Jackson doctor 'scooped up painkiller vials'

A third witness described frantic efforts by the doctor charged over Michael Jackson’s death to gather medication from the floor of the bedroom where the singer died after receiving intravenous doses of a powerful anaesthetic.

A third witness described frantic efforts by the doctor charged over Michael Jackson’s death to gather medication from the floor of the bedroom where the singer died after receiving intravenous doses of a powerful anaesthetic.

Paramedic Martin Blount told a preliminary court hearing in Los Angeles that Dr Conrad Murray scooped up three vials of the painkiller lidocaine moments after the doctor said he had not given the superstar any medication.

In addition, Mr Blount and Richard Senneff, another experienced paramedic, said Murray never mentioned giving Jackson the anaesthetic propofol and told them the singer lost consciousness moments before an ambulance was called.

Both witnesses thought the 50-year-old singer was dead by the time they arrived at his mansion on June 25 2009.

Authorities say Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of propofol and other sedatives, then tried to conceal his actions by hiding the medicines and not telling paramedics and casualty doctors about the drugs.

A judge will decide after the hearing if there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have said he did not give Jackson anything that should have killed him.

Bodyguard Alberto Alvarez said earlier that Murray told him to place several vials of medicine and an IV bag into other bags before calling an ambulance.

The three witnesses were the first people to encounter Murray and Jackson in the bedroom.

“I saw three small bottles of lidocaine,” Mr Blount said. “He scooped them off the floor and put them into a black bag.”

Murray also produced a hypodermic needle at one point and wanted to use it on the singer, but Mr Blount and other paramedics refused, according to the evidence.

A defence lawyer did not question Blount about the lidocaine vials.

Prosecutors also introduced Murray’s mobile phone records as evidence, showing the 911 call summoning paramedics was made at 12.21pm. Murray also made a phone call in the ambulance as Jackson’s body was being transported to UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Centre.

That two-minute call was to Murray’s girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez, who might give evidence today.

Emergency room doctor Richelle Cooper said she was never told that Jackson had been given propofol and other sedatives. Murray said only the sedative lorazepam had been given.

Murray’s lawyer Michael Flanagan asked Dr Cooper if propofol use would be relevant information, since the drug wears off quickly.

Dr Cooper said it might have changed her actions due to concerns about its possible interaction with other drugs in Jackson’s system.

Murray was present in the emergency room when Dr Cooper and others tried to revive the pop singer for more than an hour. Notes indicated someone reported a faint pulse in Jackson’s leg, but Dr Cooper said she could not confirm it.

Jackson was pronounced dead at the hospital at 2.26pm, but Dr Cooper said she had previously given paramedics authorisation to pronounce Jackson dead at his home.

Deputy district attorney David Walgren said in his opening statement that Jackson was already dead when Murray summoned help and tried to conceal his administering of propofol to the pop star.

Mr Blount and Mr Senneff said they were never able to find a viable heartbeat in Jackson in his bedroom, but transported him to the hospital because Murray agreed to take over treatment.

Murray could face four years in prison if tried and convicted.

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