Michael Jackson’s doctor is responsible for the singer’s death and for leaving his children without a father, a prosecutor told jurors today .
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren invoked Jackson’s children early in his final statements, saying that the singer had them in mind in his final days and it was a driving force behind his planned series of comeback concerts.
“For Michael’s children, this case will go on forever, because they do not have a father,” Mr Walgren said. “They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray.”
He repeatedly invoked the children – recounting for jurors how Jackson’s daughter Paris came upon Murray frantically trying to revive her lifeless father and screaming, “Daddy!”
Mr Walgren urged jurors in Los Angeles to convict Murray of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence in this case is overwhelming,” the prosecutor said after thanking jurors for their attentiveness throughout the case.
“Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray,” Mr Walgren said. “He trusted him with his life.”
Throughout the trial, Mr Walgren has cast Murray as an inept, reckless physician who was distracted on the morning of Jackson’s death after giving the singer a powerful dose of the anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
Prosecutors are operating on the theory that while Murray was engaged in lawful practices during his treatment of Jackson, he acted in a criminally negligent way by using propofol as an insomnia treatment without the proper staff or medical equipment, and that he botched resuscitation efforts and lied to other medical personnel about his actions.
The majority of the witnesses and evidence was presented by prosecutors, who must convince the jury unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Murray.
Lead defence lawyer Ed Chernoff is likely to argue that Jackson was responsible for his own death and took a fatal dose of propofol when Murray left his bedroom.
Mr Chernoff will also likely rely on the statements of five character witnesses, mostly former patients, to try to convince jurors that he should not be held responsible for Jackson’s death.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor gave jurors instructions on how to view evidence in the case and reminded them before Mr Walgren began speaking that closing arguments are not evidence in the case.
The seven-man, five-woman jury has listened attentively throughout the six-week trial, which featured 49 witnesses and some complex medical testimony. They also heard several audio recordings, including one of Jackson himself in which his speech was slow and slurred, as well as Murray’s lengthy interview with police detectives.
The jury did not hear directly from Murray, who opted not to testify in his own defence.
The doctor faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical licence if he is convicted.