Murray’s trial BEGINS
DAY 1. September 27
This is a place where we can collect all information about week 1 of the trial. First here are some links where we can follow the trial (some were provided by reader MOA):
The trial recorded:
Forums fan club & sites
Catherine M.Gross is inviting us to the Full Coverage of the trial – see her announcement for today’s program on the A Place In Your Heart Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/a-place-in-your-heart
1pm PST, 2pm Mountain, 3pm CST and 4pm EST
Beginning 9/28/11 until 10/28/11, we will cover the entire trial. It is up to us to put any other news outlet in check about how they portray Michael.We are going to stay on top of the entire trial, comments, and articles as well.
We have all heard that HLN, sister station to CNN, will cover the Conrad Murray trial from top to bottom. For them it is a race for ratings. For us, it is the matter of Michael Jackson’s legacy. The following is a statement from the “Hollywood Reporter”, regarding HLM.
The network had it’s highest-rated month ever in June, topping MSNBC in both primetime and total day numbers and also beat Fox News during their 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. blocks when most of the trial’s testimony occurred.
Next week, the network will attempt to replicate the ratings bump by returning to across-the-board coverage of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray (who is accused of causing the June 25, 2009 death of Michael Jackson), starting Sept. 27.
They will be watching their ratings, but we will be watching them…So, tune in for the truth.
* * * * *
Here are the first articles appearing in the press and my first impression of them
The little I’ve read of how Prosecutor David Walgren opened the case made me very wary of what they are doing.
They have started with showing a dead photo of Michael Jackson and playing twice an audio recording attributed to MJ (said to be recorded on Murray’s mobile telephone) where MJ is heard to speak in an extremely slurred way. In fact the voice doesn’t look like Michael Jackson’s at all – it is husky and low-pitched to the point of being a bass.
The idea of the prosecution was to show that Murray was to have been aware of what propofol was doing to him already on May 10, 2009 when the recording was made. Well, I don’t know…
This prosecutor’s method gives me a strange feeling – firstly, it doesn’t prove anything in respect of Murray’s intentions except that he was recording him for some reason in such a state and secondly, displaying the tape at the trial has in my opinion a very dubious value in terms of benefiting Michael Jackson.
I am beginning to doubt that we can rely on the prosecution for doing the right thing. Of course they are intent on putting Murray into jail but the cost at which they will do it is no small matter either – this way they can very well drown Michael on the way. I do hope that the first impression is wrong and that they are acting in Michael’s best interests. Whatever it is, it is clear that we are in for some surprises at this trial.
The media is already going into a frenzy over that tape. You cannot watch CNN (the only US channel I have) without it being broadcast every five minutes. Everyone looks exalted and squeaks with happiness that they can bash Michael in the old familiar style.
The only thing they are not saying is that even under the effect of propofol Michael was thinking of using his millions for making the biggest hospital for children:
[David Walgren – State Attorney]
- The evidence will reveal that this voice recording documents Michael Jackson highly under the influence of unknown agents with Dr. Murray evidently sitting nearby, evidently observing, maybe listening, but recording on his iPhone. What this evidence will reveal to you is Conrad Murray’s knowledge of Michael’s state on May 10th 2009. What this evidence will reveal to you is Conrad Murray’s knowledge of what he is doing to Michael Jackson on May 10th 2009. Over a month and a half before Michael Jackson dies as a result of this very treatment. You will hear the whole recording during this trial but I will play a clip now so you can have a taste of what Conrad Murray knew on May 10th 2009. Listen to the voice of Michael Jackson on May 10th 2009. (9:05 AM)
[Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)]
- We have to be phenomenal. When people leave the 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. I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital.
[David Walgren – State Attorney]
- That is what Conrad Murray is seeing and observing on May 10th 2009. And what does he do with that knowledge. What does he do with that information, on May 12th he orders another shipment of propofol and midazolam, again he orders 40 (May 12, 2009: 40 X 100 ml vials) of the 100 ml bottles of propofol just 2 days after that recording was made.
Dr. Raphael Gershon, Chief of Anesthesiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, was not in the least surprised by the slurred speech of MJ and just shrugged his shoulders saying that “he hears his patients talk like that every day” (evidently at a transition stage from being awake to sleep or vice versa, as under the full effect of propofol people cannot talk).
What is crucial though is that Dr. Gershon made a totally damning verdict on Murray. He said that it isn’t the matter of propofol per se as it is a very safe medicine to use in a proper setting – it is the matter of the “wrong person doing the wrong thing in the wrong way and in the wrong setting”.
I wish CNN showed the great interview with Dr. Raphael Gorshin not just once (as they did) but a hundred times – same as they did with a totally shameless Piers Morgan’s show where he looked utterly disappointed with Kathy Hilton saying only good things about Michael Jackson and totally exalted with Murray’s patients saying he is a great, honest and non-greedy doctor.
As we will learn in the first day of this trial this “honest and non-greedy” doctor asked for $5mln. a year as payment for his invaluable services and lied that he had four clinics to close if he accompanied him on a tour!
* * * * *
The opening statement by Chief Prosecutor David Walgren on September 27 comes in 13 parts following this part 1:
* * * * *
The first articles reported:
Tape of Jackson includes slurred words on concerts
by Anthony McCartney
Published: 09/26/11 10:11 am
LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors opened the trial of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death by playing an audio recording of the pop superstar slurring his words and talking about his upcoming concerts.
Prosecutor David Walgren told jurors the audio was retrieved from Dr. Conrad Murray’s cell phone. Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Jackson’s voice was unrecognizable on the recording. He was speaking slowly and Walgren described the singer as highly under the influence during the conversation.
It was the first time the audio was disclosed or played in public.
Walgren used the audio to bolster his point that Murray should have known better than to continue giving Jackson the powerful anesthetic propofol, which was cited as a cause of Jackson’s death.
Conrad Murray trial: Prosecutor plays tape of Jackson’s slurred words
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — During dramatic opening statements on Tuesday, jurors in the Conrad Murray trial heard tape of Michael Jackson slurring his words while talking about his upcoming concerts.
“The evidence in this case will show that Michael Jackson literally put his life in the hands of Conrad Murray,” Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told jurors.
The recording was made by Murray on his iPhone, and the prosecution alleged Jackson was under the influence of some kind of drug at the time of the recording on May 10, 2009.
Jackson is heard saying he wanted those who came to his comeback concerts to say, “I’ve never seen nothing like this before … he’s the greatest entertainer in the world.” Most people in the courtroom were visibly stunned after the recording was played.
Prosecutors were able to play the recording twice to the courtroom because of an audio issue.
“It was the perfect time for the prosecution for a technical glitch because it gives them an opportunity to play that tape twice in front of the jury,” said attorney J. Christopher Smith. “It’s all about trying to influence the jury as early as you can to get on your side of the case.”
Jurors also saw two pictures of Jackson side by side: one of Jackson at rehearsal the day before he died, and one of Jackson’s lifeless body.
Walgren described the moments leading up to Jackson’s death, and how Murray was on his phone several times before the death, but he didn’t call 911 for 24 minutes after he discovered something was wrong with the pop star.
Jackson died suddenly on June 29, 2009, at the age of 50, and prosecutors accuse Murray of administering a deadly dose of the powerful sedative propofol to Jackson and then failing to properly monitor him.
“That misplaced trust in Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life,” Walgren said.
Many of Jackson’s family members were present in the courtroom, including Jackson’s father Joseph, mother Katherine, sisters LaToya and Janet, and brothers Jermaine, Randy and Tito.
Outside the courthouse, hundreds of journalists and fans crowded around the building. Some showed up to condemn Murray, holding signs that read, “Doctors are expected to heal not kill.”
“If Conrad Murray left a sleep-deprived, propofol-demanding Michael Jackson in a room with propofol, it’s exactly the same as leaving a pyromaniac in a room with matches,” said Dr. Barry Friedberg, an anesthesiologist.
Some showed up to condemn Murray, holding signs that read, “Doctors are expected to heal not kill.”
But Murray did have a few supporters in the crowd, including William Hampton, who blamed Hollywood for destroying Murray’s life.
“We want all doctors treated fairly,” he said.
Prosecution will call director and choreographer Kenny Ortega and AEG’s co-CEO Paul Gongaware to testify Tuesday because they were in close contact with Jackson before his death.
Trial is expected to last five weeks, with Oct. 28 being the estimated last day.
As was expected the defense is claiming that Michael self-administered propofol. Ed Chernoff said that Michael had an absolutely, total and thorough inability to sleep (poor Michael!):
Sep 27, 2011
Defense: Michael Jackson ’caused his own death’
By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
The trial of Conrad Murray, singer Michael Jackson’s doctor, for involuntary manslaughter has begun in Los Angeles.
We will be liveblogging.
Prosecutors charge that Murray, 58, gave Jackson a lethal dose of the sedative propofol, which the singer used as a sleeping aid, on the night he died in June 2009.
Murray’s defense team argues that the singer had given himself too much of the drug.
Update at 2:42 p.m.ET: The defense attorney said Jackson “had an absolutely, total and thorough inability to sleep.”
Update at 2:33 p.m. ET: Seated in the courtroom, Murray brushes away tears as his attorney describes events on the morning Jackson died. Correction: The Los Angeles Times says Murray breaks down in tears “as his lawyer describes his work with the poor” before he took a $150,000 a month job with the singer.
Update at 2:32 p.m.ET:“There was no CPR, there was no doctor, no paramedic, no machine that was going to revive Michael Jackson,” Chernoff tells jurors. “He died so rapidly, so instantly, he didn’t even have time to close his eyes.”
Update at 2:28 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Ed Chernoff says that when Murray had left Jackson’s bedroom the morning that he died, the singer “self-administered a dose of propofol” on top of eight other pills and “caused a perfect storm in his body that killed him instantly.”
Update at 12:35 p.m. ET: The prosecutor says propofol “is not a sleep aid or sleep agent, it is a general anesthetic.”
He says it is a “wonderful drug if used by someone who knows what he is doing, who knows the dangers as well as the benefits.”
Update at 12:27 p.m. ET: In opening statements, the prosecution charges that Murray “repeatedly acted with gross negligence, repeatedly denied care appropriate to his patient…”
The prosecution argues that it was “Murray’s repeated incompetent and unskilled acts that led to Mr. Jackson’s death.”
“Acts and omissions of his directly led to his (Jackson’s) premature death at the age of 50,” the prosecution tells jurors.
* * * * *
Here is Larry Nimmer’s first day video
* * * * *
On June 19, 2009 he saw Michael so unwell that it caused his concern. “Something was going on, he was troubled. He was chilled, he appeared lost, a little incoherent… there was something wrong”. Kenny offered him food, put a blanket round him and a heater, in a room, next to him. Michael asked him “Can I sit and watch the rehearsal?” This sounded to me like asking for a permission, though Ortega said that both of them were co-editors and co-producers and that it was Michael who “always had the final word”. Didn’t look like it judging by that question….
Ortega tried to talk to Murray on the phone but was unable to reach him. Michael didn’t rehearse that day and watched the rehearsal for under two hours, approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. Kenny had never seen him like that and suggested he leave. Michael agreed.
When asked “Did you express your concern?” he said “Yes” and when asked to whom he expressed it Kenny replied he had sent an email to Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live promoter on June 20 at 2.04 am the same night while he was still at the facility. The email was shown to the jury and Kenny read it outloud.
Its content confirms my worst suspicions about the way Michael was treated by AEG . CNN mentioned the report once or twice but as it could be expected they omitted the crucial parts like “tough love” or “now or never card” Michael was presented with by both Ortega and Phillips some time prior to the 19th of June rehearsal:
I will do whatever I can to help with this situation. If you need me to come to the house just give me a call in the morning. My concern is, now that we’ve brought the Doctor into the fold and have played the tough love, now or never card is that the Artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real, emotional stuff. He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a visible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says that he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light, it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing. I was told by our Choreographer that during the Artist’s costume fitting with his Designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight. As far as I can tell there is no one taking responsibility (caring for) him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him, wrapping him in blankets to warm his chills, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor. There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea. Finally, it is important for everyone to know, I believe he really wants this. It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if I was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy. There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.
Late in the morning or early afternoon on June 20 Ortega’s assistant told him that a call had been received (from whom?) asking Ortega to attend a meeting at Michael’s home. He assumed it would be about the incident the night before.
When he arrived at Michael Jackson’s house Randy Phillips, Frank Dileo, Conrad Murray and Michael were already there. Murray was upset that Ortega hadn’t let Michael to rehearse and sent him home. He told him to stop playing an amateur doctor or psychologist and told him to leave Michael’s health to him. He assured him that Michael was physically and emotionally capable to handle all his responsibilities for the show:
- “He was upset that I didn’t allow Michael to rehearse the night before and that I sent him home. He said I should stop trying to be an amateur doctor and psychologist and be the director and allow Michael’s … health to him. I said it wasn’t my choice. It was Michael’s request to sit out and watch the show and I felt that was a far safer place for him to be.”
Ortega said Murray assured him, sternly, that “Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all of his responsibilities for the show.” Let us also note that it was Michael’s request to sit and watch the show and not a mere decision of his.
- “I was shocked. Because Michael didn’t appear to me to be physically or emotionally stable, at that moment. I said to Michael, ‘Michael, please tell the doctor that’s not the way it went down & that this was something we agreed on together,’ and Michael said, ‘Yes.’ I told him I loved him. I was concerned for his health and safety. He said, I’m fine Kenny, I promise you.’ He gave me a hug.”
Ortega’s portion at that meeting lasted some 10 minutes and he left before the meeting closed. The reason for his part being so brief is that he was called for that purpose only.
After the meeting the next rehearsal was only on Tuesday, June 23 or two days later, as the show was moving to the Staples Center. The rehearsal was great, same as the rehearsal on June 24:
- “He entered into rehearsal full of energy, fill of desire to work, full of enthusiasm. It was a different Michael. I asked him if he was happy and he said he was very happy. He felt like we were accomplishing the dream.”
Some of Prosecutor David Walgren’s questions were centered on the mood of Michael Jackson during those last days – which, in view of the defense’s claims that Michael “self-injected” propofol (in other words “committed suicide”), is very important.
The mood was great, says Ortega. Michael was excited, involved and was a full participant in all areas of production. On June 25 some stage illusions were planned and Michael was looking forward to take part in them – he loved illusions and was excited about a special apparatus for creating them arriving the next day.
Walgren showed two episodes from This is it documentary and established that “The way you make me feel” was performed in Staples Center on June 23d [Michael was full of energy during that rehearsal] and on June 24th the last song Michael peformed on stage was Earth Song. [I noticed that Michael was wearing very warm clothes that summer day – one on top of the other].
Following the Earth song Michael stepped off the stage and joined Ortega and together they watched the rest of the rehearsal. Travis Payne stepped on stage instead of Michael and they ran “Heal the world” so that Michael could look at the light and scenic elements of staging. My personal opinion is that in that part of the rehearsal Michael was very tired and looked listless.
Ortega sighed with relief when the examination by Walgren was over, however Chernoff gave him a harder time. He noted that there was not one but two meetings at Michael’s home and Ortega replied that he was only aware of it. It was a result of the first meeting that Murray was made responsible for scheduling his time. Who gave Murray orders to make those schedules Ortega “has no idea of”.
The first meeting was called after Michael had missed some rehearsals and the “playing the tough love” phrase refers to the resolution of that meeting. In between the two meetings there was a series of conversations between Ortega, Randy Phillips and Paul Gangaware. Frank Dileo was not involved.
Chernoff questioned Ortega about the June 19 rehearsal (when Michael was wrapped in a blanket) and asked him if he thought that MJ might have been on drugs and Ortega said yes.
Chernoff also asked if Ortega remembered that it was him who read Michael “the riot act” according to Karen Faye and wondered if he indeed told her not to placate Michael. Ortega said that he was not sure of the word and then said “No”:
- “Did you tell Karen Faye not to placate Michael Jackson?” – “No”. [Ortega was visibly confused].
Chernoff’s further questions were evidently an attempt to show that though Michael was a co-director of the show, his request for a Ortega’s permission to sit and watch the rehearsals ran counter to Michael’s declared position of the boss of the show. I fully agree that Ortega is telling us only half-truth here:
Chernoff to Ortega:
– He was the boss?
– It was his show?
– This was his time?
Walgren to Ortega:
– Who had the last word?
The question arises – if Michael was the boss why did he have to ask for Ortega’s permission not to sing and dance that day? Do you remember his request beginning with “Can I….?”
Closer to the end of the cross-examination Ortega said that when Michael didn’t attend the rehearsals they didn’t record them. Ortega’s said the video tapes were made at Michael’s request. The explanation is strange because if Michael needed the recordings to monitor the show he would have wanted to see its progress when he wasn’t present.
Chernoff said each tape had a date on it and since Ortega edited the film for two months while making “This is it” he should have been able to at least recall the date when they moved to the Staples Center? Ortega said he didn’t remember.
The very last piece of information from Ortega was that on June 18 Michael missed the rehearsal and had been missing rehearsals for about a week before that (several rehearsals according to an earlier version). The rehearsals missed earlier evidently resulted in the first meeting when they “brought the doctor into the fold” and threatened Michael to pull the plug.
This makes me return to the events prior to June 19th and Ortega’s e-mail sent to Randy Phillips that night. Let us have a closer look at the timeline:
- Thursday, June 18th – the rehearsal missed. If Michael was indeed away for about a week, this should take us to around June 11th (the approximate date of the first meeting).
- Friday, June 19th – a rehearsal at the Forum (the stage prior to the Staples Center). Michael had chills, was under a heavy stress and Ortega sent him home.
- Saturday, June 20th – a meeting in Michael’s house. A riot act is read by Ortega according to Karen Faye. He didn’t confirm it though. He also sounded confused over that point and I didn’t understand what he replied.
- Sunday and Monday, June 21st and 22nd there were no rehearsals as they were moving to the Staples Center. Ortega couldn’t clearly name the date when they moved there.
- Tuesday, June 23 Michael appeared at the rehearsal strong, excited and determined to work.
- Wednesday, June 24. Another very good rehearsal before the last day of June 25.
Ortega’s email (sent early morning June 20th to Randy Phillips) started with “now that we have brought the Doctor into the fold”. When asked what it meant Ortega explained that Murray had started creating a daily schedule for Michael so that he could attend the rehearsals. When Prosecutor asked him about ‘tough love” he somehow avoided a direct answer and the matter was dropped to my big surprise, but was resumed by Chernoff whom I didn’t expect to talk about it at all.
During cross-examination they make it clear that the schedule was made as a result of the events prior to that –Michael missied several rehearsals and “someone” asked Murray (and not Michael’s personal assistant Michael Amir) to make a schedule for him. Chernoff asked why Michael was missing the rehearsals, “Was he tired or lazy?” and Ortega again avoided a direct answer (or I probably missed it) and just said that he discussed the matter with Randy and Paul Gongaware.
Though he tried not to touch upon the first meeting, he agreed that his email referred to the resolutions taken there and that things “got serious at the time about coming to the rehearsals”.
I hope things will become clearer to us if we read Ortega’s email once again:
- “My concern is, now that we’ve brought the Doctor into the fold and have played the tough love, now or never card is that the Artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real emotional stuff”. [They have declared a sort of an ultimatum to him before that, required Murray to take care of his scheduling, but the only result of their effort was that Michael became extremely nervous and unable to work]
- “He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a visible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says that he should be psychologically evaluated”. [Ortega realizes that they “overdid” it – Michael could not work in such an atmosphere and was paralyzed by it. A more favorable psychological climate is needed]
- “If we have any chance at all to get him back in the lights it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him get him through this as well as strong physical nurturing”. [The situation is so bad that they need to replace Murray with a much better doctor]
- “I was told by our Choreographer that during the Artist’s costume fitting with his Designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight”. [The first time we hear it. Does it mean they never noticed the problem with his weight before?]
- “As far as I can tell there is no one taking responsibility (caring for) him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him, wrapping him in blankets to warm his chills, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor. There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea”. [This is absolutely outrageous! No one was attending to Michael’s needs! Ortega even called the doctor but to no avail! There was no doctor, no help, no care, no nothing! And this in spite all that Murray’s “scheduling” and his stern replies about everything being under control?]
- “Finally, it is important for everyone to know, I believe he really wants this”. [ We’ve already heard that AEG thought Michael was faking illness to avoid concerts explaining it by his ill health. Earlier they even said that he was taking medicine to “make himself ill” in order to go to hospital. So this is what they were thinking of Michael all along]
- “It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug”. [ So by June 19th Michael had already been threatened by Randy Phillips that AEG would pull the plug! This was what that ~June 11th meeting was all about. Was it when the riot act read out then?]
- “He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if I was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence”.[This is what I’ve saying all along. Michael feared that he would involuntarily give them a pretext to “pull the plug” and was frightened of such a possibility].
- “It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy”. [Ortega appeals to Phillips not to be that harsh on Michael]
- “There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs”. [ Michael needs help and Ortega asks Phillips to provide it. He is not sure Michael will manage but he might if they stop pressurizing him, find a doctor and give him the necessary care he needs. Probably psychological help too. We know what reply was given by Murray in the presence of his boss Randy Philips – Ortega was told to mind his own business]
So everything in this email refers to the events prior to that June 19th rehearsal and even to the meeting that took place a week before it.
At about June 11th they made a sort of an ultimatum to Michael (a riot act?). Michael’s “partners” treated him there so harshly that he got extremely nervous, began losing weight and practically fell ill. This was evidently when they told him they would pull the plug.
A week passed and on June 19th Michael was in a terrible state. On June 20th they discussed it and no one paid attention to Ortega’s warnings about Michael needing help.
The only thing which Murray did was to prescribe Michael Diazepam (Valium) to be taken 1/2 to 1 pill every 6 hours in order to relieve his psychological pressure (or 2-4 pills a day).
We find information about his June 20th prescription in the Coroner’s report listing all medicines found in Michael’s house.
WIKI says about these medicines (which are provided here in a chronological order):
Temazepam is an intermediate-acting 3-hydroxy benzodiazepine. It is mostly prescribed for the short-term treatment of sleeplessness in patients who have difficulty maintaining sleep (prescribed by MURRAY, Dec. 2008).
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug having anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, and anxiolytic properties (METZGER, April 18, 2009).
Trazodone is an antidepressant which also has anxiolytic, and hypnotic effects (METZGER, April 18, 2009).
Lorazepam is a high-potency short-to-intermediate-acting 3-hydroxy benzodiazepine drug that has all five intrinsic benzodiazepine effects: anxiolytic, amnesic, sedative/hypnotic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant (MURRAY, April 28, 2009)
Tizanidine (Zanaflex) is a drug that is used as a muscle relaxant. It is used to treat the spasms, cramping, and tightness of muscles. (KLEIN, May 7, 2009).
Diazepam, first marketed as Valium is a benzodiazepine drug. It is commonly used for treating anxiety, insomnia, seizures including status epilepticus, muscle spasms, restless legs syndrome, benzodiazepine withdrawal. (MURRAY, June 20, 2009).
Valium was prescribed on June 20th or the day of the meeting in Michael’s house.
This was probably the only conclusion they drew from Ortega’s frantic email message and the dramatic events prior to it.
* * * * *
DAY 2, September 28
The next day Jermaine’s tweet was circulated in the media:
- Today has been very distressing for all of us, and I’d like to thank you for your prayers at this horrible time. I would also like to remind some in the media that the voice recording of Michael does not show/prove he was “an addict” — and this leap to agree with the defense is unfair and inaccurate. The prosecution said my brother “was under the influence of UNKNOWN agents” at the time of that recording by Murray. That some people, Jane Valez Mitchell HLN and Ted Rwlands CNN, make statements saying this shows my brother to be “a drug addict” is not what was said in court re that recording. Events are upsetting enough without correspondents adding their own interpretation (or back-dating events to 1993). No-one can rule out the prospect that Michael was groggy because of something administered to make him relax/sleep. That does make him an addict. I would also add that Murray was by his side “observing” as well as recording so it can have nothing to do with drug dependency because Murray’s case is that he was unaware of any drug dependency. One more reason why “addict” is a leap to assumption in these circumstances. Some networks need to make this distinction clear and correct this imbalance. Bottom line: Michael did not kill Michael.
* * * * *
Paul Gongaware said he previously worked with Michael Jackson on the Dangerous tour in 1991/92 and History tour in 1996/97 , however at that time Gongaware represented a different company.
By the year 2011 Gongaware has been employed by AEG for something like eleven years and this means he joined AEG sometime in 2000 or after those two Michael Jackson’s tours.
I am drawing your attention to this point as it would be a mistake to think that one and the same person will behave in the same way under different leadership. However Michael could have trusted this person more than anyone else from the other side, as he had worked with him before – and this is where the danger was.
Paul Gongaware said he was mainly responsible for scheduling the shows and ticketing activities and that the tickets for all shows were sold out instantaneously – they started with 10 first and then added 21. He said that altogether “they contracted 31 shows” and this number came up as Michael wanted to beat Prince’s record of 21 at the O2 Arena.
Please note that Gongaware did not even pretend that Michael had ever agreed to 50 shows. The number of 50 was of course mentioned as this was what they sold tickets for. They also had further plans after that – when the prosecution asked Gongaware if there was “an intention that it might be more than 50 shows”, he said “Yes”.
However AEG’s contract says that even the number of 31 was not finally agreed between the parties. The text says that the Artist’s company only “pre-approves up to thirty one shows” and “in no event shall the number of shows performed by the Artist be less than eighteen shows”. The document’s last page also says that they are still to “negotiate the definitive agreement” in the future, so all these numbers were only preliminary.
I don’t know how Gongaware would know the number of shows at all as during his testimony he said a thing you won’t believe – he said that he, as the Co-Chief Executive Officer of AEG Live, hadn’t read the final contract between Michael Jackson and his company AEG Live!
To all questions of the Defense whether he “had a chance to see the complete contract” and was “involved in the making of the contract between his company and Michael Jackson or “had personal information about its clauses” Gongaware said “No, No, No”.
Funny, isn’t it? Though when he says he didn’t read the final contract I believe him, as there is simply no such thing as a final contract between AEG and Michael Jackson – you can find several posts on this issue in this category of the blog.
Another funny thing is that the fact of AEG Live’s own Chief Executive Officer being unfamiliar with his contract is not publicized by the media in any way.
Information about Gongaware’s testimony is very scarce and the little they publish is mostly about Conrad Murray asking for $5mln. as his annual payment and Michael finally offering him $150,000. Murray agreed after learning from Gongaware that the offer “was coming directly from the artist”.
The figure of $5mln. is indeed impressive as it shows how terribly ‘non-greedy’ Conrad Murray was. You also remember that he motivated the sum by saying he was to close four of his clinics (which number I hear he didn’t have). And even if he did he intended to continue to manage his practice as a letter Murray sent to his patients said.
However even this impressive news about Murray should not distract us from the fact that the Co-CEO of AEG Live did not see the final contract with Michael Jackson (as he probably did not have it ).
* * * * *
I’ve just listened to the testimony of Kathy Jorrie, a lawyer who was involved in making a contract between Michael Jackson and AEG and who was subpoenaed to this trial as she also drafted a contract between Murray and AEG.
I am astonished to find that it was Flanagan who asked her some questions I was wondering about. There is something uncanny in all of us dancing around one party to that deal which is not explicitly named here but which is one of the main participants in the events.
Frankly, I cannot yet understand who is more interested in bringing AEG into the picture – Prosecution or Defense. The Defense seems to be more intent on that, so I am realizing with some surprise that it is Murray’s side which is asking the questions about AEG I am so interested in. Nice company to find oneself with…
The business part of Kathy Jorrie’s testimony is very much different from what I was led to believe by the two versions of Murray’s contract found in the attachments to Joe Jackson’s suit (discussed here).
She first tried to pass Murray’s contract for a contract between Murray and Michael Jackson. A little later though it transpired that the contract was between Murray and AEG, and Michael Jackson was just “giving his consent to AEG to sign the agreement between AEG and Murray” by adding his signature on the last page of their contract (which he didn’t).
She said she started working on Murray’s contract in the later part of May (Murray says he attended to MJ since May 1, 2009).
The first draft was not complete until June 15 and she said the reference to May 1 as the beginning of Murray’s term of services was because the contract had a retroactive power.
After Conrad Murray studied it and asked for some provisions to be revised a second draft was prepared on June 23 and Murray signed it the next day. This is different from what we knew before as previously we heard from Murray that he never saw the contract until the end of June.
Kathy Jorrie said she had a couple of telephone conversations with Murray between those two dates (June 15th- June 23d). I even gathered that Michael Jackson was shown the contract, probably the final variant of it (though over here I probably misunderstood her).
The way Kathy Jorrie describes it you are led to believe that signing the contract with Murray was delayed due to Murray’s corrections to it, therefore he himself is responsible for the fact that Michael Jackson had no time to sign it. Since the contract was not signed “by all the required parties” (AEG and Michael) it didn’t come into effect and this is why Murray was not paid. So Murray is himself to blame for the fact of non-payment to him. Interesting logic but not totally impossible.
The Defense pointed to the fact that the term of Murray’s services was to start on May 1, however Jorrie replied that the term wouldn’t commence until the contract was signed and despite all the fun of such demagogy it might indeed be true.
And then the Defense asked the crucially important question to which Kathy Jorrie gave an answer which shows that AEG knew much more about propofol than they would like to admit.
See how it was found out:
- Kathy said that she had NOT talked to Murray before making the 1st draft contract and was preparing it on the basis of the guidelines given to her by Timm Wooley of AEG
- she also said that the very first draft already contained a point about the need for resuscitation equipment
- the Defense asked her how she knew that this point was to be included in the contract if Murray hadn’t talked to her before that
- to that she replied in some confusion that she was informed about the need for it by Timm Wooley of AEG
- her exact answer was: “It was in the list of equipment provided by Timm”
- and this means that it wasn’t Murray who asked for that equipment as we were previously told
- it was AEG who from the very start of it knew that the equipment should be there. And most probably also knew what that equipment was needed for.
Atty says Murray requested CPR machine for Jackson concert
Promoter says Jackson looked healthy at rehearsal
Updated: Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011, 12:39 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011, 10:32 AM MDT
ANTHONY McCARTNEY and LINDA DEUTSCH, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney for the promoter of Michael Jackson’s final concerts said Wednesday the singer’s personal physician asked the company for life-saving equipment just days before the pop superstar’s death.
Kathy Jorrie, who works for concert giant AEG Live, testified at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray that she questioned some of the doctor’s requests, which also included the possibility of hiring a second doctor to assist him.
“Dr. Murray told me Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition,” Jorrie testified.
She said Murray told her not to worry about Jackson’s condition.
“He’s great,” she recounted the doctor telling her in a conversation the day before Jackson’s death.
Murray asked for a CPR machine in case one wasn’t available at the concert venue at London’s O2 arena, Jorrie explained.
Prosecutors allege Murray caused Jackson’s death by providing him with a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives without the proper lifesaving equipment or skills.
Other testimony came from Jackson’s former personal assistant, Michael Amir Williams, who recounted a 35-second phone conversation with Murray on the day Jackson died.
“He said ‘Get here right away, Mr. Jackson had a bad reaction. Get somebody up here immediately,'” Williams told the jury.
He said the doctor never told him to call 911 or described Jackson’s condition.
Williams said he arrived at Jackson’s mansion just as the singer was being loaded into an ambulance. He saw Murray, who he described as “frantic.”
Earlier in the day, a promoter told jurors that Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for the highly anticipated comeback concerts.
Paul Gongaware, an executive for AEG Live, said Jackson seemed engaged and energetic during the rehearsal just two days before he died.
Prosecutors called Gongaware to demonstrate the importance of the concerts and in an apparent attempt to show that both the singer and his physician were deeply engaged in preparations for the show before Jackson died on June 25, 2009.
Gongaware also testified that he saw Murray at one of Jackson’s rehearsals after people affiliated with the planned concerts complained that the singer had been missing some of the sessions.
Prosecutors wrapped up their direct questioning of Gongaware before defense attorney Ed Chernoff briefly questioned the executive.
Under the cross-examination, Gongaware acknowledged AEG is being sued by Jackson’s mother for negligent supervision of Murray when he worked with Jackson.
Jorrie also testified about drafting a contract for Murray to work as Jackson’s personal physician.
At one point in negotiations, Murray requested his contract be modified to allow him to hire another physician in case he was tired or unavailable while Jackson was performing in London, she testified.
“He wanted to make sure that there was somebody else available to be of assistance,” Jorrie said.
In opening statements Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said Murray delayed summoning emergency crews and lied to doctors and medics when he failed to reveal he had been giving Jackson the medications to try to help the entertainer sleep.
Chernoff claimed Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of medication in a desperate attempt to get some sleep.
He said Murray had been trying to wean Jackson off propofol, but the entertainer kept requesting it on the day he died.
“Michael Jackson started begging,” Chernoff said. “When Michael Jackson told Dr. Murray, ‘I have to sleep. They will cancel my performance,‘ he meant it.”
Prosecutors rejected Murray’s version and told jurors the Houston-based cardiologist also had a tremendous stake in Jackson appearing in the concerts.
The doctor had initially asked to be paid $5 million a year for working with Jackson, but Gongaware said he immediately rejected the proposal. Instead, Murray accepted an offer to become Jackson’s doctor for $150,000 a month — a sum he was never paid because his contract hadn’t been signed before Jackson’s death.
Murray has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and have to relinquish his medical license.
On June 25 at 12.13 he first heard from Murray when he typed him (and he had time for it?) a frantic message: Please call me right away. When Williams called him back Murray asked him: “Where are you?”
Williams said “I am in downtown”.
“Get here right away. He had a bad reaction!”
When they were already at the hospital Murray came up to Williams and said there was “some cream Michael wouldn’t want the world to know about.” Murray asked him to drive him to the home so he could retrieve the “cream.”
After checking with MJ’s head of security, Faheem Muhammad, the two decided not to let Murray back into the house.
He also asked Williams give him a ride as he was hungry and wanted to get some food.
Chernoff pointed out that Williams never told police about Murray’s request until two months after Michael’s death.
* * * * *
Since I missed some of Williams’ testimony and the full testimony of Faheem Muhammad, head of security, here are several articles providing details of what they said:
Posted: Sep 28, 2011 9:09 By ANTHONY McCARTNEY and LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press
…. In the late afternoon of June 24, Williams said he arranged for a car and accompanied his boss to Staples Center for a key rehearsal. He said Jackson was in good spirits and had the car stop at the gate so he could roll down the window and chat with fans who were always camped there.
“He would make sure we stopped, stick out his hand, anything to show his fans he loved them,” he said.
Williams managed to watch Jacksonon stage. “I was an employee but I was a fan first,” he said. “I would try to sneak in to watch him. I was working constantly, but I was able to see him perform a little.”
How was his performance, asked Deputy District Attorney David Walgren. “Personally, I thought it was amazing,” Williams said. “I thought it was the best thing in the world. He had told me he didn’t go 100 percent for the rehearsal. It was about 40 percent. But I thought it was great.”
They returned to Jackson’s rented Holmby Hills mansion after that, stopping at the gate again. “He was in good spirits,” Williams said. “He wanted to stop and say, ‘Hi.’ He even had some conversation with the fans.”
Outside the house, parked in its usual spot, was Murray’s car. Williams brought in gifts that had been given to Jackson and said good night. Williams checked out with the security staff and went home. The next day at 12:13 p.m. his cell phone rang. There was a message from Murray.
“Were you asked to call 911?” Walgren asked.
“No sir,” Williams said.
He remembered reaching Jackson security guard Alberto Alvarez. “I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on but you have to get in the house’ … I said, ‘Run. Hurry.'”
Williams said he rushed from his downtown home and arrived just as Jackson’s body was being loaded into an ambulance. He helped to gather Jackson’s three children and put them in a car to follow the ambulance.
“What was Dr. Murray’s appearance?” Walgren asked. “Frantic,” he said. “I knew it was serious.”
Williams said he was standing outside the emergency room area when Dr. Murray and a group of doctors emerged. “He walked out and closed the curtains,” he said softly. “He said, ‘He passed.'”
On cross-examination, defense attorney Ed Chernoff questioned Williams about Murray’s actions at the hospital. He said Murray asked to be taken back to Jackson’s home to collect some cream he believed Jackson would not want the public to know about. It was later found to be skin whitening cream that is used in the treatment of vitiligo, a skin condition that the singer had.
Williams said he felt police would not want anyone returning to the home and he did not take Murray there. He then said the doctor said he was hungry and asked for food.
Chernoff suggested that Williams should have known from Murray’s call that there was an emergency.
Williams disagreed. “When I hear someone had a bad reaction, I don’t think anything fatal,” he said. “He didn’t tell me to call 911.”
Under questioning from Chernoff, Muhammad revealed that Jackson had asked Williams to contact a nurse four days before his death because he was experiencing “weird symptoms.”
“One of his hands was hot and his feet were cold,” Muhammad said. He told Chernoff that he did not reveal that he had contacted the nurse, Cherilyn Lee, during interviews with police. He said he wasn’t asked about it and didn’t think it was relevant.
By this point it becomes clear to us that Chernoff wants to shift the blame for not calling 911 onto everyone else’s shoulders except Murray – as if all those people who were away from the scene of crime and were guessing about what happened could know better what to do than the doctor who was beside his patient and saw everything with his own eyes.
It was Murray who was the doctor and not all those assistants or security people, and when a doctor is around it is his authority that dominates over everyone else in situations of emergency. As he says, so others will do. And no one could knew better than him that 911 was to be called immediately!
During cross examination Chernoff played the Demerol card:
Security chief Faheem Muhammad gave details about how Jackson’s two oldest children watched in shock.
“Paris was on the ground, balled up, crying. And Prince, he was standing there, he just had a real shocked, you know, slowly crying, type of shocked look on his face,” he said.
Chernoff contended that Jackson, desperate for sleep, caused his own death by taking a handful of sedatives and self-administering propofol while the doctor was out of the room. One defense strategy is to point the finger at another doctor and Jackson as having a large role in his death, while arguing that Murray was blind to what they were doing.
They contend that dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein got the singer addicted to Demerol during those frequent visits to his Beverly Hills office in the weeks before his death, something Murray did not know about.
His withdrawal from that Demerol addiction was what kept Jackson awake despite Murray’s efforts to put him to sleep with sedatives the morning he died, the defense contends, arguing that Klein is at least partly responsible for Jackson’s death because of the Demerol.
Chernoff asked Williams, Jackson’s personal assistant, if he went to Klein’s office with Jackson.
“At a certain point, it was very regular,” Williams said.
Chernoff then asked Williams whether he’d ever heard Jackson talk slowly with slurred speech, as he did on an audio recording played in court Tuesday.
“Not that extreme, but I have heard him talk slow before,” Williams said.
“And when he left Dr. Klein’s office, have you observed him sometimes to talk slow?” Chernoff asked.
Sometimes, Williams replied, “he would talk slow like that. I never heard it that extreme, but I can definitely say he has come out, and he’s a little slower.”
Chief security guard Muhammad, who often drove Jackson, testified that “There were times he would go almost every day” to Klein’s office. Jackson often appeared intoxicated when he left, Muhammad testified.
Jackson once told Muhammad that his frequent trips to the dermatologist were for treatment for a skin disease. “My doctors tell me that I have to go, so I go,” Muhammad said Jackson told him.
At the start of court proceedings Wednesday, Paul Gongaware, an executive with the company promoting Jackson’s comeback concerts, said he noticed that Jackson had “a little bit of a slower speech pattern, just a slight slur in the speech” after a visit with Klein.
Medical records show that Klein gave Jackson numerous shots of Demerol in the weeks before his death, Chernoff told jurors Tuesday.
“Dr. Klein did not do anything that was medically inappropriate,” Klein’s lawyer, Garo Ghazarian, told HLN’s “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell” Wednesday. The last time Klein gave Jackson drugs was more than three days before his death, Ghazarian said.
Jackson’s inability to sleep the morning he died was “one of the insidious effects” of Demerol addiction withdrawal, Chernoff said. Since Murray did not know about the Demerol, he could not understand why Jackson was unable to fall asleep that morning, Chernoff said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor previously ruled that while the jury can see some of the records of Klein’s treatment of Jackson, the doctor would not testify. Demerol was not found in Jackson’s body during the autopsy, which makes Klein’s testimony irrelevant, Pastor ruled.
As regards Demerol we’ve discussed it in connection with Dr. Klein’s interview with Harvey Levin of TMZ (click on the link to open). During the interview Klein admitted he had given numerous shots of Demerol but the dosages were small and did no harm. The painkiller was a necessity as the facial and scalp procedures Klein was giving Michael were very painful.
Michael wanted to look as best as he could and Klein was rebuilding his face by removing scars and using fillers to even out the skin and give more body to his nose. Of course the procedures would leave Michael still sedated for some time after the visits but they could not produce any long-lasting harmful effect, according to Klein.
Whatever it was, the main thing we learn about Michael is that he didn’t take any Demerol on his own and was only accepting what Klein chose as the best medication for the moment. Klein said that Michael never asked for Demerol – he was simply afraid of needle shots on his face and scalp (and the scalp hurts like hell during injections, Klein said) and this is why Klein administered a painkiller to stop him from squirming during the delicate procedures he gave him.
* * * * *
DAY 3. September 29
“Alvarez, who called 911 to report an unresponsive Jackson, went to the mansion after receiving a call from Jackson’s personal assistant. He looked through a set of glass doors at the front entrance and saw Murray, Jackson’s daughter Paris and the Jackson nanny, Alvarez said Thursday.
Murray was on the second floor, looking down over a railing, he testified. Murray called for him to “come quick.” It was at that point, Alvarez said, that he understood the serious nature of the situation”. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44716376
I’ve made notes of the rest of his testimony:
When Alvarez entered the bedroom he saw Michael Jackson laying on his back on the further side of the bed with his hands extended out and his palms up. His eyes and mouth were open and the face was turned slightly towards the left, to the foyer from where Alvarez had come.
Murray was pushing down on the chest using his left hand only (this idiot didn’t know that compressions were to be done by both hands and only on the hard surface as otherwise they are totally useless).
Murray said to Alvarez, “Alberto, we have to take him to hospital”. At his moment Prince and Paris came behind him and Paris screamed “Daddy”. She was crying. Michael was looking slightly inParis’s direction.
Murray told him “Don’t let them see their dad like that”. Alvarez said, “Kids, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it. Everything is going to be OK” and walked them out towards the landing area. He asked Murray what happened and Murray said, “He had a bad reaction”.
Alvarez stood at the foot of the bed and saw a plastic device on the patient’s penis with some tubing attached to it [a condom catheter to catch his urine during what was supposed to be a full night’s sleep]. He didn’t see any monitoring equipment whatsoever – the only thing he noticed was some oxygen tube connected to Michael’s nasal area.
At this point Murray reached out and grabbed a handful of vials saying, “Here, put these in the bag”. Murray’s left knee was on the floor as he was picking the vials from the nightstand directly adjacent to the bed. Alvarez had the bag open, Murray dropped the bottles there and said, “Put this bag in the brown bag”.
Murray then pointed to the bag hanging from the IV stand and told him to grab it and put it in the blue bag.
Chief Prosecutor David Walgren asked Alavarez: “Why were you following his instructions?”. Alvarez replied that he believed that Dr. Conrad Murray had the best of intentions for Mr. Jackson, so he didn’t question his authority at the time. He thought they were getting packed to get ready to go to the hospital.
When he was detaching the IV bag from the IV stand the bag was at his eye level and he noticed a bottle inside it.
He said that the bottle was upside down and lay diagonal in the saline bag. Alvarez said he saw some milky substance at the bottom of the bag. Walgren asked him if Murray wanted him to remove the other saline bag handing on the other side of the IV stand and Alvarez said “No”.
Walgren showed him a saline bag with a slit on it (Murray’s saline bag had a slit on one of its sides) through which he slipped a bottle and Alvarez confirmed that the picture he had seen in that bedroom was the same.
After the saline bag was put into the blue bag Murray told him to call 911. The call was placed at 12.20.
Walgren once again went over the sequence preceding the call. Alvarez said it was as follows: “took the bag – dropped vials in there – took off the saline bag – put it into the blue bag – and then called 911”, all of which he was doing obeying Murray’s instructions.
Prosecutors then played a 911 call from Alvarez.
- “I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir,” Alvarez told the operator. “We have a gentleman here that needs help. He’s stopped breathing. He’s not conscious, sir. He’s on the bed.”
- Alvarez made the operator aware ofMurray’s presence, saying, “We have a personal doctor here, but he’s not responding to the CPR or anything.”
- Asked by the operator if anyone had seen what had happened, Alvarez responded, “No, just the doctor sir … He’s pumping his chest, but he’s not responding to anything.”
The dispatcher was heard telling Alvarez to move Jackson to the floor.
“I was bracing myself to pick him up because I thought he was going to be very heavy,” said Alvarez. “I picked him up and he was very light.”
In the process of moving the patient Alvarez noticed an IV tube connected to his leg and saw Murray pulling it away. Murray took a brown box, which was not attached when the patient was on the bed and clipped it onto his finger.
Alvarez said that he knew what it was. A few days before that Murray had come to their trailer and asked for batteries for this device. He explained that it was a heart monitor or “something to that extent”. It could have been a week prior to June 25.
Mohammed arrived at the room and Murray asked if anyone knew how to do CPR.
(On cross-examination defense attorney John Flanagan explained that question by saying, “When you’re doing CPR the first thing you ask is, ‘Does anyone else know CPR,’ so they can assist.” And in the process of explanation he revealed a very interesting fact: “Two-man CPR is much more efficient than one-man CPR. Dr. Murray had been doing CPR for more than 15 or 20 minutes, and it’s a very fatiguing thing.”
Isn’t it amazing that the Defense admits Murray was doing CPR for some 20 minutes without calling 911 first!
Alvarez knew how to do CPR and started making compressions with his both hands while Murray did mouth to mouth. After several breaths into Michael’s lungs he said that he was doing it for the first time, but Michael was his friend and “he had to do it”.
[Let me note here that doctors generally don’t make small talk while saving their patient and friends don’t say they “have to” do it. Murray most probably regarded it as an unpleasant procedure because he realized that he was doing it for show only and to a man who was already dead].
When the paramedics arrived Alvarez stepped away.
Walgren asked him if he was ever offered money by the media for an interview. He answered he was approached by the media 9 – 10 times and the offers went up to $200,000. One of them was for $500,000. But he refused them though Michael’s death caused a lot of financial problems for him – he went from a great salary to hardly anything and was wiped out financially…
Alvarez is a great guy and while listening to this man I suddenly realized that this trial is a total opposite of the 2005 trial not only because the Prosecution is now on Michael’s side but also because it is bringing us a totally different kind of people – people of integrity and honor, who are a very big contrast to the dirty clowns who had their feast then.
I agree that there is a certain discrepancy between what Alvarez says about placing the patient on the floor and making a CPR there (probably for a brief few seconds only before paramedics arrived) and the paramedics’s testimonies one of whom (Richard Sennoff) says that when they arrived the patient was in transition from bed to the floor and the other (Martin Blount) says that the patient was still on the bed.
Though this is a minor thing which doesn’t change anything in respect of Murray’s criminal negligence this contradiction will surely be used by the Defense for overall discrediting of Alvarez.
If you ask my opinion I think it is the paramedics who may be mistaken. Firstly, their descriptions are different even between themselves and secondly, they see such scenes every day of their life and within the two year period since 2009 they could have easily forgotten their impressions of where the patient was. It is the facts which they recorded on their papers which they remember very well and the condition in which they found the patient while other things they may be in complete oblivion of – actually they didn’t even realize who the patient was until a much time later….
Our Lynette made the following comment on the above:
- The EMT report says that they walked in and Michael was found on floor on his back with his palms up and CPR was in progress by Dr. Murray. I think everyone is more upset by the varying accounts than they should be. Mostly because in a debriefing after an event like this it is a team of people not just one. The reason it is a team is because everyone sees something different and that is why you will be asked what you have seen.
On cross-examination, Alvarez admitted that he hadn’t told police about Murray’s request to stash the vials and police on the day of Jackson’s death, and didn’t make those claims known until a police interview in August. Murray’s defense attorney, Ed Chernoff, hinted that Alvarez might have added the details in August in order to make himself more attractive as an interview subject.
“Would it be fair to say that the story you gave on August 31, 2009, was substantially more interesting than the one you gave on June 25, 2009?” Chernoff asked.
Alvarez countered that seeing a detective emerging from Jackson’s home on television with a blue bag similar to the one he stowed the IV bag in, along with television reports about Propfol and its milky quality, prompted him to tell authorities about Murray’s request.
Alvarez said: “When I saw that report I realized that I saw the milky substance and decided to relate this information”. (which I easily believe – non-medics have no idea what kind of substance matters for investigating the case and it is only after someone explains the details that people begin realizing the importance of what they’ve seen).
Chernoff kept insisting “You still didn’t call 911?” insinuating that everyone was to have called 911 except Murray.
“Michael Jackson’s chef Thursday defended her decision not to alert a security guard that Murray needed help in Jackson’s bedroom after Murray frantically asked her to do so.
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later that a guard in a trailer a few feet away from chef Kai Chase’s kitchen was ordered upstairs to the bedroom where Murray was trying to revive Jackson, according to trial testimony.
Murray “was very nervous, and frantic and he was shouting,” when he ran down a staircase near the kitchen where Chase was preparing Jackson’s lunch. “Get help, get security, get Prince,” Chase said Murray screamed.
The chef’s response was to walk into the nearby dining room where Jackson’s oldest son, Prince, was playing with his sister and brother, she said.
“I said ‘Hurry, Dr. Murray needs you. There may be something wrong with your father,” Chase said she told Prince Jackson. She then returned to the kitchen to continue lunch preparation, she said.
“He’s asking for help, he’s asking for security,” defense lawyer Michael Flanagan said during cross-examination. “Did you think that a 12-year-old child was going to be able to assist this doctor with a problem with Michael?”
“I did what I was told and I went to get Prince,” Chase answered.
Murray’s lawyers are laying the groundwork to argue that Murray should not be blamed for the delay in calling for help because he relied on the chef to alert security, who then could call for an ambulance.
The prosecution, meanwhile, contends that a delay in calling 911 for an ambulance was Murray’s fault and one of the negligent acts that make him criminally responsible for Jackson’s death.
The Jackson employee who called 911, at least 10 minutes after Murray’s plea to the chef for help, testified earlier Thursday that Murray told him to help gather up drug vials around Jackson’s deathbed before he asked him to place the emergency call.”
Our Lynette who is in the medical profession totally disagrees with the defense’s point of view:
- When a Doctor declares himself someone’s personal physician he is the Chief Medical Officer of the scene. By law, not ethics, but the law he is the highest medical authority and the responsibility of his patient’s health is his and HE is to act accordingly. Doctors in every state in the United States have laws and rules that are written just for them and they are supposed to follow them. One of those laws is that if they are in a situation where their patient needs emergency assistance they are supposed to make that call. Not the chef, not the security and not the patient’s 12 year old son. The reason for that is that any reasonable person could and would assume that the doctor had already done that unless told differently. Doctors and nurses have different laws that they have to abide by to maintain their license than a layperson. The laws he broke were the laws of medical care delivery by a doctor and he broke them to the point of gross negligence.
* * * * *
DAY 4. September 30
Day 4 gave us a chance to see what equipment was used to monitor Michael Jackson’s heart. It is the cheapest type of a pulse oxymeter sold at $275 (see the picture above).
The basic model is used for spot checkings only – it takes 10 seconds to take a reading during which the situation with a patient’s heart may change and this is why it is not adequate for constant monitoring. And if you stay in another room while using it, it is no help as it doesn’t give any signals in case of an alarm.
Neither Murray, nor AEG cared to provide a more sophisticated model sold at $1500 which has all necessary characteristics.
CNN reports the testimony of Robert Johnson of the company producing pulse oxymeters:
The device Murray used to monitor Jackson’s pulse and blood oxygen level while he used propofol to put him to sleep was the focus of testimony by the first witness Friday.
An executive of the company that made the Nonin 9500 pulse oxymeter said it was “designed for spot checking of vital signs” and was “specifically labeled against continuous monitoring.”
The $275 device did not have an audio alarm, requiring someone to constantly keep an eye on the tiny screen, Robert Johnson testified. Murray would have been better equipped with his company’s table top version that would cost $1,200, Johnson said.
Prosecutors argue Murray’s lack of professional monitoring equipment was reckless and is one reason the doctor should be held criminally responsible forJackson’s death.
Murray and AEG were saving up on Michael Jackson, you know….
* * * * *
The second witness was Murray’s former patient Robert Russel whom Murray sent a voicemail at 11.49 on June 25. Russel was very much satisfied with Murray’s services until he abandoned him in the past weeks prior to Michael’s death. Robert Russel knew that Murray was attending to Michael Jackson as Murray had disclosed this highly confidential information to him.
Jurors also heard from a former Murray patient who lauded the doctor’s treatment of him, but said his cardiologist became increasingly distant and hard to reach while working with Jackson.
“I felt like I was getting the best care in the world,” said Robert Russell ofLas Vegas, before Murray became the singer’s personal physician. After Murray began treating Jackson, Russell said he couldn’t get answers about his own treatment. He called Murray’s office on June 25, 2009 — the day Jackson died — and demanded to speak to the doctor.
The doctor left him a voicemail at 11:49 a.m.
Prosecutors are using records to show that Murray was on the phone in the moments before he realized Jackson was unconscious. Russell told jurors Murray’s message seemed odd because the doctor said he was going on sabbatical, despite telling the salesman and his wife months earlier that he was going to work for Jackson.
Russell explained that on June 25 he called Murray’s office and expressed his frustration at continuous cancellation of his appointments with the doctor. Both his June 15 and June 22 appointments had been cancelled and he wanted to know where he stood. Only a few weeks prior to that he had been near death and now he had no information whatsoever and was not referred to any other cardiologist.
When calling Murray’s office he said that he expected a return call or he would proceed to legal action. He said he felt abandoned and needed answers. A voice mail from Murray came back at 11:49 am. In his message Murray was saying that the patient’s “heart was repaired”. Russell was pleased that Dr. Murray responded so quickly but was disappointed that there was still no information about another doctor to whom he could be referred.
* * * * *
Day 4 also brought the crucial testimonies of two paramedics who were the first to arrive at the scene of the crime – Richard Senneff and Martin Blount. For the paramedics’ team leader Richard Senniff here are my notes:
The call from Alvarez came in to their station at 12.22 and since the distance to the house was 1,5 miles, four minutes later (at 12.26) there were already at Carolwood Drive. The defense would later dispute that the call came at 12.20 as if those two minutes could make any difference -Murray was delaying the 911 call by some 2o minutes as his own defense lawyer said!
It took them another minute to enter the house and go upstairs together with the rescue equipment. When four paramedics entered the room Richard Senneff says he saw Murray and the security guy Alvarez moving Michael from the bed to the floor – the torso was still on the bed, but the feet already on the floor.
This point is something the defense will surely talk about as a discrepancy with Alvarez’s testimony, however Senneff’s words contradict the main document those very paramedics filled – the EMT report which said “50yr. old supine on floor”.
Michael was wearing pajama bottoms and the pajama top was open. The patient appeared thin to Senneff.
Seeing an IV stand with a IV bag hanging on it Senneff asked Murray about the patient’s underlying health. He asked him three times and three times didn’t receive an answer. The only thing he said was: ‘Nothing. He has nothing’. Senneff said, ”Simply, that did not add up to me.” Now the defense is trying to prove that Murray didn’t provide any replies as “he was busy”.
When Senneff asked Murray “how long the patient was down,” the doctor responded “It just happened right when I called you”. This made Senneff think that he still had a good chance to save the patient and restart his heart.
They relocated the patient to the carpet at the foot of the bed and sprang into action. Martin Blount ventilated the lungs (via an apparatus placed over mouth and nose to push air into the lungs), Goodman connected the ECG machine to determine whether the heart had any electrical activity, another one made CPR and someone gave medication to restart the heart.
At no point in time Murray mentioned propofol – all he said was the he was treating the patient for dehydration and exhaustion and the only medicine he had given him was a mild sedative, Lorazepam.
The ECG machine showed a flat line which means that there was no heartbeat.
They expected a change after the first few steps however since there was none paramedic Martin Blount started intubation – he placed a tube directly into the lungs to push there the flow of air. They measured the level of carbon dioxide which was only 16% which was too low.
Senneff enumerated the numerous inconsistencies between Murray’s story and Michael’s condition which showed that his death had taken place earlier than Murray was saying– the skin was cool to the touch, the eyes were open and dry, the pupils were dilated, the ECG machine showed a flat line, the carbon dioxide level was low (16%), and they couldn’t locate his veins.
Senneff said that veins are significantly more difficult to find when blood had not been circulating for some time.
Please note a very important point that the paramedics made at least 5 attempts to locate the veins using the needle, but could not find them. These needles explain why Michael’s arms had traces of injections.
In an interview with Klein Harvey Levin of TMZ was gleefully hammering it into Klein’s head that there were numerous needle marks on Michael’s body while Klein was saying that they had fully inspected him a month or two before his death and there were none. Now that it is clear where those needle marks came from, could someone please explain to Levin that at least five of those marks were due to the paramedics trying to locate Michael’s veins! Some people are too quick to jump to dirty conclusions!
The paramedicts made two rounds of resuscitation efforts but the patient was still not giving a sign of life. Senneff agreed with the prosecutor that “essentially the patient was dead”.
However at this point Murray said he identified a pulse in the groin area. Two of the paramedics checked on his words but didn’t find any pulse. The ECG machine was simply showing the signs of the heart movement generated due to the CPR compressions. Senneff ordered the CPR to stop to see whether the heart was functioning on its own, however but the line was still flat and there was no electrical activity.
Murray requested the paramedics do a central line and administer magnesium – both of which they couldn’t do. Central line is done only in a hospital setting with special kind of equipment, and as to magnesium they had none (evidently it is not in their standard kit of medicine). Murray himself had absolutely no medicine to offer them.
A doctor communicating by radio with the paramedics recommended at 12:57 p.m., a half hour after they arrived, that they cease efforts to revive Jackson and declare him dead, according to a recording of the radio traffic played in court. Murray then took over responsibility for the effort and continued resuscitation efforts, Senneff said.
During the 42 minutes the paramedics stayed in the house they never saw a single sign of life in the patient. But they never stopped trying to revive him – even on the stairs they kept ventilating his lungs.
When Senneff returned to the room to retrieve his equipment he saw Murray picking some items from the floor into a blue bag. When he left the room carrying the equipment back to the rescue car Murray was left there alone. He joined them later. While they were driving to the hospital he was talking on the phone. Senneff didn’t notice whether he was making a call or someone called him – he was busy with the patient.
Chernoff played his favorite tune and suggested that the patient displayed all physical characteristics of a drug-addict, but Senneff said it was difficult to tell – he saw only signs of a chronic illness. “I’ve seen overweight drug-addicts, underweight addicts” he said and that the weight is no sign of a drug-addiction.
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It turns out that Martin Blount not only saw some vials scattered on the floor and Murray putting them into a bag, but he saw three vials of lidocaine open which can mean only one thing – the fact that Murray had already used them!
Lidocaine goes together with propofol as it eases its burning sensation, so if he used three vials of lidocaine, how much propofol did he use then?
The quote from http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/content/97/2/461.full shows that the ratio in which Lidocaine is used with Propofol is 10 :1. And this means that if three vials of lidocaine were found open, the amount of propofol used should be ten times as much!
- Lidocaine is used to reduce pain associated with propofol injection, either mixed with propofol or preceding it as a separate injection. Mixing 20 mg of lidocaine with 200 mg of propofol is unlikely to affect the dose of propofol required for the induction of anesthesia.
“Los Angeles paramedic Martin Blount — who was among the responders to the 9/11 call on the day of Michael Jackson’s death — testified at the involuntary manslaughter of Dr. Conrad Murray on Friday that there were three open vials of the anesthetic lidocaine in Michael Jackson’s bedroom when they arrived at the scene.
Blount described how the vials were scattered on the floor of the room. He also testified that, when asked by fellow paramedic Richard Senneff about drugs that he administered to Jackson, he made mo mention of lidocaine.
Blount also testified that he saw Murray scoop up three of the bottles and put them into a black bag as they prepared to transport to the hospital.
According to Blount’s testimony, Murray was in a hectic state as emergency responders arrived in the bedroom.
“He was a little flustered; he was sweating profusely and he was agitated,” Blount told the court.
Blount described Jackson’s eyes as “fixed and dilated” when paramedics arrived.
“I felt he was dead, ma’am,” Blount told the prosecutor.
According to Blount, Murray made a phone call in the ambulance as they transported Jackson to the hospital at UCLA.
“It’s about Michael, and it doesn’t look good,” Blount recalled Murray saying.
This sounds to me as some type of an encoded message. If Murray was calling his girlfriend he would have said it in a different way – something like “I’ll be late today as I’ll be very busy”.
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A great piece of news brought to our attention by Chris ( thank you !) is a statement made by a former Deputy DA Hamid Towfigh who had an absolutely killing argument against the Defense who say that MJ self-administered propofol. Please watch the video of Jane Velez-Mitchell talking to Hamid Towfigh: http://www.examiner.com/jackson-family-in-national/former-la-deputy-da-hamid-towfigh-on-conrad-murray-michael-jackson-propofol-video
It is also interesting that what Hamid Towfigh says is very much in line with Martin Blount’s testimony about the three open vials of lidocaine. Please see my transcript of Hamid Towfigh’s words (and correct the mistakes if any):
Towfigh: In their opening statement of the defense they are telling us if their theory was based on self-injection or self-ingestion by swallowing the propofol. That’s very interesting. But under both reasons they’ll fail.
First of all propofol or deprivan is only vial available [ ] .. if you swallow propofol it will not cause the reaction of death. That’s in the medical literature, you can ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this.
Velez-Mitchell: What about Michael Jackson somehow making an injection or opening the drug?
Towhigh: This is not possible, because according to the Coroner’s report Michael Jackson had a general anesthesia level of propofol in his blood. If you ask anesthesiologists they’ll tell you it is about 200mg or higher of propofol. The syringes that were in the room of Michael Jackson were 10cc syringes which is the equivalent of 100mg. That means that he would have had to inject himself twice — 200 mg of propofol to get the levels that the coroners said he had.
That is not possible, because after the first dose that Michael Jackson supposedly gave himself, he would have passed out.
And besides propofol is a very painful drug. That’s why they mix it with lidocaine. Michael Jackson had lidocaine in his system. They mix propofol with it because when it goes into your body it’s very painful. So had Michael Jackson self-administered this (which he didn’t) he would have screamed [ ] and Conrad Murray would have heard him in the other room.
Velez-Mitchell: I think that what you are saying is brilliant. [ ] He had so much propofol in his system according to the autopsy report that it was enough for major surgery. He would have had to use two bottles [in a shot, drip or whatever]. And at the time of administering the first one he would have been knocked out so that he couldn’t have been awake to administer the second one. Is that what you are saying?
Wow indeed! What a killing argument!
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As a sort of closing information for week 1 here is an article which – among other things – tells us of judge Michael Pastor who spotted Ed Chernoff’s law partner speak to the media despite the gag order prohibiting lawyers for both sides to discuss the matter publicly:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After just a few moments inMichael Jackson‘s bedroom, the paramedic dispatched to save the singer’s life knew things weren’t adding up.
There was the skinny man on the floor, eyes open with a surgical cap on his head. His skin was turning blue. Paramedic Richard Senneff asked the sweating, frantic-looking doctor in the room what condition the stricken man had.
“He said, ‘Nothing. He has nothing,'” Senneff told jurors at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray.
“Simply, that did not add up to me,” Senneff said.
Over the course of the 42 minutes that Los Angeles paramedics tried to revive Jackson, several other things about the room and Murray’s responses seemed inconsistent to Senneff.
After repeated prodding, Murray revealed a few details about his actions, saying he had only given Jackson a dose of the sedative lorazepam to help him sleep, Senneff testified.
In addition, there were bottles of medicine on Jackson’s nightstand, and Murray finally offered that he was treating the singer for dehydration and exhaustion.
Senneff said Murray never mentioned that he had also been giving Jackson doses of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives, a key omission that prosecutors say shows he repeatedly tried to conceal his actions during the struggle to save the pop superstar.
Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.
Prosecutors contend the Houston-based cardiologist repeatedly lied to medics and emergency room doctors about medications he had been giving Jackson in the singer’s bedroom. They claim Murray administered a fatal dose of propofol and other sedatives.
Defense lawyers claim Jackson gave himself the fatal dose after his doctor left the room.
Defense attorney Nareg Gourjian asked Senneff whether Jackson’s appearance was consistent with someone who was a drug addict.
Senneff said that was a difficult determination to make, but he did think the singer “looked like he had a chronic health problem.”
Senneff was the first paramedic to reach Jackson’s bedroom and said within moments, he and three other paramedics were working to revive Jackson. After trying multiple heart-starting medications and other efforts, Jackson was still lifeless.
“Did you ever see any sign of life in Mr. Jackson during the entire time you were attempting to save him,” prosecutor Deborah Brazil asked.
“No I did not,” Senneff said.
Another paramedic dispatched to the room, Martin Blount, agreed. He told jurors that they thought Jackson was dead soon after they arrived in the room.
Blount also said he saw three open bottles of lidocaine on the floor of the room but noted that Murray never mentioned giving Jackson the painkiller. He told jurors he saw the doctor scoop up the vials and drop them in a black bag.
Between the paramedics’ testimony, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor threatened Murray’s lawyers with a contempt charge over an interview the law partner of lead defense counsel Ed Chernoff did Friday with “The Today Show.” In the interview, attorney Matt Alford criticized a key prosecution witness, Jackson’s bodyguard Alberto Alvarez.
Alvarez testified Thursday that Murray ordered him to place vials of medication in a bag before calling 911. Defense attorneys have repeatedly challenged his account.
Prosecutors complained and Pastor watched the interview during a break. He told attorneys he was shocked and had watched the interview “with my mouth open.” The interview was done hours after the judge warned attorneys not to comment about the case outside court.
He ordered Alford to appear for a contempt hearing on Nov. 15 and described him as a witness after Chernoff told Pastor to hold him in contempt instead of his partner.
All the discussions about the interview were held outside the presence of jurors, who are under strict orders to avoid media coverage about the case.
The seven-man, five-woman panel instead heard testimony about efforts to revive Jackson, who the paramedics and emergency room doctor thought was dead at his rented mansion. Still, the singer was transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center because Murray wanted life-saving efforts to continue.
After loading Jackson into an ambulance, Senneff said he saw Murray collecting items from Jackson’s bedside. The doctor was alone in the bedroom for several moments before joining paramedics in the ambulance for the drive to the hospital, Senneff said.
Gourjian suggested Murray had been collecting his wallet and glasses, but Senneff said he could not see the items.
In the ambulance, Blount said, he heard Murray make a phone call. “‘It’s about Michael, and it doesn’t look good,'” Blount recalled hearing Murray saying.
Jurors also heard from a former Murray patient who lauded the doctor’s treatment of him, but said the cardiologist became increasingly distant and hard to reach while working with Jackson.
“I felt like I was getting the best care in the world,” said Robert Russell of Las Vegas, before Murray became the singer’s personal physician. “The advice he gave me saved my life.”
Russell said he couldn’t get answers about his own treatment, and the man who once spent so much time offering care and advice was unreachable.
He called Murray’s office on June 25, 2009 — the day Jackson died — and demanded to speak to the doctor.
The doctor returned the call and left him a voicemail at 11:49 a.m. Prosecutors are using records to show that Murray was on the phone in the moments before he realized Jackson was unconscious.
Thirty-seven minutes later, Senneff ran into Jackson’s bedroom. http://www.chron.com/news/article/Medic-Info-from-Jackson-doctor-didn-t-add-up-2197431.php
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And finally here is the EMT report of June 25, 2009 mentioned earlier and a clear and easy explanation of its details made by this awesome site: http://dearconradmurray.com/documents/emt-reports/.
The EMT report explicitly says that when the paramedics arrived they found the patient on the floor. The report starts with a statement: “50yr old found supine on floor” (supine means lying on the back with the face upward).
This record made by the paramedics themselves fully clarifies the discrepancy which arose in the first week of the trial between the testimonies of Alvarez, Senneff and Blount. Out of these three the memory of Alvarez turned out to be the clearest and his description of the scene the most accurate of all!