The preliminary hearing for the personal physician who watched over Michael Jackson on the day of his death has begun in Los Angeles.
Jackson was only 50 years old when paramedics arrived at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead about two hours later.
His sudden death stunned the public and the famed King of Pop was honoured with numerous tributes and memorials from fans and members of the entertainment world.
Investigators soon began to probe the actions of his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, a trained cardiologist who had been hired to work for Jackson as the superstar singer prepared for a set of comeback concerts in London.
At the start of the proceedings on Tuesday, prosecutor David Walgren said he would present evidence that shows Jackson was dead before Dr. Conrad Murray phoned an ambulance for his superstar patient.
Walgren also said that Murray tried to cover up his involvement in administering a propofol to help Jackson sleep, shortly before he died.
The lawyer for Murray did not enter an opening statement on Tuesday.
The hearing is expected to last several days and it will determine whether Murray goes on trial for involuntary manslaughter.
Walgren said he would use a combination of text messages, phone records, expert testimony and Murray's statements to police to demonstrate why he should stand trial.
The doctor could face not only a prison sentence of up to four years, but the revocation of his medical licence, if convicted. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit by Jackson's father.
Murray has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have insisted the doctor did not give Jackson anything that should have killed him.
Prosecutor predicts defence strategy
Last week, Walgren told reporters last week that Murray's defence team is planning to suggest that the singer actually killed himself, by administering extra propofol to himself after Murray left the room on the night he died.
Brian Oxman, Jackson's former lawyer, tells CTV's Canada AM that that would be a ridiculous suggestion to make.
"I keep hearing this and it just makes me shake my head," Oxman said from Los Angeles, where the hearing is due to take place. "I say no way. It didn't happen that way."
"Propofol burns and if Michael Jackson had injected himself, he would have gotten maybe two of three seconds into such an injection before he would have screamed out in absolute utter pain. You have to mix it with an anesthesia -- lidocaine in this case -- it didn't happen that way."
Oxman says there's been a lot of discussion about whether Jackson's son, Prince, will be called as a witness at the hearing.
"And the answer is no, it's not going to happen in the preliminary hearing. We might see Prince being called at the trial, because he was the first one -- really, the only one -- who responded to Conrad Murray's call when he said he found Jackson not breathing. So Prince is a very important witness.
"But for the purposes of the preliminary hearing, it's totally unnecessary to call him and the prosecution will not call him at this hearing."
If the case goes to trial, the Jackson family members -- mother Katherine, father Joe and a number of his famous siblings -- plan to be in court every day. Also expected to attend are Jackson fans, who have been a constant presence at previous court sessions.
With files from The Associated Press