The case of Michael Jackson’s doctor was placed in a jury’s hands on Thursday after contentious legal arguments over who was to blame for the superstar’s death.
In final statements delivered in a packed courtroom, a defense attorney cast Conrad Murray as a victim of Jackson’s celebrity, saying he never would have been charged with involuntary manslaughter if his patient was someone other than Jackson.
Prosecutor David Walgren portrayed Murray as a liar and greedy opportunist who put his own welfare before that of Jackson.
“Conrad Murray is criminally liable for the death of Michael Jackson,” he told jurors. “Not because it was Michael Jackson, but because Conrad Murray is guilty of criminal negligence.”
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor submitted the case to jurors after a full day of arguments and told them to begin deliberations yesterday.
If convicted, Murray could receive a minimum sentence of probation or a maximum of four years in jail. However, he would be unlikely to serve that much time because of jail overcrowding.
Earlier, Walgren, in a carefully structured argument enhanced by video excerpts of witness testimony, spoke of the special relationship between a doctor and patient and said Murray had corrupted it by giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
He ridiculed the defense theory that Jackson had injected himself with the fatal dose of the anesthetic and denounced the testimony of defense expert Paul White, who blamed Jackson for his own death.
Walgren told jurors the case is not complicated.
With only Jackson and Murray present in the singer’s room on the day he died, there are things that will never be known about his death, Walgren said, but he said it was clear that Murray, untrained in anesthesiology, was incompetent.