Monday 21 August 2017

VIDEO: Girlfriend tells of doctor's busy schedule on day Jackson died

Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles

THE girlfriend of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death was called on by the prosecution yesterday to detail the physician's busy schedule on the day the singer died.

Nicole Alvarez was also asked to elaborate on her own interactions with the mercurial late King of Pop.

Ms Alvarez told the packed courtroom in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr Conrad Murray, that the doctor had first told her that he was Jackson's personal physician for a year before the singer's June 2009 death.

She beamed as she described meeting Jackson for the first time in Las Vegas, where Dr Murray maintains a medical practice.

"I was speechless," she said. "I couldn't believe I was meeting Michael Jackson."

She also said she and Dr Murray met Jackson several other times, including after the birth of the couple's young son.

Ms Alvarez said that after April 2009, Dr Murray would frequently leave her apartment at night and return early the next day. She said she knew Dr Murray was working as Jackson's personal doctor while the singer prepared for a series of comeback concerts.

Phone records displayed in court on Monday showed Murray called Ms Alvarez four times on the afternoon of Jackson's death in 2009, including once while he was in the ambulance with Jackson's lifeless body.

Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors are keeping jurors focused on the doctor's phone records from the day Jackson died.

Authorities contend he gave the singer a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol and other sedatives. Dr Murray's lawyers claim Jackson gave himself the fatal dose. If convicted, Dr Murray faces four years in jail and the loss of his medical licence.

Testimony on Monday was heavily centred on the calls Dr Murray made and received on the day Jackson died, with witnesses ranging from the Houston-based cardiologist's patients, a doctor seeking advice and a woman who had dated Dr Murray.

To this point, witnesses have been relatively brief, filling in prosecutors' timeline of the hours leading up to Jackson's death.

The phone records have revealed the relationship Dr Murray kept with his patients.

Houston-based Dr Joanne Prashad told jurors she called Dr Murray on the morning of Jackson's death to inquire whether it would be safe to operate on a patient whom Murray had treated.

Dr Prashad said she was surprised that Murray remembered the patient and the exact dosage of medicine that he was taking.

The records overall reveal a doctor who was on his phone a lot in the hours before Jackson's death.

Another former patient, Robert Russell, testified that the doctor had returned a phone message to him at 11.49am -- just 15 minutes or so before he emerged from Jackson's bedroom frantically seeking help.

He had been on the phone with his medical practice for 32 minutes before that, and was also sending emails about his $150,000 (€113,000) a month contract to serve as Jackson's personal physician.

Five of the eight witnesses called on Monday testified about Dr Murray's phone records.

Jurors also heard from two emergency room doctors who interacted with Dr Murray after Jackson was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead.

Both doctors said Dr Murray never mentioned giving Jackson propofol. Cardiologist Dr Thao Nguyen said Dr Murray did not provide much information about his treatment of Jackson, but urged doctors to try everything they could to revive him.

"Dr Murray asked that we not give up easily and try to save Michael Jackson's life," she said.

In the end, Dr Nguyen and colleague Dr Richelle Cooper told jurors, Jackson was dead by the time he arrived in the emergency room and nothing more could have been done.

Irish Independent

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