A prosecutor Thursday asked jurors to convict Dr. Conrad Murray of involuntary manslaughter for conducting what he called “an obscene experiment” that killed Michael Jackson.
During closing arguments in the nearly six-week trial, Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney David Walgren said that Murray was not so much a doctor to Jackson as an employee. As such, Murray provided a service: administering the dangerous anesthetic propofol all night, every night, in Jackson’s bedroom.
Walgren says that when the medical misadventure went awry on June 25, 2009 and Jackson stopped breathing, Murray delayed calling 911 so he could cover up the crime scene. Then, says the prosecutor, Murray withheld the fact that propofol was even involved from paramedics and emergency room doctors.
“Conrad Murray chose not to call 911 because he had other things on his mind – protecting Conrad Murray,” Walgren told the seven men and five women on the jury. “He knew of his guilt and he was intentionally giving false and misleading statements.”
It was an intense climax to the long-anticipated trial, and dozens of Jackson fans from around the world lined the courthouse hallway Thursday.
Inside Judge Michael Pastor’s courtroom, Jackson’s mother, Katherine and sister La Toya dabbed away tears as Walgren recalled the emotional impact of Jackson’s death on the pop star’s three children, who had been looking forward to seeing their father perform a 50-concert extravaganza in London.
“Paris screamed, ‘Daddy!’ as she broke down in tears. Prince had a shocked look on his face and was crying,” Walgren said. “This what Conrad Murray did not just to Michael Jackson, but to his children.”
Defense: This Isn’t Reality TV
But lead Murray defense attorney Ed Chernoff countered that the prosecution built a criminal case with no real evidence of a crime, and then tried to make the circumstances seem egregious, because the victim was a huge celebrity. He said there was ample evidence that Jackson gave himself extra doses of propofol and “a load of” the sedative lorazepam.
“They’re asking you to convict Conrad Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” Chernoff said. “We’ve been dancing around it for two years. If it were anybody [other] than Michael Jackson, would this doctor be here today?”
He also accused the prosecution of playing on the jury’s sympathies by unnecessarily identifying Jackson’s children and discussing their reactions. He also said they demonized Murray by forcing his attractive, young mistress to testify needlessly about how the propofol was shipped to her Santa Monica apartment.
“There’s no perfect villain and no perfect victim,” Chernoff said. “I want you to take this case away from Michael Jackson. Let’s put it in a psych hospital, into a hospital where a patient breaks into a cabinet; into a family situation where somebody overdoses. But if you’re going to hold Dr. Murray responsible, don’t do it because it’s Michael Jackson.”
“This isn’t reality TV, this is reality, and the decisions you make will affect real human beings and the people who love them.”
A verdict could come as soon as Friday.