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Michael Jackson / Conrad Murray in the news > Michael Jackson Death Trial: Conrad Murray's Police Interview Played in Court

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7 Oct 2011


Michael Jackson Death Trial: Conrad Murray's Police Interview Played in Court 

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 Jurors have begun listening to Conrad Murray's interview with police officers in the days after Michael Jackson died, allowing the jury and Jackson fans to hear Murray's account of the singer's final moments alive.

Prosecutors in the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial began playing the tape shortly before the jurors went to lunch. They are expected to hear the rest of the more than two hour interview when they return from their break.

The interview was conducted by Los Angeles police detectives on June 27, 2009, just two days after Jackson died of a drug overdose. It was conducted at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Ray, Calif., where Murray's attorneys were staying. Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the king of pop's death.

The interview has never been played publicly before. Since the trial began, all recordings of Murray's voice have been from the day Jackson died.

On the tiny portion of the recording played so far, Murray says that he first treated Jackson and his three children for the flu in 2006 while they were staying Las Vegas. He tells police that he treated Jackson intermittenly since then.

When asked about whether Murray knew if Jackson had any other doctors, Murray says, "He never disclosed that to me, but because he moved around so much, I would assume that he was."

That statement could raise juror's eyebrows. Jurors have seen pictures and heard testimony that on nightstands next to the bed where Jackson died and where Murray administered propofol to the singer were vials of prescription pills prescribed by at least two other doctors than Murray.

In addition to the police interview, jurors also watched surveillance video of Conrad Murray leaving the UCLA Medical Center after Jackson was declared dead.

Detective Scott Smith told jurors that he went to the hospital on the day Jackson died, but was unable to track Murray down for an interview. He did talk briefly to Jackson's bodyguard and driver.

Smith said that the day after Jackson died, Jackson's family alerted him and the coroner of additional evidence found in the master bathroom of Jackson's mansion.

Pictures of the master bathroom showed a messy space with drawers open,notes taped to windows and things covering the floor.

The evidence included three empty pill bottles and a shaving bag full of rotten marijuana. Smith said police at first thought the marijuana was heroin.

The playing of the police interview and surveillance video marks a shift from two days of forensic evidence in the case, including fingerprint evidence and Jackson's toxicology report.

On Thursday, a Los Angeles County toxicologist detailed the drugs found in the king of pop's body at the time he died. Propofol, the powerful anesthetic, that Jackson overdosed on was found in both his stomach contents and his blood.

Jackson died at age 50 after a night of rehearsing for his comeback tour, "This Is It." He came home the night before, threw his black jacket on the bathroom floor and tried to sleep. Prosecutors claim that Murray recklessly administered propofol and other drugs to the singer to help him sleep and failed to properly monitor Jackson while he was under the influence of the drugs.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said in opening statements that Jackson was a desperate insomniac.

"Michael Jackson swallowed up to eight pills on his own, without telling his doctor. Michael Jackson self-administered an additional dose of propofol," Chernoff said on Sept. 27.

The testimony of toxicologist Dan Anderson might have cast doubt on the possibility of Jackson swallowing a lethal combination of pills and propofol.

The singer's stomach only had .13 milligrams of propofol in it, an amount that typically wouldn't be lethal.

Prosecutor David Walgren asked the toxicologist if that amount was "the equivalent of specks of sugar crystals from a one gram sugar packet you might see in a restaurant."

Anderson said that Walgren's comparison is accurate.

The amount of propofol in Jackson's blood was far greater. Propofol is typically administered intravenously and in a hospital setting. If the drug was administered through an IV, it would show up in Jackson's blood.

In vials of blood taken from Jackson's dead body at the UCLA Medical Center, there was 4.2 micrograms of propofol present.

In addition to the toxicology report, prosecutors read the fingerprint analysis done on items found in the Jackson home. A bottle of propofol had Murray's left index fingerprint. Jackson's fingerprints were not on any of the items tested which included a syringe, two propofol bottles and two saline IV bags.

The fingerprint evidence was not all good news for prosecutors. Mystery fingerprints were found on both a cut saline bag and a propofol bottle that was found inside the bag.

The fingerprints found on both did not belong to Murray, Jackson, Jackson's bodyguard who claimed to have moved the IV bag, or any of the investigators or first responders.

"Fingerprint evidence can be confusing because on the one hand, if you find someone's fingerprint, it's significant…If you don't find someone's fingerprint, it doesn't necessarily mean someone wasn't there," said ABC News' legal analyst Dan Abrams.

Murray's defense attorney attempted to cast shadow over the thorougness of the investigation into Michael Jackson's death during the cross-examination of a coroner investigator Thursday.

Defense attorney Chernoff repeatedly asked investigator Elissa Fleak from the Los Angeles coroner's office whether she made mistakes when gathering evidence and taking photos at Jackson's rented mansion after he died of a drug overdose.

"You made substantial number of mistakes in your investigation of this case," Chernoff asked.

"No," Fleak responded.

On Wednesday, prosecutors painstakingly went through photos taken by Fleak at Jackson's home and of a dead Jackson at the UCLA Medical Center.

The photos ranged from an ambu bag on the floor to a jug of Jackson's urine to vials upon vials of propofol and other drugs found on Jackson's nightstand and in three bags in his closet.

Fleak admitted that her fingerprints were on a syringe that she had moved and that she had mistakenly referred to a catheter as a broken syringe in her report.

Upon cross-examination, she potentially dealt a blow to prosecutors by saying that an IV bag did not appear to have the milky residue of propofol, seeming to contradict her own testimony given Wednesday. Fleak told jurors Wednesday that she'd recovered an IV bag that had been slit and had propofol in it from a blue Costco bag in Jackson's closet. Today, she said a picture of that IV bag didn't look like it had any of the drug's residue.

In addition to giving a seemingly contradictory statement, Fleak also admitted to jurors that she never noted that the slit IV bag had a propofol vial in it until March of this year. Fleak also said that Jackson's home was not secured after she gathered evidence.

"I think they [the defense] made a little bit of headway. I don't think that this is the strongest part of their defense...that the investigation was sloppy," said legal analyst Abrams.  

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