged on linking the singer’s desperate financial straits to their contention that he administered himself a fatal dose of propofol. In comments in court, defense lawyer Ed Chernoff indicated that the defense planned to argue that Jackson took the drug for insomnia so he could be ready for rehearsals in a comeback concert series that would end his money problems.

But Pastor called Jackson’s debt irrelevant and said testimony from a financial analyst retained by the defense would make for “a battle of accountants” and “turn what should be a focused trial involving a charge of involuntary manslaughter into a salacious analysis of personal financial issues.”

“We simply are not going there,” he said.

The defense also lost a fight to prohibit the use of the autopsy photos and video clips of rehearsal that were taken from the posthumous Jackson documentary “This Is It.”

Defense lawyer Nareg Gourjian said the clips were “sliced and diced” by moviemakers to give a false impression of Jackson’s abilities and health, but Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren said videos were “most probative as to Michael Jackson’s mental and physical wellbeing and optimism for the future.”

Murray, 58, faces a maximum of four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

[For the record 2:49 p.m., April 21: This post was changed to correct the spelling of Gourjian's name.]

RELATED:

Prosecutors seek to show video of 'active, energetic' pop star before his death 

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's 2009 death. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (24)

From the article: The judge barred both sides from delving far into the personal lives of both the physician and his famous patient, saying he wanted to focus the trial tightly on Murray’s medical care of Jackson in the months and days leading up to his 2009 death.

Kudos to Judge Pastor!! He knows... It doesn't matter if Jackson was a raging drug addict, prescription or otherwise (he wasn't). It doesn't matter if Jackson felt relentless pressure to perform (may have; may not have). It doesn't matter if Jackson was flat broke (highly unlikely). It doesn't matter if Jackson gave himself an overdose of propofol (highly implausible). It doesn’t even matter if someone other than Murray gave him an injection of propofol (a remote possibility). In any and every situation in which Jackson may have been, it's clear that Conrad Murray (1) inappropriately administered a potentially lethal anesthesia; (2) outside a hospital setting; (3) without formal and necessary training; (4) without proper monitoring equipment; (5) then left his patient unattended; (6) then failed to immediately call 911; and (7) then failed to inform arriving paramedics about his use of propofol. Murray bore sole responsibility to treat his patient according to the standard of care, which Murray failed to do. Michael Jackson is not on trial here. Conrad Murray is the only defendant on trial. I hope the jury remembers this.

I am so glad to hear we have won 3 out of 5. We may not be able to produce everything at least the DA can present what is most important which is Michael Jackson was full of life regardless of his sleeping patterns. Michael couldn't sleep for years so what does that have to do the 02 concerts.... NOT A DOG GONE THING!!!!!!!!! This fool who wants to be referred as a doctor should have known better, but like I have said from the beginning it was done intentional and there are way far others involved and if you give them enough rope to hang themselves they will eventually tell on each other.

What a thriller...

I am pleased to read that the judge intends to focus on the medical care rendered by Murray in the last weeks of Jackson's life. This is, after all, what the trial is about. And Murray is, after all, the person on trial.
The fishing expedition played out over the last weeks by the defense does not fool anyone. PR exhibitions, blame the victim tactics, financial diversion and smear campaigns
abound when the fact remains that: Murray administered propofol in a bedroom, for insomnia, without monitoring or rescue equipment, was distracted with girlfriend issues,
delayed calling 911, lied repeatedly to medical personnel,
and then agrees to blame his ONE patient for his own death.
Shameful.

As upsetting as it is for fans and family I believe the use of autopsy photos in this instance is correct and justifiable. This is why those photos were taken in the first place, for use in correct circumstances ie as evidence in court. Yes we are worried that these photos will somehow make their way to the media and be used for sensationalist purposes. We are facing a very emotionally tough trial, as we have seen the defense have no problem using the media to try to taint the jury pool, using a PR company to leak stories in favor of their client.

Judge Pastor today ruled that the Defense's risible attempt to drag irrelevant details of Michael Jackson's financial affairs into the Involuntary Manslaughter trial against Doctor Murray would not be tolerated. One hopes the good judge he will extend that non-toleration further for these reasons:


1:

Jackson's autopsy results, which is irrefutable, stated unequivocally that Jackson's body organs did not demonstrate any evidence of long term drug use -- in other words he was not an addict.


2:

But even if we were: Murray clearly abandoned his patient and deviated grossly from any known standards of medical care.


3:

It is also irrelevant whether or not Jackson felt any pressure to perform. What artist doesn't? It still does not excuse the fact that Murray had the right to refuse to dispense propofol in a non-safe environment. He did not exercise that right, but instead incompetently administered his patient with absolutely no measures in place for the likelihood an emergency.


Michael Jackson was profoundly ill served by America while he lived. Now that he is dead, it is to be hoped that some semblance of justice will finally be done.

People who adore Michael Jackson refuse to believe he was an addict just like anyone else who is addicted to drugs. You could see in years past . When he was on stage years ago you could see the energy he portrayed in his music. It came from drugs and it escalated as he got older. You could also see he was exhausted at times also. This doctor helped him get the drugs he needed to keep going. I don't believe the doctor did anything other than get him the drugs he requested and Michael Jackson is the one who administered them to himself. The doctor should be held responsible but 4 years is a bit to much.

Bummer dude, not looking good. Seems to be inflamatory. A statement he is dead should be sufficient to meet the elements of the crime, but this is Hollywood

He shouldnt be charged with anything

So nothing about his lack of character, morals or even a level of human decency allowed in the courts of Satan !
In the court where he will face Gods Law all those will be factors.
All that knowledge wasted on a man with no more morals than a junk yard dog.

Enough already about Michael's death, he killed himself! He had a choice as all of us do, he chose to use highly dangerous drugs and ultimately died because of it. There is nothing more to discuss!

his goose is cooked man !

Michael Jackson is dead? Geez, when did that happen, I've been busy trying to pay my mortgage and feed my kids.

What will the autopsy photos prove? Dr. Murray did not care about the singer when he was alive, so why should he care about him dead. What will the autopsy photos prove to the jury? Dead is dead!

Judge Pastor today ruled that the Defense's risible attempt to drag irrelevant details of Michael Jackson's financial affairs into the Involuntary Manslaughter trial against Doctor Murray would not be tolerated. One hopes the good judge he will extend that non-toleration further for these reasons:


1:

Jackson's autopsy results, which is irrefutable, stated unequivocally that Jackson's body organs did not demonstrate any evidence of long term drug use -- in other words he was not an addict.


2:

But even if we were: Murray clearly abandoned his patient and deviated grossly from any known standards of medical care.


3:

It is also irrelevant whether or not Jackson felt any pressure to perform. What artist doesn't? It still does not excuse the fact that Murray had the right to refuse to dispense propofol in a non-safe environment. He did not exercise that right, but instead incompetently administered his patient with absolutely no measures in place for the likelihood an emergency.


Michael Jackson was treated atrociously by his mother country while he lived. Now that he is dead, it is to be hoped that some semblance of justice will finally be done.

showing autopsy photos attempting to get some sympathy vote from the jury ??

Judge Pastor made the right decision by barring both sides from delving into the personal lives of Jackson or Murray. We don't need a side show to detract from the real facts in the case. Dr. Murray is at least guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty to his one and only patient, Michael Jackson. Unless Jackson held a gun to Murray's head to force him to administer propofol to him, there is no excuse for a cardiologist working outside of his field of expertise (Murray is not an anesthesiologist) in a home environment administering a drug that is known to suppress breathing without the proper equipment available to resuscitate should the need arise. What makes matters worse is the fact that Murray delayed calling 911 and did not tell the medics that he had administered propofol to Jackson when they arrived. Murray is lucky that he was only charged with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of four years, and not murder.

While I do agree that Michael Jackson had a choice and he chose unwisely, I also think that the good Dr. had a choice. Doctor's are the ones to tell us no when something isn't good for us and those strong drugs should have never been administered. Michael Jackson should have been refused for his own good. This trial is about greed and abuse. The doctor was greedy and he abused his power as a doctor and he deserves to be tried for it. Dead is dead, but in the hearts of his family and fans it offers little solace. If Michael hadn't been a megastar would any sane doctor give this medication to a person? No. Then Michael no matter how weird and beleagured deserved the same "NO" that we normal folks get. For God's sake I learned that I couldn't take Tylenol with wine because it could harm my liver. Had a doctor not told me that I would probably be on my way to the graveyard. God bless real doctors who take their oath to heal seriously.

DR CONRAD MURRAY is the defendant on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. The deceased Michael Jackson is NOT on trial for anything. The actions of DR CONRAD MURRAY are the focus of the trial, NOT the life of Michael Jackson. Guaranteed, though, the media will again abandon its responsibility to report the court proceedings to the people and, instead, chase Jackson’s ghost down memory lane. Already we see headlines in many publications that don't even mention the defendant's name -- DR. CONRAD MURRAY -- but prefer to focus on Jackson's name. It's the Jackson Jury, the Jackson Trial, and the Jackson Doctor. Indeed, a core group of aging tabloid proctologist opinionators -- Diane Dimond, Martin Bashir, Maureen Orth, Piers Morgan -- are limbering up to Refocus attention on Jackson and Reinvent their version of him to poison a new generation of consumers. This may be their last gasp as they claw desperately to remain relevant in a youth-oriented media landscape. The trial also guarantees ratings riches for the unscrupulous media moguls and their empires. Who will be first to steal and publish the photos of Jackson’s corpse shown in court? Even if he/she is caught, the image floats in cyberspace – the final brutal assault on one human being for profit. Meanwhile, the news industry laughingly commits the biggest public mind f - (ahem) copulation since the Devil persuaded the world he didn't exist.

hello! his debt is indicative of personal problems going back to his childhood. the guy was clearly an addict and should have been in whatever program and therapy. the fact that he kept altering himself surgically is also an indication. this is not to say that the physician is off the hook in prescribing him the junk -- let's face there's always someone willing to write a prescription. but ultimately Michael himself was responsible for his mental health and he blew it.

This Dr. was a playboy with 3 ladies. He administered a drug only used in a hospital because it can cause death. He was paid $100,000 a month already....it was not doing what he was there for.....watching Michael, so he wouldn't be taking drugs.....come on. This guy was an idiot riding the celb wave....and failed. Take his license.

Michael Jackson was clearly not an addict. The jury will hear the evidence from the autopsy report which clearly states "Jackson's heart, liver and kidney were healthy" in other words no long term drug abuse, in other words NOT an addict. The jury will not have to rely on rehashed media garbage. The autopsy report is online for anyone to read then you won't look so stupid stating "facts" that have already been proven false.

Michael Jackson CHOSE to hire a doctor to protect and monitor him. To prevent exactly what happened. The problem is he trusted the wrong person with his life. He obviously felt that as long as a doctor was with him he would be alright; he even told nurse Cheryl Lee exactly that. he did not believe he was risking his life. From all I have read about propofol if the doctor had been monitoring him when he went into distress and jerked the needle out of his arm he would have been alright.

A wise decision by Judge Pastor….. the jury must not lose sight of the fact that a doctor, regardless of his lifestyle, was hired to care for his patient, – something he blatantly failed to do. It would be so easy for this trial to be turned into a media circus, the press picking up on any juicy piece of gossip about either the doctor or Jackson, thus deflecting focus from the real issue. Administering an anaesthetic for treatment of insomnia in an inappropriate setting, without the proper monitoring equipment, leaving his patient unattended while anaesthetised, delaying a 911 call, not informing paramedics of the medication administered and then attempting to hide evidence – surely this alone is enough information to point to a criminal offense having been committed.

[REVIEWERS: Please use this correct post (spelling errors fixed) to replace the one a posted a minute ago. Thanks. My post below:
----------------------------------------

The jurors should ALSO get to see ConMan Murray's naked body because I'll bet there's a big tattoo somewhere that says "Liar." I'm looking forward to hearing this egotistical friend of strippers everywhere why he didn't tell the doctors or paramedics trying to revive MJ about the presence of Diprivan in the case. You'd think these would have been the FIRST words of ConMan's mouth. If (and I hope to God it doesn't happen) he manages to beat the rap, I wouldn't pay one cent a month for the kind of "care" MJ got.

ago. Thanks.


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