Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A Michael Jackson impersonator poses outside the courthouse during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray's trial. David McNew / Reuters
A Michael Jackson impersonator poses outside the courthouse during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray's trial. David McNew / Reuters

Michael Jackson 'died so quickly, had no chance to close his eyes', doctor's trial told

Involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop star's physician resumes with revelations about singer's drug cocktail.

LOS ANGELES // Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors yesterday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop star's physician entered its second day.

Paul Gongaware, an executive for AEG Live, said Jackson appeared engaged and energetic during the session. Prosecutors called Mr Gongaware to highlight the importance of the performer's comeback concerts and in an apparent attempt to show that both Jackson and his physician were deeply engaged in preparations for the show before he died on June 25, 2009.

Prosecutors wrapped up their direct questioning of Mr Gongaware before the defence lawyer Ed Chernoff briefly questioned the executive. Under cross-examination, Mr Gongaware acknowledged the concert giant was being sued by Jackson's mother for negligent supervision of defendant Dr Murray when he worked with Jackson.

Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson's death.

Prosecutors allege Dr Murray caused Jackson's death by providing him with a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol and other sedatives. Another AEG employee, lawyer Kathy Jorrie, testified about drafting a contract for Dr Murray to work as Jackson's personal physician.

"He wanted to make sure that there was somebody else available to be of assistance," Ms Jarrie said.

Prosecutors also planned to call one of Jackson's bodyguards and his personal assistant, who Dr Murray frantically called after he found the singer unconscious.

In opening statements on Tuesday, the deputy District Attorney David Walgren said Dr Murray delayed summoning emergency crews and lied to doctors and medics when he failed to reveal he had been giving Jackson the medication to try to help the entertainer sleep.

Mr Chernoff claimed Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of medication in a desperate attempt to get some sleep. He said Dr Murray had been trying to wean Jackson off propofol, but that he kept requesting it on the day he died.

"Michael Jackson started begging," Mr Chernoff said. "When Michael Jackson told Dr Murray, 'I have to sleep. They will cancel my performance,' he meant it."

He told jurors that Jackson swallowed enough of the sedative lorazepam to put six people to sleep before ingesting propofol. The combination, which Mr Chernoff called a "perfect storm" of medications, killed Jackson so quickly that he did not have a chance to close his eyes.

Prosecutors rejected Dr Murray's version and told jurors the Houston-based cardiologist also had a tremendous stake in Jackson appearing in the concerts.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National