Michael was so depressed over his dwindling finances in his final days that he took his own life, a court heard today!
Edward Chernoff, a defense lawyer for Michael’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, claimed Michael resorted to “desperate measures,” because of his financial situation.
The bombshell statement came during a pretrial hearing in Los Angeles in the case of Dr. Conrad Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Michael’s death. Mr Chernoff was asking to see Michael’s financial records to prove a key defense theory.
“The crux of the defence is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death,” he told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor. ‘We believe at the time Michael Jackson died, he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs,” he added.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren accused the defense of trying to distract from the main issue of the trial – whether Dr Murray acted with gross negligence, when he gave Michael the anesthetic Propofol and other sedatives on the day he died.
“This is an irrelevant sideshow designed to take issues away from the jury and smear Michael Jackson,” said Mr Walgren. “It has nothing to do with the case on which Dr. Murray is being prosecuted.”
Lawyer Howard Weitzman, representing Michael’s Estate, also opposed the request for financial records.
“Is the theory that Michael Jackson committed suicide, took his own life?” He said incredulously, “I don’t think that’s a salable theory.”
The judge refused to grant the request.
“I’m not going to turn an involuntary manslaughter trial into some kind of an escapade in analysis of the finances in Michael Jackson’s entire life. Right now this is major deep sea fishing,” said Judge Pastor. However, the judge did order Mr Weitzman to confer with defense counsel on financial records that are already available in the public record.
During an earlier preliminary hearing, Dr Murray’s lawyers suggested that Michael, who was desperate for sleep, gave himself an additional dose of Propofol while Murray was going to the toilet. A coroner’s report showed the singer died of an overdose of Propofol and an assortment of other sedatives.
Defense lawyers never used the word suicide and implied his death was accidental but self-inflicted. They seemed poised to argue that Michael was about to embark on an extremely strenuous concert tour because it was the only way to save himself financially.
They are likely to suggest that was why Michael was so desperate for sleep as he was preparing for the tour. At a preliminary hearing for Murray, Michael was quoted by a witness as saying if he didn’t sleep he would have to cancel the tour.
Lawyers were ordered to return Thursday, to continue screening prospective jurors through written questionnaires. Jury selection is scheduled to move into open court on May 4th and opening statements are expected on May 9th.