The day after one of Michael Jackson‘s former nurses was brought to tears while testifying at the involuntary manslaughter trial of the singer’s former doctor, Conrad Murray, it was the cardiologist who got weepy on Wednesday (October 26) as his defense team produced a series of witnesses attesting to Murray’s skills as a physician.
» Andrew Guest, former patient of Conrad Murray
» Gerry Causey, former patient
» Lunette Sampson, former patient
» Ruby Mosley, former patient
» After weeks of prosecution witnesses hammering away at what they deemed Murray’s unprofessional, sloppy work in the final, crucial hours of MJ’s life, the cardiologist’s defense team spent Wednesday serving up a string of character witnesses to speak on Murray’s behalf, according to the Los Angeles Times. The patients from Murray’s Las Vegas and Houston practices talked about the hours he spent speaking to them, calling them at home and on weekends, and the free services he offered to those who were indigent. “That man sitting there is the best doctor I’ve ever seen,” said Andrew Guest, who Murray treated for a heart condition in 2002. “I’m alive because of that man.” Their testimony caused Murray to well up with tears at various points.
» Longtime patient and friend Causey said his appointments with Murray often lasted more than four hours, with the doctor often calling Causey’s wife afterward to explain his treatment. Sampson also testified to Murray’s careful, exhaustive attention and Mosley said Murray set up a clinic in a low-income neighborhood in honor of his father, who was a physician in that area.
» While cross-examining the witnesses, prosecutor David Walgren pointed out that each patient had received care for heart-related ailments and were not treated for sleep disorders or drug dependency. Prosecutors have said Murray’s motivation to give Jackson the surgical anesthetic propofol was his promised six-figure monthly salary.
» Each patient also noted that when Murray did sedate them it was in a hospital setting with monitoring equipment and backup personnel. Prosecutors have argued that Murray did not have proper monitoring equipment or a nurse assistant when he gave Jackson a fatal dose of propofol and then left the room on June 25, 2009.
» When jurors left for the day, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor spoke directly to Murray and reminded him that he has a right to choose whether or not he testifies on his own behalf in the trial. Pastor said he would ask Murray for an answer on that question later this week when the defense rests its case. Murray was not listed on Thursday’s defense witness roster submitted by attorney Ed Chernoff.
Murray, who was being paid $150,000 a month to care for Jackson, has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter and is now facing four years in prison. But new sentencing laws in California aimed at mandatorily reducing state prison overcrowding mean that, as a nonviolent offender with no prior record, he could be sentenced to county jail instead. If that is the case, his sentence could be reduced to two years and, because of overcrowding in the Los Angeles County jail, he may be allowed to serve the majority of his time under supervised house arrest.