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Allegations stack up against the doc in Jacko death prelim hearing

By | Published on Friday 7 January 2011

Michael Jackson

So, Doctor Conrad Murray has been in court this week for a preliminary hearing regarding those allegations that it was his negligence that caused the death of Michael Jackson in June 2009.

As previously reported, it was a shot of the powerful anaesthetic Propofol, being used by the singer to help him sleep, that killed the late king of pop. Prosecutors will claim that Murray was negligent in administering that drug, and also that he failed to respond correctly once his patient went into cardiac arrest. The aim of this court hearing is to assess whether there is enough evidence against Murray for a full trial later this year.

Various allegations have been formally made this week, regarding Murray’s conduct, by those around Jackson in his final days. Yesterday two doctors from the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was taken after going into cardiac arrest, said that Murray failed to tell them about the Propofol shot when they specifically asked him what drugs the singer had received.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jackson security guard Alberto Alvarez, who was at the singer’s home when his heart failed, recalled how Murray had instructed him to remove various medicines from Jacko’s bedroom before paramedics arrived. The implied accusation is that Murray knew he had been wrong to administer Propofol to Jackson and that his first instinct, therefore, was to cover it up.

One of the UCLA doctors, Dr Richelle Cooper, was asked about Propofol during her testimony. She told the court that it was a commonly used anaesthetic in hospitals, employed during basic operations such as “fixing a broken bone or dislocated joint”, but she added: “I’ve never seen it used in a home setting”.

Other allegations made against Murray by various witnesses who have taken to the stand this week are that the doctor procrastinated before dialling 911 but then told paramedics he called them immediately, that he took and made various phone calls in the hour after giving Jackson the powerful sedative when he should have been monitoring his patient, that he couldn’t give UCLA staff any accurate information on what other drugs Jackson had taken when, and that he seemed a little confused as to what to do when it became clear the late king of pop’s condition was worsening.

According to CNN, one security man, Faheem Muhammed, recalled how Murray crouched next to his patient “in a panicked state” and asked the various staff members in the room: “Does anyone know CPR?” The implication, of sorts, being that perhaps Murray himself did not. Muhammed told the court: “We knew Dr Murray was a heart surgeon, so we were shocked”.

Murray’s legal rep Ed Chernoff has provided some possible explanations for some of the allegations being made – for example, suggesting at one point to Alvarez that perhaps his client asked the security guard to bag up various drugs in Jackson’s room with the intent of taking them to the hospital with him, rather than to hide them. Though most commentators seem to think that, even if many allegations can be answered with innocent explanations, the amount of claims that have been made this week provide more than enough evidence for a full trial.

With various members of the Jackson family in attendance, including his parents and sisters Janet and La Toya, the preliminary hearing is expected to run for most of next week too.