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Jackson's doctor 'will face charges over singer's death'

Prosecutors investigating Michael Jackson's death plan are to charge the singer's doctor with involuntary manslaughter rather than seek a closed-door grand jury indictment, a source said.

The strategy shift would give an eager public an earlier look at evidence.

While there is no public timetable for charges to be filed against Dr Conrad Murray, there are strong indications the move is imminent.

Murray has been strategising with his team of defence attorneys and is ready to surrender to authorities if prosecutors file charges, the doctor's attorney said.

Murray, who has a practice in Houston, went to Los Angeles last weekend and spent yesterday afternoon meeting with his newly assembled team of three lawyers. The district attorney's office has not said if it will file charges, but lead defence attorney Ed Chernoff said Murray is ready for such a move.

"I haven't received any phone call from anybody asking for the doctor to surrender," Chernoff said. "If we get the call, we'll be happy to."

David Walgren, the deputy Los Angeles County district attorney handling the case, declined to comment.

Jackson, who died aged 50, hired Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a strenuous series of comeback performances in London.

His death on June 25 in Los Angeles came after Murray, tending to Jackson in the star's rented mansion, administered the powerful anaesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office, which ruled the death a homicide.

Propofol is only supposed to be administered by an anaesthesia professional in a medical setting. The patient requires constant monitoring because the drug depresses breathing and heart rate while also lowering blood pressure, a potentially deadly combination.

Murray, a cardiologist, has maintained from the outset that nothing he gave the singer should have killed him.