Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician who was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the King of Pop’s death, faced the judge that will oversee his trial and several members of the Jackson family — the star’s parents Joe and Katherine as well as siblings Janet, Jermaine and Randy — at a preliminary hearing at a Los Angeles courthouse today. Fans wearing T-shirts calling for “Justice for Michael” gathered outside the court, according to USA Today.
At this afternoon’s hearing, Murray learned that the judge presiding over his case will be Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who TMZ calls “one of the toughest, smartest” judges in the county. Pastor has previously overseen celebrity cases involving Cameron Diaz and Jason Priestley as well as a multitude of high-profile, non-celebrity cases.
One of the issues on the docket today involved the California Attorney General and medical board’s calls to revoke Murray’s medical license as a condition of his bail. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Murray’s legal team asked the court to refuse the request, arguing that the “domino effect” would cripple the doctor’s ability to pay for his defense team. Even though Murray doesn’t practice medicine in California, he feared losing his medical license in California would affect his status as a doctor in both Nevada and Texas. Earlier in the day Murray reached an agreement with the Texas medical board to keep his license as long as he doesn’t administer any sedatives to any of his patients. Ultimately, Judge Cantor opted not to revoke Murray’s California license.
Though Murray’s legal team has yet to official lay out its defense in court, TMZ claims the doctor’s defense is an argument that Jackson may have killed himself by administering himself too much Propofol. The shocking scenario, according to unnamed sources, is that Murray put Jackson into a Propofol-induced sleep for eight to 10 minutes and left the room to make a phone call, at which point Jackson awoke and administered a fatal amount of Propofol into his own IV bag. Jackson’s death had been ruled a homicide from acute propofol intoxication.
A rep for Murray refuted the theory in a statement to Access Hollywood that reads, “We do not know what sources to which TMZ is referring. We only know it didn’t come from [attorney] Ed [Chernoff] who has the final word. In any case, it is premature to discuss defense strategy. Dr. Murray’s defense will depend on the People’s theory of prosecution, which has not yet been made available to the defense team.”
The next preliminary hearing in Murray’s case was scheduled for June 14th.