Tuesday, January 4


As Michael Jackson's life slipped away, his personal physician delayed calling 911, hid evidence of his medical treatment, misled paramedics and doctors, and then abruptly left the hospital before police could question him, prosecutors and the pop star's employees said in court Tuesday.

The picture of Dr. Conrad Murray frantically trying to cover up his treatment of the pop star emerged during the first day of a hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to try the 57-year-old cardiologist for involuntary manslaughter.

Two members of Jackson's staff summoned to the witness stand by prosecutors described the physician as panicked, drenched in sweat and, according to one security guard, too flustered to recall even the most basic medical skills.

"I remember him asking if anyone in the room knew CPR," testified Jackson's head of security, Faheem Muhammad. He said he and another guard stared at each other in shock.

Jackson stopped breathing June 25, 2009, in a bedroom of his rented Holmby Hills mansion from what the coroner determined was a fatal combination of the surgical anesthetic propofol and several sedatives.

Murray initially did not return police calls, but two days after Jackson's death he met with police and acknowledged that he had given the 50-year-old singer the drugs as a sleep aid on a daily basis for two months, including the day he died, prosecutors said.

Tuesday's testimony focused on the minutes and hours when the cause of Jackson's death remained a mystery.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren said phone records and witness interviews indicated that Murray was on his cellphone when he discovered that his famous client was not breathing.

Walgren said that based on phone records, at least nine minutes and as many 21 minutes elapsed between the time Murray realized something was wrong and he asked someone to call 911.

Before summoning paramedics, Murray left a frantic message on the cellphone of Jackson's personal assistant, Michael Amir Williams. When he returned the call, Williams testified, the physician told him that Jackson "had a bad reaction" and that he should "get someone" to the house immediately.
Walgren said that during this period Murray ordered another security guard, Alberto Alvarez, to help him collect pill bottles and medical paraphernalia in a bag.

Alvarez saw the doctor performing CPR with one hand on a bed, the prosecutor said.

Muhammad, sent to Jackson's bedroom by Williams, testified that he saw Murray kneeling over the singer, who was by this time sprawled out on the floor next to the bed with his eyes and mouth open.

"Did he appear to be alive?" Walgren asked.

"No, sir, he didn't," Muhammad said.

He said Murray then asked whether he or Alvarez knew CPR.

"It was very frantic," Muhammad said of the question.

Adding to the chaos, the witness said, was the presence of two of Jackson's children near the entrance to the bedroom.

The singer's daughter, Paris, was on "the ground on her hands and knees and she was crying," Muhammad recalled. SOURCE


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