Jurors completed their first full day of deliberations Friday in the trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician.
Dr. Conrad Murray faces up to four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the pop star’s 2009 death from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol at his rented Holmby Hills estate.
The seven-man, five-woman jury spent about six hours considering the case against Murray, then left the courtroom for the weekend just after 4 p.m.
Jurors are expected to return to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Monday morning to resume their deliberations.
While jurors spoke about the case behind closed doors, the courtroom was packed with reporters and Jackson fans waiting for any developments. The panel did not ask any questions or request any trial testimony to be read back.
The jury heard from 49 witnesses — 33 for the prosecution and 16 for the defense — during the trial, in which testimony began Sept. 27 and ended Tuesday.
Jurors heard nearly a full day of closing arguments Thursday from attorneys from both sides.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the panel that the evidence is abundantly clear that Murray is guilty.
“Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence, that Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson, that Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father,” Walgren said. “They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray.”
Prosecutors allege that Murray gave the singer an intravenous fatal dose of propofol on June 25, 2009, then “abandoned” his patient by talking on the phone and looking at e-mails instead of monitoring him.
The 58-year-old cardiologist demonstrated “consciousness of guilt” by failing to tell paramedics and emergency room doctors that he had given the singer propofol and only told police about the drug two days later because he thought investigators had already found the medication at the singer’s home, Walgren said.
Murray told police he only left Jackson’s side for about two minutes to use the bathroom after giving the singer a 25-milligram dose of propofol that was slowly infused over three to five minutes beginning at about 10:40 a.m., in
the bedroom of Jackson’s rented home, where he was staying while rehearsing for a series of 50 concerts in London dubbed “This Is It.”
Murray’s lead attorney, Edward Chernoff, argued that the most reasonable explanation for Jackson’s death was that the singer self-administered the fatal dose of propofol. He added that the evidence supports Murray’s statement
to police that he gave Jackson a 25-milligram dose of propofol.
“What they’re really asking you to do is convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” Chernoff told jurors in his closing argument.
He acknowledged that Murray may not have done everything right on the day the 50-year-old Jackson died, while reminding jurors that it was not a medical board hearing or a civil lawsuit but rather about a man’s liberty.
“If you’re going to hold Dr. Murray responsible, don’t do it because it’s Michael Jackson,” he said, later telling jurors, “I hope you do the right thing and find Dr. Murray not guilty.”
In his rebuttal argument, Walgren said there were cameras in court throughout the trial because the case involved Jackson — but the trial was being held solely “because of the actions and the failure to act by Conrad Murray.”
The prosecutor called Murray’s treatment of Jackson “bizarre,” saying he brought propofol into the house and administered it to his patient and then failed to monitor him and to call 911 when he discovered that Jackson was not breathing. He said the “only just verdict” would be conviction.