Addiction Dispute Trial Marks Michael Jackson's Birthday
Michael Jackson's birthday coincided with the first hearing of his doctor's trial for manslaughter. The defense will portray the late star as a desperate drug addict.
Music legend Michael Jackson would have turned 53 yesterday, if not for his untimely death in 2009. While hundreds of fans and family members attended a 4-day celebration of the Prince of Pop's life in his birthplace of Gary, Indiana, some lawyers also mustered—for a preliminary hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court. It will determine whether jurors will hear the testimonies of 26 key witnesses in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray—the physician charged with Jackson's involuntary manslaughter through acute propofol poisoning. Defense witnesses ironically include those closest to Jackson, an inner circle summoned to paint the pop singer as a desperate addict, always "on the hunt" for the surgical anesthetic that killed him. Defense attorneys also wish to call more than ten medical professionals along with the host of confidants, who can “recount for Jackson’s use of and desire for propofol and other drugs.” But prosecutors point out that, “None of these individuals was caring for Michael Jackson on the night of June 24, 2009, or the day of June 25, 2009, and none of these doctors was present with Michael Jackson when he died of acute propofol intoxication.” They contend that, “the current case should focus on the events surrounding the medical care provided to Michael Jackson by Conrad Murray [and] should not be allowed to deteriorate into an unfair, unwarranted, and irrelevant attack on the deceased victim.” Encouragingly for the prosecution's aims, Judge Michael Pastor intends to keep the trial “limited to [the events that transpired] over only the last several days of the pop singer’s life.” Jury selection is set for September 8. Meanwhile the celebration of Jackson’s controversially curtailed life will continue on October 8 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, with “Michael Forever—The Tribute Concert.”
UPDATE: Judge Pastor excluded the testimony of more than a dozen defense witnesses—including a dermatologist, a business manager and a nanny who were employed by Jackson—saying their testimony about the star's drug use over two decades would "confuse" jurors.