Today’s court hearing lasted just half a day and consisted solely of five character witnesses for Conrad Murray.
The first to take the stand was Gerry Causey, from Cedar City, Utah. He had previously lived in Las Vegas and met Murray there. He had suffered from a heart attack and Murray had treated him so he spoke about the procedures Murray had used, the explanations he had been given, the consent forms he had signed and the actual procedure he had to implant a two stents. Both these procedures were carried out by Murray who had not fully sedated him, but used local anesthesia, so that Mr Causey was able to watch them as they happened. He became a good friend of Murray and remains so to this day. To him, Murray is a concerned doctor who takes time to inform his patients about their care and loves his patients. He stated that Murray was not a man who would abandon his patients and he never rushed a consultation, sometimes taking hours with each one. Mr Causey added that he also taken on patients without insurance, working pro-bono.
Under cross examination with Mr Walgren, Mr Causey admitted giving two interviews to the media about this case.
In April 2009 Murray had advised him that he was giving up his practice to go to London for approximately a year. He had never been treated by Murray for a sleep disorder or drug dependency. He confirmed that his procedures had been carried out in hospital, with a full staff and all relevant medical equipment available.
Mr Chernoff, on re-cross examination asked if he had been paid for the interviews he gave, he answered that he had not, but had done it for his friend. He asserted that Murray was the best doctor he had ever seen and had compassion for his patients.
Mr Walgren then asked if, after seeing the evidence in this case, he would change his mind about Murray, he answered that whatever happened he would still be there for him.
The next character witness was Andrew Guest who had lived in Las Vegas for ten years. He worked at the Mandalay Bay Hotel as a locksmith, meeting Murray in 2002. When he suffered from pains in his chest and arms, his own doctor was out of the country and he was referred to Murray. He was sent to the Desert Springs Hospital where Murray performed procedures to implant stents to relieve the pressure. He had a further procedure one month later. Mr Guest spoke highly of Murray, commenting on how he had explained the procedures before, during and after the event. He had called Mr Guest at home to check his progress and Mr Guest said he was a; “great guy.”
Mr Walgren asked Mr Guest if he knew the previous witness, Gerry Causey. He said that he had been interviewed with him on CNN and that they had become friends. He was also friends with others who had appeared on that show.
He agreed that his procedures had been carried out in a hospital, with other staff present and all relevant equipment to hand and had never been given Propofol in his bedroom. Mr Walgren asked if he thought that every patient deserved that level of care. He replied; “Definitely.”
Mr Guest then told Mr Chernoff on re-examination that Murray always made sure he was doing okay and that he was not getting “a fair shake” and needs support. He said he is alive today because of Murray and nothing would change his mind about him.
The next character witness was Lunette Sampson who lives in San Diego, but lived in Las Vegas from 2002 until October 1st 2011. In April 2009 she was taken ill on the freeway and had a great deal of trouble with her heart. On one occasion she had been taken to The Sunrise Hospital, where the doctors had failed to help. Murray had taken over her care and his procedures had worked. He had performed many procedures on her, such as repairing arteries which other doctors said they could not do. She had spent time in many hospitals and Murray had always gone there to help her. She had never had a more caring doctor, she said, who was so thorough and was not the type to rush. When asked if Murray was greedy or money-hungry she replied that he did a lot of pro-bono work and would help anyone.
Mr Walgren asked who had first spoken to her about Murray’s trial. When she said she didn’t know he reminded her that it had been a lawyer working for Media Maestro PR firm. She again said she didn’t know. When asked if she had received Murray’s letter about closing his practice to go to London for a one year sabbatical, she said he had told her personally. Mr Walgren referred back to her speaking of Sunrise Hospital, asking her if she knew that Murray had received a disciplinary letter while working there. He had been called to attend a patient as no other doctor was available and failed to respond for two hours and fifty-six minutes, prompting the letter censuring him. She said she had no way of knowing about that and had no knowledge of the hospital’s rules and regulations.
The following character witness was Dennis Hix who moved to Las Vegas in 1999 or 2000 and bought a home next door to where Murray’s children lived. Murray had introduced himself to Mr Hix as a cardiologist and given him a business card. Mr Hix had been told that his heart problems could not be repaired, but two months after moving in he called Murray for an appointment. After examining him, Murray declared that he could repair the heart. He was admitted to hospital where Murray placed seven stents in his heart and one month later placed another six stents. When asked about his insurance, Mr Hix said that he did not have enough, but Murray did the remaining work for no fee.
Mr Hix also had a brother who needed the same treatment and again Murray performed the work free of charge.
Mr Walgren asked on re-cross if he had received the close of practice letter from Murray. He said he had. He then asked if he knew Murray was going to work for Michael Jackson and he replied saying he didn’t know.
He confirmed, as did all the other witnesses that Murray had performed all the procedures in a well equipped room with a full staff. He was monitored throughout and received detailed care. Murray had never treated him for insomnia or drug dependency.
The final character witness was Reuby Mosley from Houston Texas, who lived at the Acres Home Community, which was specifically for, aged low income people. She had received consistent medical care there. Murray’s father was also a physician in that area and Murray opened a new clinic there in memory of his father who was also a physician. In this area 75% of the residents are poor and on Welfare and Murray could have earned much more if he had stayed in Las Vegas, she said. Murray had treated both her and her husband by inserting stents into their arteries.
Mr Walgren asked Mrs Mosley on re-cross if she had met Sade Anding in Houston, or any of Murray’s friends. She said she had not. She spoke well of Murray, saying that he was precise when giving details of treatment and plans of action. He was extremely pro-active and took his time with patients. There were lots of patients for him to see and he never rushed, but saw everyone.
Mrs Mosley’s evidence ended here.
Before the trial recessed for the day, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor told Murray he soon plans to ask the defendant to state whether he wants to testify in his own defense.
The judge emphasised that the right to testify was his alone.
“It does not belong to your attorneys, to the prosecution or to me,” Pastor said. “If you want to testify, you will testify even if someone may be counseling you not to testify. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Murray said, softly.
He warned Murray that testifying would subject him to cross-examination and said; “I also want to advise you that you have an absolute constitutional right not to testify, the right to remain silent.”