A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that Michael Jackson’s doctor is responsible for his death and for leaving his children without a father.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren invoked Jackson’s children early in his closing argument, saying the superstar had them in mind in his final days and they were a driving force behind his planned series of comeback concerts.
“For Michael’s children, this case will go on forever because they do not have a father,” Walgren said. “They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray.”
Walgren also recounted for jurors how Jackson’s daughter Paris came upon Murray frantically trying to revive her lifeless father and screaming, “Daddy!”
The prosecutor urged jurors to convict Murray of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009. He repeatedly called Murray’s treatment of Jackson “bizarre” and said there was no precedent for the cardiologist giving the singer a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence in this case is overwhelming,” the prosecutor said after thanking the panel for its attentiveness throughout the case.
“Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray,” he said. “He trusted him with his life.”
Murray silently watched slides shown by the prosecutor during his presentation. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys will lay out his version of events after the prosecutor finishes his argument.
Throughout the trial, Walgren cast Murray as an inept, reckless physician who was distracted after giving the singer a powerful dose of the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
Walgren noted that Murray did not call 911 after finding Jackson unresponsive. Instead he called Jackson’s personal assistant, a decision the prosecutor said was just one of the doctor’s bizarre actions on the day the singer died.
“He knew his acts killed Michael Jackson,” Walgren said. “Maybe he’s panicked. Maybe he’s cleaning up … But he’s putting Conrad Murray first. He’s intentionally not calling 911. He’s intentionally delaying help that could have saved Michael Jackson’s life.”
The prosecutor also pointed out that Murray’s own phone records contradict his statement to police that Jackson was complaining about not being able to sleep in the hours before the doctor said he gave him propofol.
Murray was on the phone when the supposed complaints from Jackson were being made, Walgren said.
“What was so pressing that he just couldn’t care for Michael Jackson?” Walgren asked without giving jurors an answer.
The prosecutor also reminded jurors that Murray never mentioned to paramedics or emergency room doctors that he had been giving Jackson propofol for roughly two months before his death.
“That is consciousness of guilt,” Walgren said. “That is Conrad Murray knowing full well what caused Michael Jackson’s death.”
Walgren told jurors that Murray ordered more than four gallons of propofol and had it shipped to his girlfriend’s Los Angeles-area apartment.
Prosecutors say Murray was engaged in a lawful practice by giving propofol to Jackson but acted in a criminally negligent way by using the drug as an insomnia treatment without the presence of proper staff or medical equipment.
They also contend Murray botched resuscitation efforts, kept no medical records and lied to other medical personnel about his actions.
The majority of the witnesses and evidence was presented by prosecutors, who must convince the entire jury beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict Murray.
Walgren also referred to a recording of Jackson found on Murray’s cellphone in which the singer’s speech was slow and slurred. The prosecutor said it was not known why Murray made the recording but that it was made “by a doctor who will not keep a shred of medical records.”
Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff is likely to argue later in the day that Jackson was responsible for his own death and took a fatal dose of propofol when Murray left his bedroom.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor gave jurors instructions considering the evidence in the case and reminded them before Walgren began speaking that closing arguments are not evidence.
The seven-man, five-woman jury has listened attentively throughout the six-week trial that featured 49 witnesses and complex medical testimony. They also heard several audio recordings, including Murray’s lengthy interview with police detectives.
The jury did not hear directly from Murray, who opted not to testify in his own defense.
The doctor could faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if he’s convicted.