In Pictures: Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray denies manslaughter
Michael Jackson's doctor has appeared in court to deny a charge of involuntary manslaughter over the pop star's shock death.
Dr Conrad Murray, a cardiologist who was with Jackson when he died at his rented Los Angeles mansion, is accused of acting “unlawfully and without malice” in bringing about his death, according to a complaint filed by prosecutors.
Bail was later granted at $75,000.
The complaint said Murray acted “without the caution and circumspection required” when he administered a powerful sedative to the 50-year-old star in an effort to help him sleep.
If convicted, Murray faces as much as four years in prison.
Soon after the charge was filed, Jackson's mother and father, his brother Jermaine Jackson, and other family members arrived at the courthouse beside Los Angeles International Airport, where hundreds of reporters and Jackson fans were gathered outside.
“Looking for justice,” was all Jackson's father, Joe, had to say as he walked past a crowd of reporters and into the court house.
The charge had been expected — Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, had said earlier his client planned to surrender to authorities.
“We'll make bail, we'll plead not guilty and we'll fight like hell,” Chernoff said before the charge was filed.
Jackson had hired Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a strenuous series of comeback concerts in London.
Officials say the singer died after Murray administered the powerful general anaesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep.
Propofol is only supposed to be administered by an anaesthesia professional in a medical setting because it depresses breathing and heart rate while lowering blood pressure.
The American Society of Anaesthesiologists warned in 2004 that a doctor using propofol should have education and training to manage anaesthesia complications, be physically present throughout sedation and monitor patients “without interruption” for signs of trouble.
Rescue equipment “must be immediately available,” it said.
After reviewing toxicology findings, the coroner ruled Jackson's death a homicide caused by acute intoxication of propofol, with other sedatives a contributing factor.
According to court documents, Murray told police he administered propofol just before 11am on June 25 then stepped out of the room to go to the bathroom.
There is some dispute about what happened next. According to court filings, Murray told police that upon his return from the bathroom, he saw Jackson was not breathing and began trying to revive him.
But an ambulance was not called until 12.21pm and Murray spent much of the intervening time making non-emergency phone calls, police say.