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Defense calls Conrad Murray a victim as case goes to jury

November 3, 2011 |  5:34 pm

Murray standing
A defense attorney for Michael Jackson’s personal physician told jurors Thursday that his client would never have been put on trial were it not for the pop star’s celebrity.

“Somebody’s got to say it: If it were anybody else but Michael Jackson, if it were anybody else, would this doctor be here today?” defense attorney Ed Chernoff told jurors during closing arguments in Dr. Conrad Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial.

The case was officially submitted to the jury late Thursday, and jurors are expected to begin deliberations Friday morning.

In its closing arguments, the defense accused the prosecutors of playing on the emotions of jurors by repeatedly showed jurors a photo of Jackson’s children, a device Chernoff said was designed to paint Jackson as a victim.

“It’s heartbreaking to see those kids, you know that and I know that. That’s why they showed those kids,” Chernoff told jurors. “There’s this tremendous desire to paint Dr. Murray as this perfect villain.”

FULL COVERAGE: Trial of Conrad Murray

Murray, Chernoff said, was pulled into Jackson’s life only because he wanted to help the singer with his sleep problems.

Yet he was “a little fish in a big, dirty pond” who was clueless about Jackson’s other doctors and had no control over the incredible stress the singer was under.

“Michael Jackson was under a tremendous, abnormal, impossible amount of pressure by AEG,” he said.

Chernoff told jurors Jackson’s death was a direct result of the singer swallowing tablets of a sedative and injecting himself with the anesthetic propofol. And Murray should not be held responsible for the pop star’s actions, he said.

“Was Dr. Murray supposed to watch Michael Jackson to save him from himself at all times?” he questioned. “At what point do you draw the line for Dr. Murray’s responsibilities for a grown up?”

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--Victoria Kim

Photo: Conrad Murray, center, stands with defense attorneys J. Michael Flanagan, second from left, and Ed Chernoff, right, before the start of Thursday's court proceedings. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Pool.

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