Prosecutors seek maximum jail term for Jackson doctor

2011-11-24 09:00

Los Angeles - Prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to sentence Michael Jackson’s former doctor to the maximum four years in prison for his involuntary manslaughter conviction in the singer’s 2009 death.

In a separate court filing, defence attorneys for Dr Conrad Murray sought to convince Los Angeles trial judge Michael Pastor to sentence their client to probation.

The duelling court filings come in advance of a hearing on Tuesday at which Pastor will issue his sentence for Murray, who is currently in jail awaiting that court date.

Jackson was found lifeless at his mansion on June 25, 2009, about three weeks before he was due to begin a series of comeback concerts in London.

Murray was at the singer’s house and had given him the powerful anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid, which medical examiners said was the chief cause of his death.

Doctors testified at the trial that propofol, which is often used for surgery, should never be given in a home setting without adequate staffing and equipment.

In seeking to justify their request for a maximum prison sentence of four years for Murray, prosecutors David Walgren and Deborah Brazil argued that the doctor took advantage of Jackson’s trust in him, all while being under salary for $150 000 a month.

“Instead of utilising his medical knowledge and training to provide Mr Jackson with proper medical care, the defendant acted as an employee and as a drug dealer and completely corrupted the trust necessary in a proper doctor-patient relationship,” prosecutors stated.

Defence attorneys said in their court papers that Murray’s “background and character” warrant a sentence of probation, not prison time.

“Dr Murray has a long history of treating everyone who came to his clinic, whether or not they had insurance coverage or the funds to pay him,” Murray’s attorneys stated.

Murray has been in jail since November 7 awaiting his sentencing hearing, due to a decision by Pastor to not allow him to remain free until that upcoming hearing.

That decision was made on the same day that a Los Angeles found Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter after a six-week trial. 

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