Video: 'Michael Jackson caused his own death with overdose' trial told in summing up
Published 04/11/2011 | 05:00
THE singer "paid with his life" for the criminal negligence of his personal doctor, prosecutors told a Los Angeles jury at the trial reaches an end.
Michael Jackson lived in a "pharmacological Never Never Land" in which he had easy access to an array of prescription drugs, it emerged during the trial of Dr Conrad Murray.
The singer died at the age of 50 at his rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25 2009 with a cocktail of sedatives and anaesthetics in his body.
Summing up for the defence, Dr Murray's lawyer Ed Chernoff told the jury:
“The prosecution are asking you to convict Conrad Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson.
“Somebody’s got to say it. If it was anybody else but Michael Jackson would this doctor be here today?”
He urged the jury to closely consider Murray's lengthy interview with police and said his words show he did not give Jackson the deadly dose.
The jury was sent out to deliberate on Thursday evening, and will formally start on Friday.
The court in Los Angeles heard the so-called King of Pop used the nickname "milk" for propofol - the powerful anaesthetic that killed him.
As well as taking the liquid drug, which is not meant to be a sleep aid, the star was given diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and midazolam (Versed) during a 10-hour period throughout the night and morning leading to his death.
During the trial Dr Steven Shafer, an expert on propofol, said it was almost unheard of to give the drug as a treatment for insomnia when normally it is used before surgery in hospitals.
He told the court: "We are in pharmacological Never Never Land here. Something that's only been done to Michael Jackson."
The expert said Murray, Jackson's personal physician, was more like a member of staff at Jackson's beck and call than a doctor.
"Conrad Murray said yes, and that is what an employee does," he said.
"And I do not see a difference between Conrad Murray saying yes to a request that Michael Jackson is making, and an employee who cleans the house agreeing to a request of Michael Jackson."
Another expert, Dr Nader Kamanger, told the jurors: "This cocktail (of drugs) was a recipe for disaster."
Asked by Murray's lawyer Michael Flanagan if propofol could have caused the star's death, he replied: "Absolutely. Absolutely."
At one stage during the trial, jurors were shown more than three dozen bottles of prescription medications to demonstrate the quantities of drugs kept for the star.
They were also played a recording of a drugged-up Jackson talking about his forthcoming shows.
"We have to be phenomenal," his slurred voice echoed around the court.
"When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life.
"Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world'."
Jackson was not the only American mega-star with an appetite for over-the-counter drugs.
Some of the most famous stars from the world of showbusiness have battled with addiction, and it cost some their lives.
Elvis Presley was hooked on painkillers, and the King of Rock and Roll died after years of drug abuse.
Heath Ledger, the Hollywood actor, died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and other prescription drugs in New York in January 2008.