The Defense attorney Mr Chernoff began his closing arguments by advising the jury that the decision in this case was theirs and theirs alone. “Michael Jackson was a wonderful entertainer and his death was hard on his family, but there may have been more than one cause of death.” Chernoff, however, did not expand on that statement but went on to say that the Defense did not dispute there had been negligence.
He said that the Prosecution must prove that Murray’s acts had killed Michael and that it had to be a specific act that was the cause of death. “The undisputed facts were the nature and character of Propofol,” he said.
Speaking of the failure to call 911, he insisted that Murray’s first responsibility was to try to revive Michael. He admitted that Murray was on the phone for forty two minutes before he found that Michael was not breathing. If he had found him during those forty two minutes he would have tried to revive him. We will never know for sure what would have happened, Chernoff said.
Chernoff then went on to say that Propofol was a ten minute drug and after that, it can only be kept going by means of a drip. He then said that the Prosecution has been trying for six weeks to prove that he had used a drip because without it, what Murray had given to Michael would not have killed him. Dr Shafer, Elissa Fleak, Alberto Alvarez had all given evidence that there was a drip, but there was no proof that it existed. He said the Prosecution wanted to convict Murray for what Michael Jackson did to himself!
Alberto Alvarez had said that he helped Murray place Michael on the floor, pulled out the IV drip and placed a pulse oximeter on his finger, then made the 911 call, Chernoff explained. The IV bag and line found at the scene had been tested for drugs, but no trace was discovered. When the paramedics arrived, they found Michael on the bed and Alberto Alvarez was not performing CPR, Chernoff said. At 12.18p.m. he had made one five second call to Michael Amir Williams, followed by a six second call, followed again by an eighty eight second call. He did not tell the truth!
Chernoff then said that the ‘bottle in the bag’ was a Prosecution theory and Elissa Fleak did not mention it as there were no notes, photos or chronology in the investigation summary. Then eighteen months later, there is a bottle in the bag and other detectives with LAPD were consummate professionals, taking notes and preparing evidence. Detective Smith did not see a bottle in the bag, he said. He found a Lorazepam container in an empty IV bag. Chernoof continued, in April 2011, Alberto Alvarez was interviewed at the DA’s office and made drawings of IV bags. The prosecution tried to prove there was a Propofol bag in the cut IV bag. The tab on the bottle was intact, but later it had been cut and removed and placed in the IV bag. However, the IV tubing only showed Propofol in the lower section, instead of throughout the entire line. Both tubings were vented and Dr Shafer admitted that he was wrong about that point. The Prosection had abrogated their responsibility by relying on Dr Shafer to prove their points. They made him into a cop. He had worked backwards to find a solution, decided what he thought had happened, Chernoff said.
Chernoff then spoke of the evidence given by Dr Shafer against Dr White’s evidence. He said scientific experts are used to telling the jury what is scientifically possible but Dr Shafer became an advocate rather than a scientist. He said that Dr White was honest and that he knew more than Dr Shafer will ever know. “Dr Shafer thinks we won’t figure it out! None of his models have anything to do with this case. The data and evidence did not fit this case,” Chernoff said. “Dr Shafer could have come up with an infinite number of possibilities. He had even used a timeline in one example when Michael was at the Staples Center or in his car on the way home.” He said the Prosecution was desperate and really needed to prove a crime then unclear arguments were made using examples which did not apply in this case.
“If it were anyone other than Michael Jackson, would Conrad Murray be here today,” said Chernoff. He explained that the juror’s instructions state that to convict Murray, he would have to have shown indifference for human life. Did the jury really believe Murray had done that? If he had done as the prosecution said, surely he would have come up with a better story than that, Chernoff argued. “There was no drip at the scene. Had Murray concealed it? That notion was absurd,” Chernoff said. “All the other doctors who had taken the stand had looked down on Murray and said they would have done things differently. It is easy to say that he is “a lousy doctor”, but they have never been in his shoes. They have less compassion, so don’t question his motives. His character defect is his greatest strength and helps him to sleep normally.”
“He was a little fish in a big dirty pond,” said Chernoff, who went on to defend Murray’s failure to call 911 because he was attempting resuscitation. He said he tried to revive Michael with CPR and injected Flumazenil and that there is no reversal drug for Propofol.
“He asked Kai Chase to get security,” Chernoff said. “Other doctors had given evidence that he performed substandard CPR, but with his size and strength that would have been sufficient,” Chernoff argued. He then went on to say that the Prosecution had a tremendous desire to paint a perfect victim and a perfect villain and these were unfair impressions and he asked why it was unbelievable to believe Murray wanted to leave the Medical centre at UCLA as he had arrived there in the ambulance and his car was at the house. “He wanted to go home to eat,” Chernoff said.
Chernoff then replayed Frank Dileo’s voicemail to Murray asking him to call him about an ‘episode’ Michael had had and suggesting a blood test to see what he’s doing. Chernoff suggested that it was not what Michael was doing that was at issue, it what was being done to him, perhaps by Arnold Klein.
Chernoff continued by saying that the jury had seen a sample of the stresses in Michael’s life and that Murray had compartmentalised those for Michael for sixty days, not providing a controlled substance, but a drug. Murray then went home each day to his normal life. He said that the Prosecution were insulting to him, thinking that he had no ability to make judgements for himself, no decisions, no plans for the future. Michael knew what he was doing, he like to push the drug into himself, but Murray had said; “not on my watch. Where is the line drawn on Conrad Murray’s responsibility?” He said. Michael died from Propofol and “a load of Lorazepam. Was Murray responsible for that? It is an easy thing to say and takes all responsibility away from Michael Jackson.” Chernoff’s final words were; “Is this good TV?”
Mr Walgren rose to make a brief rebuttal statement. “Poor Conrad Murray,” he said. He then explained that Murray’s actions and failure to act was grossly negligent and criminally negligent, were the cause of Michael’s death. He explained that Propofol had never been used in a private bedroom and it is criminally negligent to administer it without safety measure available and it is bizarre as well as unethical behaviour.
“Poor Conrad Murray, everyone was working against him,” Mr Walgren said. “Elissa Fleake, AEG, Michael Amir Williams, Arnold Klein, everyone but poor Conrad Murray. Dr Richelle Cooper who had told Katherine about Michael’s death, they were both grieving. What was Murray doing? The Defense said Michael was to blame, Dr Shafer is a cop, Chase didn’t get security. If he could, he would blame Prince. If Alberto Alvarez had wanted to blame Murray he would have come up with a better story. Fleake with her bottle in the saline bag! Poor Conrad Murray! Everything he did was bizarre! Propofol every night for two months – bizarre! Lied to paramedics and ER staff – bizarre! Unusual set up of Saline bag – bizarre! Everything was bizarre! Everything was inconsistent with the behaviour of a trained doctor. It was ALL Michael’s fault! There was no doubt that Michael sought Propofol. Everyone else said “no!” Murray said yes for $150,000 each month! Poor Conrad Murray.”
Mr Walgren continued; “Dr White said he would never have left Michael alone. Alberto Alvarez was lying! He had no position in this case. It was all a nightmare for him, he told the truth. Elissa Fleak told the truth about the IV bag and the bottle in the Costco bag. Detective Smith told the truth. He saw the IV bag and the bottle laid out for photographing. Dr Shafer is a cop, but he had given the Defense all his information at their request.”
“Murray abandoned Michael,” Mr Walgren said. “Dr Shafer gave the science and told the truth. Michael’s prints were not on any syringe. Alberto Alvarez’s prints were not on the saline bag. The 100 ml vial of Propofol bore Murray’s print.”
Mr Walgren explained that no doctor would ever do what Murray did and the Defense had not relied on Dr White’s evidence because it was junk science! Dr Shafer received no payment and told the truth. The oral Lorazepam could only have been taken when Murray was out of the room. “We don’t know,” he said. “Conrad Murray had a duty of care. If he had not abandoned Michael, he would not have died. If he had had the correct resuscitation equipment, he could have saved him. He knew that Propofol was a respiratory depressant and affects different people in different ways. He needed safety precautions in place. The event was entirely foreseeable.”
At this point Mr Walgren again asked the jury to review Murray’s statement very carefully, to assess the lies he told. He told them that Myurray had said to Kenny Ortega, Paul Gongaware and the lady involved in the insurance company’s contract that Michael was in perfect health. Murray had emailed Bob Taylor about that insurance, saying the issues in the media were not true. Murray had made no mention of Propofol to the paramedics or the staff in the Emergency room and that Dr White’s assertion that he had overlooked it, is insulting to the intelligence of the jury. He said that Murray had lied about the drug shipments to his private home address, leading the company to think it was a medical facility and he had lied to Michael. He lied that he had insisted on an autopsy, when in fact he had no control over that decision. The Social Welfare team at UCAL had nothing to do with him and when he had taken Katherine aside he told her he did not know what had happened. “He lied,” Mr Walgren said. “Poor Conrad Murray!”
Mr Walgren ended his summing up by saying that the law is absolutely clear and the Defense theory is that the event was unforeseen however, Murray knew Michael’s dependency on Propofol, gave the drugs and abandoned him. He said that no one can prove exactly what happened, but Michael is dead and that the jury must look at the volume of shipped Propofol and think about if Murray was really trying to wean Michael off it. Murray had said he felt deeply for Michael, but actions spoke louder than words and Michael thought he had a relationship with Murray that was built on trust. Murray had brought the Propofol into the house, administered it without any precautions and failed to call for help and therefore Murray is criminally liable for Michael’s death.