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Conrad Murray put his interests before Jackson’s, prosecutors say

Michael Jackson's personal assistant Michael Amir Williams

Prosecutors in the trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician are re-creating the days before and after the pop star's death in an attempt to depict Dr. Conrad Murray as looking out for his own interests.

Witnesses testified that Murray covered up the singer's health problems both before and after his death, misleading concert promoters and his entourage.

Full coverage of Conrad Murray's trial

While negotiating lucrative terms of his $150,000-a-month contract, Murray painted a rosy picture of Jackson's health, saying that he was in "excellent condition."

Then, on the day the singer stopped breathing, Murray called Jackson's personal assistant first -- not 911. Murray told Michael Amir Williams that Jackson had had a "bad reaction" to medication.

"When I heard 'bad reaction,' I didn't think anything fatal, personally, and I wasn't asked to call 911," Williams said. He later said: "If Dr. Murray, as Mr. Jackson's doctor, called me and told me to call 911, I would've done just that."

In cross-examination, Murray's attorney suggested that it would not have been unusual per protocol for the doctor to first call the assistant rather than authorities.

"Would it be strange for Dr. Murray to call you in the event of an emergency at the house?" attorney Ed Chernoff asked.

"Yeah, if Mr. Jackson were dying it would, for me personally," Williams replied.

Williams also testified that Murray seemed nervous and that he was preoccupied with returning to the house to retrieve "some cream."

Williams said he found the doctor's request so odd that he lied to the doctor, telling him the police had taken his keys.

On Thursday, testimony is expected to continue with a key prosecution witness: a security guard who has claimed that Murray ordered him to remove drug vials from Jackson's bedroom.

That witness, Alberto Alvarez, previously testified during a hearing that Murray was focused on gathering up pill bottles and other evidence of his treatment of Jackson.

Murray told him to collect an IV bag containing a substance that appeared to be the milk-like surgical anesthetic propofol, Alveraz testified.

Jackson's personal chef and two paramedics are also probable witnesses Thursday.

The paramedics are expected to testify that Murray lied to them by saying that Jackson was not taking any medication.

Murray, 58, faces a maximum of four years in prison and the possible loss of his medical license if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers assert that Jackson self-administered a fatal combination of drugs.

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-- Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan

Photo: Michael Jackson's personal assistant, Michael Amir Williams, testified Wednesday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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