Judge: Murray's secret recording designed to blackmail Jackson
In sentencing Conrad Murray to a maximum of four years behind bars, Judge Michael Pastor had particularly harsh words for the doctor for the surreptitious iPhone recording of a heavily drugged and slurring Michael Jackson.
Jackson can be heard on the recording, taped a month and a half before the pop star's death and first played during opening statements in the case, rambling almost incoherently about his plans for a comeback.
Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren argued that the recording was proof Murray was aware of the singer’s "state" but continued providing him drugs.
But Pastor had an even harsher assessment of the secret tape, calling it the piece of evidence against the doctor that "stuck out the most."
"I have repeatedly asked myself why did this happen and for what reasons," Pastor said. One conclusion, he said, was that Murray kept the recording to blackmail Jackson in case they had a falling out. "That tape recording was Dr. Murray's insurance policy.... It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient's most vulnerable point."
Pastor called the recording "offensive" and said it violated the doctor-patient relationship between Murray and Jackson.
He cited it as one of the reasons why he denied probation to Murray, saying it was another failure of Murray's character.
Pastor sentenced Murray to four years behind bars — the maximum punishment possible — for his part in Jackson's death, saying the doctor’s role in the singer’s fatal overdose was "money-for-medicine madness."
In blistering and lengthy remarks, Pastor lambasted Murray for failing to express any remorse for the pop star’s death and suggesting in a recent documentary that Jackson bore responsibility for his own demise.
— Harriet Ryan and Andrew Blankstein