, LOS ANGELES, Nov 7 – The jury in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray reached its long-awaited verdict on Monday, court officials said.
The seven men and five women were to give their decision at 1pm (2100 GMT), the court said, as about 200 fans outside the downtown Los Angeles court erupted in anticipation.
“Verdict is FINALLY IN!!! I’m on my way! I’m shaking uncontrollably!” Jackson’s sister La Toya tweeted, minutes after the court said the jury had agreed on a verdict following some 10 hours of deliberations.
Jackson’s family – led by mother Katherine and father Joe – arrived about an hour before the verdict was due, helped by security to get through a huge media and fan scrum outside the court.
Murray faces up to four years in jail and could be banned from practicing medicine if convicted of Jackson’s death from an overdose of propofol on June 25, 2009.
Since opening on September 27, the trial at Los Angeles Superior Court has heard from 49 witnesses – 33 for the prosecution, and 16 for the defense.
In his closing arguments last week, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said Murray caused the star’s death through negligence and greed, depriving Jackson’s children of their father and the world of a “genius.”
Walgren, summing up an “overwhelming case” against Murray, claimed the medic concocted lies to cover his tracks – specifically about the timeline on the day Jackson died, and not telling paramedics what drugs he had given.
He alleged that Murray above all wanted to protect his $150,000 a month salary for looking after Jackson, describing how the doctor agreed to treat the star’s insomnia with the anesthetic propofol against all medical advice.
“Conrad Murray in multiple instances deceived, lied, obscured, but more importantly, Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence,” the prosecutor told the jury.
The defense, meanwhile, argued that Jackson was a desperate drug addict who caused his own death by taking more medicines while Murray was out of the room at the star’s rented mansion in Los Angeles.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff claimed that Murray was “a little fish in a big dirty pond,” alleging that key witnesses conspired to agree on a story after Jackson died.
The jury – including six white jurors, five Hispanics, and one African American, and ranging from 32 to 57 years old – asked no questions on Friday, as they are allowed to do via messages from their closed door deliberations.
Shortly before the verdict announcement, Jackson’s former dermatologist broke his silence to deny the singer was a drug addict, or that he had given him massive doses of painkillers in the months before his death.
“Michael was not a drug addict… Michael Jackson did not have a problem with pain killers,” said Dr Arnold Klein, whose office Jackson visited several times a week in the months before his death.
Specifically he denied having treated Jackson with large doses of the painkiller Demerol – 900 mg over three days in one case — during the month of May 2009, as suggested by records from his office shown in evidence in the last week of the trial.
Klein said he was away in Paris for most of the month of May, and other doctors worked from his office.
“I would never give a person those doses attributed to me,” he told the HLN television channel.
“Those doses they said in trial are not my doses,” he added.