Jackson 'dead before call for help'
Published 05/01/2011 | 05:00
Michael Jackson was already dead when his physician summoned help, a prosecutor revealed yesterday as the preliminary hearing into whether his doctor should be charged with involuntary manslaughter opened.
Prosecutor David Walgren said evidence would show that Dr Conrad Murray also tried to conceal his administering the powerful anaesthetic propofol to the pop superstar, ordering a bodyguard to collect items before paramedics were called.
Jackson died in June 2009 and authorities argue that Dr Murray gave him a lethal dose of propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of his rented mansion.
"The evidence will show through the expert testimony, by all accounts, Michael Jackson was dead in the bedroom at 100 North Carrolwood prior to the paramedics arriving," Mr Walgren said.
Dr Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, declined to give an opening statement.
At the end of the multi-day hearing, a judge will determine whether there is enough evidence for Dr Murray to stand trial. The Houston cardiologist has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have said he did not give Jackson anything that should have killed him.
The highly anticipated hearing opened with a bit of star power.
The prosecution's first witness was Kenny Ortega, a choreographer working on Jackson's final concert series and who later directed the concert film 'This Is It', which was based on rehearsal footage.
Mr Walgren said he would rely on Dr Murray's statements to police, as well as text messages, phone records and expert testimony to show the doctor should stand trial.
He said evidence would show Dr Murray waited at least 21 minutes to call for an ambulance and ordered a bodyguard to help him clean up evidence before summoning help. In the most favourable interpretation, Mr Walgren said Dr Murray waited at least nine minutes before calling paramedics.
He faulted the doctor for performing chest compressions during his attempt to resuscitate Jackson with one hand on his bed, rather than a hard surface as is generally required.
Mr Walgren also plans to call several experts whom he said would testify that "there are a number of actions displayed by Dr Murray that show an extreme deviation from the standard of care".
The prosecutor also said he would call a bodyguard who would testify that Dr Murray ordered him to collect items from Jackson's bedroom.