Michael Jackson's physician "is and remains dangerous," says the judge

By Howard Breuer and Mike Fleeman
Updated November 29, 2011 01:00 PM
National Photo Group

Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum penalty of four years behind bars for administering a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic to Michael Jackson.

“He violated the trust of the medical community, of his colleagues and of his patient,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, “and he has absolutely no sense of remorse, absolutely no sense of fault, and is and remains dangerous.”

Murray, 58, was convicted of manslaughter in the 2009 death of the pop star at age 50 as he was preparing for a major concert series in the U.K.

At a sentencing hearing, Jackson family attorney Brian Panish told the court, “We’re are not here to seek revenge. There is nothing that you can do today that will bring back Michael.” But the family joined the prosecution in seeking the maximum sentence.

As Panish spoke, Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson became teary eyed. Jackson’s brothers Randy and Jermaine and sister La Toya also were in the audience section.

Murray’s attorney Ed Chernoff, who had argued at trial that Jackson caused his own death by self-administering medication while Murray wasn’t looking, suggested Jackson wasn’t as vulnerable as prosecutors said.

“Michael Jackson was a drug seeker and he sought it out from Dr. Murray , who was wrong in providing it,” said Chernoff. “He sought it out from other doctors. He was a powerful, famous, wealthy individual, with lawyers, security and staff and advisors.”

Asking for probation rather than incarceration, Chernoff pointed to Murray’s good work before he treated Jackson and suggested the physician could do more for the community outside of jail.

But in a lengthy, blistering response, Pastor said Murray was “involved in a cycle of horrible medicine” and “engaged in a recurring continuous pattern of deceit, of lies.”

By administering propofol to help Jackson sleep, “He engaged in this money for medicine madness that simply is not going to be tolerated by me.”

Murray, who has been in jail since the verdict, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and will likely serve his time in a county lockup.

The prosecution also requested that Murray pay a staggering $100 million in restitution, the amount that Jackson’s estate estimated he would have earned had he completed the concert tour. That issue was postponed for a later hearing.

Murray didn’t address in court, but did say in a documentary interview conducted before the verdict, “I don’t feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong.”