Alberto Alvarez said Dr Conrad Murray grabbed the vials from a nightstand next to Jackson, who was still in his bed.
“He said ‘Here, put these in a bag.’” Alvarez said at first he thought he was bagging the items in preparation for a trip to hospital. He said he trusted Murray because he was a doctor.
“In my personal experience, I believed Dr Murray had the best intentions for Mr Jackson. I didn’t question his authority.”
Deputy district attorney David Walgren showed Alvarez and jurors a vial of propofol at the third day of Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial. Murray has pleaded not guilty.
Jurors intently looked at the bottle, which appeared to still contain some liquid.
Prosecutors are calling key witnesses in an attempt to show Murray delayed calling authorities on the day Jackson was found lifeless and was intent on concealing indications that he had been giving the singer doses of the surgical anaesthetic.
At times during Alvarez’s testimony, he looked directly at Murray, who was passing notes to his attorney.
When he entered the bedroom, Alvarez said, he saw Jackson’s eyes were open and was surprised to see the singer was wearing a condom catheter, a medical device that allows one to urinate without having to get up.
Alvarez testified that Murray only told him Jackson had a bad reaction.
Walgren played Alvarez’s 911 call for jurors. “He’s pumping the chest, but he’s not responding to anything, sir,” Alvarez told the dispatcher, urging them to send an ambulance quickly.
Alvarez became emotional as the 911 call was played for jurors. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, appeared distraught and her son, Randy, huddled next to her and put his arm around her.
Alvarez said, after hanging up, he performed chest compressions on Jackson while Murray gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation efforts. The doctor remarked it was his first time performing the procedure.
“‘I have to,’” Alvarez recalled Murray telling him, “‘because he’s my friend’.”
Alvarez recalled seeing Murray at the hospital where Jackson was taken sitting next to the emergency room. “‘I wanted him to make it,’” Alvarez quoted Murray as saying. “‘I wanted him to make it’.”
Alvarez said he’s been approached numerous times by media outlets that have offered him hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell his story. He’s refused every time, even though he’s struggled financially since Jackson’s death.
“I don’t have steady work,” he said. “I went from a great salary to hardly anything.”
Prosecutors have been calling witnesses who were with Jackson and Murray the day the singer died.
Authorities accuse Murray of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol in the bedroom.
Murray’s defence attorney Ed Chernoff began to attack Alvarez’s recollection of when Murray asked the bodyguard to gather the medicine vials. Chernoff suggested Alvarez may have placed the vials in the bag after paramedics arrived. Alvarez maintained Murray gave his instructions prior to the emergency call.
Chernoff questioned Alvarez’s timeline, noting that the bodyguard had spoken to Jackson’s personal assistant on a cell phone two minutes before he called 911. The call, according to records, lasted 88 seconds. Chernoff then began to tick off the number of things Alvarez said he did, including ushering two of Jackson’s kids out of the bedroom, before Murray asked the bodyguard to grab the vials.
On Wednesday, Chernoff asked Faheem Muhammad, Jackson’s head of security, and Michael Amir Williams about whether they conferred with Alvarez before their interviews with detectives. Williams, Jackson’s personal assistant, testified that he received an urgent phone call from Murray on the day of Jackson’s death but wasn’t told to call 911.
He called Muhammad, who dispatched Alvarez to Jackson’s bedroom on the second floor of the singer’s rented mansion in Holmby Hills.
Muhammad reached the mansion just before paramedics arrived. He described a heart-wrenching scene. By then, he said, Jackson had been removed from his bed and was on the floor, where Murray was performing CPR. Alvarez was pacing nervously, Muhammad said.
When he saw Jackson up close, he understood why.
“What did you observe about his face,” Walgren asked. “That his eyes were open,” Muhammad said.
“That his mouth was slightly open.”
“Did he appear to be dead,” Walgren asked.