Manslaughter Hearing Underway for Michael Jackson's Doctor

Prosecutors argue that Conrad Murray acted with gross negligence while administering a sedative to the late pop star

Photo: Jason Redmond/AP

Prosecutors began preliminary testimony Tuesday morning against Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson by administering a lethal dose of a powerful sedative.

In a courtroom packed with Jackson family members, fans and reporters, prosecutors said that after Murray realized Jackson had stopped breathing, he waited between nine and 21 minutes before calling 911, while he covered up evidence that he improperly administered the powerful anesthetic Propofol to help Jackson sleep.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren also said in opening statements that Murray withheld from paramedics and from doctors at UCLA Medical Center that he had administered Propofol at all.

“In the opinion of medical experts, there were a number of actions by Dr. Murray that showed an extreme deviation from the standard of care,” Walgren said in court, where Kenny Ortega, the director of This Is It, also testified.

After approximately two weeks of testimony, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor will determine whether there’s enough evidence against the cardiologist to order a jury trial – which could be another year off.

Prosecutors say they will argue that Murray acted with gross negligence when he administered a lethal amount of Propofol to Jackson on June 25, 2009. Murray’s defense attorneys say they will use the hearing to try to better understand the prosecution’s case.

If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray, 57, could get four years in prison and lose his medical license. Murray, who is being held on $75,000 bail, also faces a civil trial over a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Jackson family.

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