Will The Michael Jackson Trial End On Monday? A British Perspective

I've been following the trial of Conrad Murray with interest, on the excellent Sky News channel.

It seems to me that Conrad Murray and his defence team are fighting a desperate losing battle. It looks like Murray panicked, after inadvisably giving Michael Jackson propofol (a surgical anesthetic) as a sleeping draught, and later returning to the room to find he had stopped breathing.

You can understand Murray's state of mind, upon making the discovery. Michael Jackson was one of the most famous people in the world, and Murray would have considered himself ruined, if he couldn't save him.

What happened next is all in the statement Murray gave to police. Such was his state of anxiety, he forgot all of his training, giving heart massage to a patient, whose heart was still beating. He also forgot to promptly call the emergency services, even though he clearly had a cell phone on his person - although I'm sure a part of his failure to call 911 was a desire not to let outsiders know what was happening, since if he had been successful in saving Jackson, the world would never have needed to know.

The defence seem to be implying that some of the timings Murray gave to police were inaccurate. They have nowhere else to go but to argue that there wasn't really a negligent delay in getting help, of course. But I listened intently to defence attorney J. Michael Flanagan, pointing out to cardiologist Alon Steinberg how accurate Murray's timings of earlier dispensations of drugs to Jackson were....

It seems, then, that Murray is guilty of negligence, and therefore manslaughter, whether or not Jackson self-ingested an extra dose of propofol. But that possibility itself seems a little far fetched. Murray estimates that he was out of the room for about two minutes, after observing Jackson sleeping. Is that really enough time for a man coming round from a surgical aneschetic to get up, find the drug, and feed it to himself, before going back to sleep again - especially given that he must been attached to a propofol drip, in addition to the base dose administered? Is it alternatively possible that Murray miscalculated the amount of propofol given to Jackson, in either the base dose or the drip feed?

I do feel some sympathy for Dr. Murray. He was clearly placed under enormous pressure to supply propofol to Jackson, and there was a lot of money and prestige attached to having the singer as a client. The long weekend break from the trial is time for everyone to reflect. Perhaps Murray should plea bargain on Monday, accepting responsibility in exchange for leniency....

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