Thursday 22 June 2017

Court hears haunting recording of slurring Jackson

Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles

ONCE more the haunting, disembodied voice of the late superstar Michael Jackson floated across a Los Angeles courtroom, whimsically promising to build a children's hospital.

The prosecution played the recording in which the singer is heard discussing his plans to build the hospital in a rambling, slurred conversation with the doctor charged with his death roughly six weeks before the entertainer died.

The recording was significantly longer than the clip played for jurors in opening statements last week. It ends ominously, with defendant Dr Conrad Murray heard asking Jackson whether he was OK after his voice trailed off.

"I am asleep," Jackson is heard saying.

Forensic computer investigator Stephen Marx told jurors hearing the involuntary manslaughter case against Dr Murray that the audio was recorded on May 10, 2009.

Jackson was heard telling Dr Murray that he wanted to build the hospital after his planned series of comeback concerts. The singer told the doctor that he was attempting to accomplish something that Elvis Presley and The Beatles did not.

"That will be remembered more than my performances," Jackson is heard saying. "My performance will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn't have a childhood. . . I feel their pain. I feel their hurt."

Earlier, Mr Marx said he found evidence that Dr Murray was checking emails on his phone in the hours before the singer's death.

Mr Marx, an investigator with the Drug Enforcement Administration, also testified that he found emails and attachments sent to Dr Murray containing medical records filed under the Jackson alias "Omar Arnold".

Prosecutors are trying to show that Dr Murray was distracted and juggling multiple tasks when he should have been monitoring Jackson on June 25, 2009, the day of his death.

Jurors heard on Tuesday from several women who called and texted the Houston-based cardiologist that morning.

Mr Marx said he also retrieved a voicemail message from Jackson's former manager, Frank Dileo, left five days before the star's death. Mr Dileo said Jackson had an "episode" the previous night but didn't elaborate.

Testimony

"I think you need to get a blood test on him," Mr Dileo said. "We've got to see what he's doing."

Mr Marx's testimony came as Dr Murray's trial moves into its "CSI" phase, when jurors will hear from investigators and detectives. The panel will also hear from Dr Murray, though it will be through a more than two-hour interview that police conducted with the doctor two days after Jackson's death.

Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty. He could face up to four years in jail and the loss of his medical licence if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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