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LA courthouse crowded out but Jacko death doctor is a no show

THE media circus that swirled around Michael Jackson when he was alive rolled again as the doctor expecting to be accused of involuntary manslaughter over his death planned to turn himself in.

But Dr Conrad Murray's surrender was pre-empted by prosecutors who announced that charges would be filed next week.

Instead of the promised appearance by Dr Murray and his lawyers, the crowd of reporters and photographers gathered outside a Los Angeles courthouse got only a drenching from a rainstorm.

Cardiologist Dr Murray, Jackson's personal doctor during the singer's preparation for comeback concerts, has been under investigation since the 50-year-old pop star died on June 25 after being administered the hospital-strength anaesthetic propofol and sedatives at his rented mansion to help him sleep.

It is not clear what would have happened had Dr Murray arrived at the court yesterday without a case being filed.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said the events had no bearing on when the case would be filed. She released a terse statement saying prosecutors would be filing a case involving Jackson's death on Monday, but it did not name Dr Murray or specify the charges.

"The main thing is there's some paperwork that needs to be done. We're doing it and [the case] will be filed on Monday," Ms Gibbons said.

The doctor's legal team has said Dr Murray will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"We'll make bail, we'll plead not guilty and we'll fight like hell," said lead defence lawyer Ed Chernoff.

The strange chain of events -- which at one point saw reporters scramble from the court to nearby recreational grounds called Polliwog Park for a news conference that never happened -- fuelled intense speculation about what was going on behind the scenes.

The developments occurred against a background of reports that police wanted to arrest and handcuff Dr Murray, but that his lawyers were negotiating with the prosecution to avoid that.