Mon November 7, 2011
Verdict Expected In Trial Of Michael Jackson's Doctor
Update at 4:16 p.m. ET: A California jury has found Dr. Conrad Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of pop icon Michael Jackson.
As the clerk read the verdict, Murray looked on with a blank stare. When the clerk said guilty, an emotional shriek was heard in the courtroom.
As the judge read the jury more instructions, the Houston cardiologist sat next to his counsel without any visible emotion. Television images showed that Jackson fans outside the court house rejoiced.
Murray faces up to four years in prison and the likely revocation of his medical license.
"The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture's most shocking tragedies the death of the King of Pop on the eve of the singer's heavily promoted comeback concerts," the AP writes in its first pass at the story.
The defense team argued Murray should be free on bail, while he awaits sentencing but the judge said he was a threat to public safety.
"This is not a crime involving a mistake of judgment," the Times quotes Pastor as saying. "This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being. That factor demonstrates rather dramatically that the public should be protected."
The AP reports a bit on the reaction of the Jackson family:
Members of Jackson's family, including his sister LaToya, wept quietly after the verdict was read. Mother Katherine Jackson later told The Associated Press, "I feel better now."
Asked if she was confident this would be the outcome, she said, "Yes I was."
La Toya Jackson told the AP she was overjoyed. "Michael was looking over us," she said on her way out of the courthouse.
Our Original Post Continues:
After a less than nine hours of deliberation a jury has reached its verdict in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused in the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson.
The verdict will be read at 4 p.m. ET. At issue here is whether Murray administered a deadly dose of the anesthetic propofol to Jackson. The defense argued that Jackson administered the the dose himself, while the prosecution argued that even if he did, Murray should have been more careful with the powerful medication, especially knowing the singer had taken a large dose of another sedative hours earlier.
Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter. If found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison and the likely the revocation of his medical license.
The seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated about six hours Friday and about two hours Monday. The panel did not ask any questions or request that any trial testimony be read back.
Jurors heard nearly a full day of closing arguments Thursday from attorneys from both sides.
An attorney for Murray told jurors Thursday that his client would never have been put on trial were it not for the pop star's celebrity. "Somebody's got to say it: If it were anybody else but Michael Jackson, if it were anybody else, would this doctor be here today?" defense attorney Ed Chernoff told jurors.
A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that the testimony of a renowned anesthesiologist in Murray's defense was "junk science." The harsh rebuke of the testimony of Dr. Paul White, a leading expert on propofol, came near the conclusion of the prosecution's closing argument.
We'll update this post when the jury reads its verdict.
Update at 4:08 p.m. ET. Stay Tuned:
The court is running a bit late; we're still awaiting the verdict. It is expected at any minute now.
Update at 3:59 p.m. ET. The Scene Outside:
As expected, a group of Michael Jackson fans has gathered outside of the courthouse. The Los Angeles Times reports that Jackson's family and Conrad have all arrived. The paper sets the scene:
Michael Jackson's parents, Joe and Katherine, and his brother Jermaine Jackson arrived about 12 p.m. to learn whether the jury found that the pop star's personal physician is responsible in his death.
The scene was chaotic, with hordes of media squeezing into the gathering crowd. One person in a Mercedes sports car drove by and held up a license plate that said "Love4MJ," prompting screams and cheers from Jackson fans. A man dressed as a cross between Uncle Sam and Elvis Presley yelled "This is it for Conrad Murray!" in reference to Jackson's ill-fated concert comeback tour.
The Times has live video of the verdict.