Defence lawyer refused access to Michael Jackson's financial records in pre-trial

Dr Conrad Murray's lawyers claimed that Jackson was 'desperate' at time of death

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A defence lawyer in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray has claimed that the star's anguish over his finances led to him taking "desperate measures" that led to his death.

Attorney Edward Chernoff, representing Dr Murray asked a court during a pre-trial hearing to see Jackson’s financial records as part of key defence strategy.

Chernoff said: "The crux of the defence is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death. We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs."

However according to Billboard.com, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren accused the defence of trying to detract from the issue of whether Murray had acted negligently: "This is an irrelevant sideshow designed to take issues away from the jury and smear Michael Jackson. It has nothing to do with the case on which Dr Murray is being prosecuted."

Attorney Howard Weitzman, representing the late singer's estate, also opposed the request for financial records: "Is the theory that Michael Jackson committed suicide, took his own life?" he said incredulously. "I don't think that's a salable theory."

Judge Michael Pastor refused to grant the court access to the records. He said "I'm not going to turn an involuntary manslaughter trial into some kind of an escapade in analysis of the finances in Michael Jackson's entire life," Pastor said. "Right now this is major deep sea fishing."

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