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Michael Jackson: Conrad Murray wishes he'd testified, lawyer says

June 25, 2012 | 12:38 pm

Conrad Murray likely to get reduced jail time

On the third anniversary Monday of Michael Jackson's death, Dr. Conrad Murray -- who is serving four years in jail for his role in the singer's death -- wishes he had testified during his trial, his appeals attorney said.

Jackson's personal physician has spent seven months in the Los Angeles County jail since his involuntary manslaughter conviction last November.

As Jackson stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest under the influence of the surgical anesthetic propofol, jurors were told, Murray chatted on the phone and sent and received email and text messages.

And in the crucial moments after he discovered the singer had stopped breathing, he delayed calling for help and lied to paramedics and emergency doctors, witnesses said.

Murray never took the witness stand to proclaim his innocence.

"He wishes he testified. He absolutely wishes he testified," said attorney Valerie Wass, who is handling Murray's appeal of his conviction. "Ed Chernoff [Murray''s attorney] was pretty adamant that he not testify, Mr. [J. Michael] Flanagan [his other attorney] thought he should testify. So he never testified."

Wass said Murray maintains his innocence and is continuing to appeal. Murray has insisted that Jackson sought out and obtained propofol as a sleep aid long before Murray became his physician.

During the trial, his lawyers argued, it was Jackson who was ultimately responsible for his own death.

Wass, who visited Murray on Monday, noted that jurors were allowed access to smartphones and social media during the trial and were never sequestered.

"You don't go on Twitter without seeing something about Michael Jackson and the trial," she said. "I learned of Michael Jackson's death from Twitter."

Judge Michael Pastor in sentencing Murray called him a "disgrace to the medical profession."

“Michael Jackson died not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident,"  Pastor said. "He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Dr. Murray, not some mistake or some accident in the early morning hours of 2009."

He said Murray engaged in a "horrible cycle of medicine."

During the four-week trial, prosecutors painted Murray as a deceptive and incompetent doctor who abandoned his medical judgment in complying with Jackson's request to be given a surgical anesthetic to put him to sleep.

Witnesses testified to many egregious medical missteps -– giving propofol in an unmonitored setting, fumbling at basic resuscitation, keeping no records –- failures that experts said directly led to Jackson's overdose death.

While in jail, Murray has complained of unsanitary conditions but has also taken to trying to educate his fellow inmates. Murray is expected to serve several more months in jail but nowhere near the four-year sentence.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray listens as Judge Michael Pastor sentences him to four years behind bars for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. The image is a screen grab from pool video in Los Angeles. Credit: Pool