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Conrad Murray preoccupied by girlfriends when treating Jackson, prosecutor says

Photo: Prosecution witness Nicole Alvarez looks toward the jury box as she testifies in Dr. Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson on Tuesday. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Associated Press Three women who took the stand at the trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician Tuesday gave jurors a glimpse into Conrad Murray's personal life.

Summoned by prosecutors to verify phone records from the last day of the pop star’s life, the women hinted at a side of Murray that jurors had not previously seen--the married man in his mid-50s pursuing much younger women.

Prosecutors suggested Murray was preoccupied with his love interests when he should have been focused on Jackson, who he was treating with the powerful anesthetic propofol.

That morning, Murray texted a Las Vegas dancer, screened a call from a former girlfriend in Los Angeles and was talking with a Houston waitress when prosecutors say he realized that Jackson had stopped breathing.

“I started telling him about my day, and that’s when I realized he was no longer on the phone,” the waitress, Sade Anding, recalled. “I was just talking, and the next thing, I said ‘Hello, hello,’ and then I didn’t hear anything.”

Later, in an ambulance, still insisting Jackson’s life might be saved, Murray phoned a Santa Monica actress with whom he was living and had an infant son.

“I remember him telling me that he was on the way to the hospital in the ambulance with Mr. Jackson and for me not to be alarmed,” Nicole Alvarez said.

Prosecutors wanted jurors to hear a lot more unflattering evidence about Murray’s relationships, suggesting his wooing of exotic dancers and cocktail waitresses with $500 tips and mentions of his connections to Jackson showed a “pattern” of indiscretion.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor barred most of that testimony as prejudicial, but Anding, Alvarez and a third woman who testified were permitted to say they met Murray in bars or clubs and that he had pursued them.

“From that first meeting with Conrad Murray, did he give you his telephone number?” Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah Brazil asked Michelle Bella, the Las Vegas dancer.

“Yes,” she replied.

Responding mostly to yes or no questions, the women did not detail the nature of their relationships with Murray, who has been married for decades to a medical school classmate. Brazil did ask Bella about how freely the doctor discussed his role as Jackson’s personal physician.

“Did he leave that type of information on a voice mail on your cell on June 16, 2009?”

“Yes,” Bella replied.

Alvarez said the doctor mentioned to her as early as 2008 that he was caring for the singer, and even arranged as a surprise for her to meet the Jackson.

“I was speechless when I met him,” she recalled.

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--Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan

Photo: Prosecution witness Nicole Alvarez looks toward the jury box as she testifies in Dr. Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson on Tuesday. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Associated Press

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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