Jackson doctor to surrender whether charged or not

Michael Jackson’s doctor will surrender to authorities today whether he is charged or not, his legal team said.

The move came after lawyers for Dr Conrad Murray said they were tired of waiting for word from prosecutors about when he would be charged.

Dr Murray, who has a practice in Houston, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, has been in Los Angeles for the past week and available to surrender since Tuesday.

“We are going to be at the courthouse at 1.30 (pm) for his surrender,” said Miranda Sevcik, spokeswoman for Murray’s legal team. “We see no reason to perpetuate the arbitrary situation any longer.”

The district attorney’s office has not confirmed if or when it will be charging Dr Murray, though prosecutors have been reviewing the case for weeks. But Dr Murray’s team sees a charge as inevitable, Ms Sevcik said.

“We know he’s going to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and we are ready with a counter-argument,” she said. “He’s not guilty – that’s our argument.”

It remains to be seen whether the bizarre prospect of Dr Murray trying to surrender without a criminal case being filed will come to pass.

The move follows three days of negotiations in which Dr Murray’s lawyers have tried to arrange with prosecutors for the Houston doctor to surrender for booking and arraignment.

Those plans were derailed by haggling between prosecutors and law enforcement officials over whether the doctor should be arrested or allowed to turn himself in.

Los Angeles Police Department, which spent the past seven months investigating Dr Murray, were unhappy with the idea of him surrendering and wanted to go to the residence he was staying at to arrest him, a law enforcement official close to the investigation said.

Various factors weighed into the desire to arrest Dr Murray, including the possibility he might flee before arraignment, said the official. Police also worried it could appear Dr Murray was being given special treatment if he was allowed to turn himself in.

The official said the district attorney’s office opposed an early plan for detectives to make the arrest today, upsetting senior officers, and negotiated with his lawyers to allow the doctor to turn himself in.

Dr Murray’s lawyer, Ed Chernoff, said earlier that an arrest would be purely for the benefit of news cameras.

“It’s a waste of time, it’s just a show,” he said. “There’s no reason to handcuff a guy, drag him downtown so you can take a photo when he’s been sitting here for a week waiting to turn to himself in.”

Jackson, 50, died on June 25 at his rented Los Angeles mansion while under the care of Dr Murray, a cardiologist.

Three law enforcement officials have said prosecutors plan to charge him with involuntary manslaughter, alleging he gave Jackson the powerful anaesthetic propofol to help him sleep but that instead led to his death.

It is unusual for the district attorney’s office to negotiate a surrender, with such talks usually occurring in high-profile cases.

Attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented Jackson and a string of other celebrities, said defence lawyers in such cases want to shield their clients from the embarrassing “perp walk”, where a suspect is paraded before cameras in handcuffs.

“It’s to let some people maintain some shred of dignity,” Mr Geragos said.

Several other celebrity lawyers said they could not understand why the LAPD would want to arrest Dr Murray if he was being cooperative.

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