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Conrad Murray trial: Detective questioned on propofol bottle

Conrad Murray Oct 3 2011
A defense attorney representing Dr. Conrad Murray on Tuesday questioned a Los Angeles Police Department detective about the agency’s early investigation into the death of Michael Jackson.

Attorney Ed Chernoff asked Det. Scott Smith, the lead investigator on the case, about how forthcoming Murray was during his police interview two days after the pop star’s death.

Smith, along with a second detective, spoke to Murray at a Marina Del Rey hotel. A recording of the interview was played over two days concluding Tuesday morning.

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“Did Dr. Murray make any statement about the things he didn’t want to talk about?” Chernoff asked.

“No,” Smith responded.

“Any question was wide open for you to ask?” the attorney asked.

“Yes,” the detective said.

Chernoff noted in his cross examination of Smith that even though the detective took meticulous notes of his investigation, documenting down to the milligram medications found at Jackson’s home, he never mentioned in those notes the state in which a key piece of prosecution evidence was found.

“You never do mention that a propofol bottle was found in an IV bag, is that fair?” Chernoff asked.

“That would be fair,” Smith said.

The bottle and the bag became a point of contention during the testimony of a coroner’s investigator, Elissa Fleak, who said the bottle was found inside the bag but she never photographed it or documented in her notes that the two items were found in that condition.

Chernoff also pressed Smith about the statements Jackson’s security guards and a personal assistant gave to police two months after Jackson’s death.

He noted the three men gave their most damning statements about Murray’s culpability only in the later interview and not on the day Jackson died.

Chernoff asked whether the interview of the assistant, Michael Amir Williams, and security guards Alberto Alvarez and Faheem Muhammad, had taken place four days after the coroner made public its finding that Jackson’s death had been a homicide and that he had died of propofol intoxication.

Smith said yes.

The attorney also asked the detective about why Jackson’s residence had remained unsecured after the day of Jackson’s death, allowing for others to go through items at the home before medical evidence of Murray’s treatment of Jackson was recovered four days later.

Smith said the decision was with the coroner’s office and that “given circumstances,” he was not surprised the house was not locked down.


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-- Victoria Kim at L.A. County Superior Court

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court last week. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Pool.

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