It’s one of the biggest trials of our time. Dr Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Michael Jackson. On June 25th 2009, MJ suffered from cardiac arrest and died of acute Propofol intoxication, a powerful drug nicknamed milk of amnesia.
He was 50 years old, on the brink of a history-making tour.
The trial taking place in LA will come under intense scrutiny from both the public and the media, as it is broadcast in real-time, online and on-air, in the weeks to come.
The trial began on Tuesday with opening statements from first the prosecutor David Walgreen and then the defense attorney Edward Chernoff.
– stated that the acts and omissions of Dr Murray led to MJ’s premature death at 50
– showed a grim image of MJ’s dead body while outlining their stance
– played a dramatic recording of MJ under the influence of Propofol in May. He sounded dazed, spoke painfully slowly and slurred most of his words. But his ambition could be heard:
“When people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. He’s the greatest entertainer of all time’… I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital. Biggest in the world. Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital.”
– stated, critically, that Dr Murray, when asked, never mentioned to emergency medical staff that he administered Propofol
The defense attorney then stated his opening in a far less decisive manner, stumbling here and there over the “science” and forgetting to mention parts he’d have to go back to. His points included:
– stating “we believe the science will show you that MJ did an act that caused his own death”; that he self-administered the fatal dose of Propofol, when Dr Murray had left his room
– outlining a breakdown of MJ’s character, saying he was putting everything into This Is It, for his children to see him perform, and that he was relying on it to be his “absolution”
– stating that MJ never was going to be able to do the O2 shows – and that no amount of talent would have helped him then – because he wasn’t fit and able to perform
– describing the relationship between Dr Murray and MJ, saying they were friends first. As he spoke Dr Murray appeared to be crying, dabbing his eyes and wiping his nose.
– stating that Dr Murray planned to wean MJ off of Propofol
The first two witnesses also took the stand. Kenny Ortega, director and choreographer, who co-created and co-directed, This Is It together with MJ, and co-CEO of AEG, the company that was staging the tour, Paul Gongaware. Both testified that Jackson seemed to be genuinely excited about the impending concerts.