Defence lawyer claims Michael Jackson administered lethal propofol dose himself

Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial gets underway

Michael Jackson took a lethal dose of the drug propofol when his doctor, Conrad Murray, was not in the room, according to defence lawyers.

Murray is on trial for causing the singer’s death by involuntary manslaughter. But in his opening statement, defence attorney Ed Chernoff claimed that nothing Murray could have done could have saved him.

Chernoff claimed yesterday (September 27) that Jackson took the painkiller in a desperate attempt to sleep in advance of his planned This Is It residency at London’s 02 Arena. Prosecutors claim that Murray administered the dangerous anaesthetic himself, without adequate safeguards, and then made botched recovery efforts when he found him unconscious, according to Billboard.

Prosecutor David Walgren spoke for more than an hour in his own opening statement, relying heavily on photographs and audio recordings. In a recording of a slurring Jackson speaking to Murray around six weeks before his death, the singer was heard saying:

We have to be phenomenal. 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.’

Walgren added that Jackson became dependent on Murray, saying: “That misplaced trust in Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life… He left him there, abandoned him to fend for himself.”

He told jurors that Murray deceived paramedics and emergency room doctors by not telling them he had been giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid. He also called the doctor inept and said he repeatedly deviated from the standard of care by leaving the singer alone while under sedation and not immediately calling 911 when he found the singer was unconscious.

Murray never called for emergency services himself, instead waiting more than 20 minutes to have one of Jackson’s bodyguards make the call. “Basic common sense requires 911 be called immediately,” he said. “Basic common sense. And we know that was not done.”

If convicted, Murray faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.