Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Jackson jury to start deliberations

Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty

The case against the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson has been handed over to the jury, with deliberations set to begin on Friday.

The seven-man, five-woman panel were given the case after spirited, day-long closing arguments by a prosecutor and defence lawyer.

Prosecutor David Walgren urged the group to convict Dr Conrad Murray, arguing the Houston-based cardiologist was reckless with Jackson's life and left his children without a father when he gave the singer an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol.

Defence lawyer Ed Chernoff countered that Jackson injected himself with the fatal dose and prosecutors were trying to convict Murray for the actions of Jackson.

Murray, who denies involuntary manslaughter, faces up to four years in jail and the loss of his medical licence if he is convicted.

Mr Chernoff cast Murray as a victim of Jackson's celebrity, saying he would never have been charged with wrongdoing if his patient was someone other than Jackson. "If it was anybody else, would this doctor be here today?" Mr Chernoff asked during his closing argument.

Mr Chernoff said prosecutors had not proven that Murray committed a crime by giving Jackson doses of the anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid in the singer's bedroom. "They want you to convict Dr Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson," he said.

Earlier, during his closing argument, Mr Walgren projected images of Jackson's grief-stricken children on a giant screen and told jurors that Murray took away their father.

With Jackson's mother and siblings watching from the courtroom gallery, Mr Walgren showed a photo of Jackson at his last rehearsal before the picture of the three Jackson children - Prince, Paris and Blanket - at their father's memorial. He also reminded jurors of the scene in Jackson's bedroom when Paris came upon Murray frantically trying to revive her lifeless father and screamed, "Daddy!"

"For Michael Jackson's children this case goes on forever because they do not have a father," Mr Walgren said. "They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray."

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