Doctor denies killing King of Pop

09:25, February 10, 2010      

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Michael Jackson's doctor pleaded not guilty Monday after being charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the pop superstar's death from a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs, AFP reported.

Conrad Murray, 56, a Houston cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson when he died, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter when he ap-peared at Los Angeles Superior Court.

He could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

A number of the singer's fans shouted "justice for Michael" as Murray arrived at court.

Murray appeared in court in a gray suit as Jackson's father Joe, mother Katherine, and siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Randy sat behind prosecutors, according to the UK Press Association.

A lawyer for the family, Brian Oxman, speaking to CBS television, said of the involuntary manslaughter charge, "I don't think it would satisfy anybody, the millions of fans around the world."

"That is just a slap on the wrist and a slap in the face because Michael Jackson was someone who we knew was in danger of being brought to his knees, brought to his death by the use of these medications."
Celebrity website TMZ, which broke the news of Jackson's death, has obtained a full copy of the LA Coroner's report which blamed Jackson's death on "acute propofol intoxication."

The LA County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Monday that Murray "did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson ... in the commission of an unlawful act."

Jackson hired Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a strenuous series of comeback performances.

Officials said the singer died at a rented mansion in Los Angeles on June 25 after Murray allegedly administered the powerful general anaesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep.

Propofol is a potent anesthetic used to render patients unconscious before major surgery. Medical experts say it should only be used and ad-ministered by trained staff under hospital conditions.

The LA County's coroner's office Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz set bail at $75,000 – three times more than the amount people normally face after being charged with involuntary manslaughter. Murray posted it about two hours later and was released.

His lawyer said outside court that Murray plans to return to practicing medicine in Nevada and Texas while he awaits trial. The judge ordered him to re-turn to court on April 5 for a preliminary hearing.

The judge warned Murray that he is not to use general anaesthesia on anyone while he is free on bail.

Deputy state attorney general Trina Bell also told the judge that the state medical board is planning to seek the suspension of Murray's medi-cal license. The action would only affect his ability to practice medicine in California.

Source: Global Times/Agencies
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