Dr. Christopher Rogers, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Michael Jackson and ruled his death a homicide, could testify Thursday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.
Jurors should also soon hear the two-hour interview Dr. Murray gave to police two days after Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death of what the coroner concluded was the result of “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with sedatives.
Los Angeles Police Det. Orlando Martinez, who questioned Murray, is expected to testify Thursday or Friday that Murray told him he had been administering propofol to Jackson regularly for two months to help him sleep.
Los Angeles County Coroner’s investigator Elissa Fleak, who testified Wednesday about what she found in Jackson’s bedroom, will return to the witness stand to complete her testimony Thursday, the eighth day of the trial.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren covered a table with drug vials and medical paraphernalia taken in Fleak’s searches, a visual display of Murray’s in-home treatment of Jackson.
Fleak identified a saline bag that was cut open and an empty 100 ml propofol bottle inside. The prosecution alleges Murray used it as a makeshift IV drip to administer propofol to Jackson. The defense contends Murray gave Jackson just 25 ml of the drug and used a syringe to push it in.
Twelve bottles of the surgical anesthetic propofol were found in the bedroom during her first search the day Jackson died, including an empty vial found on the floor next to the bed, Fleak said.
Seven bottles of medications were on a nightstand next to the bed, including one with lorazepam pills prescribed by Murray to Jackson.
Murray’s defense lawyers say Jackson caused his own death by swallowing eight lorazepam pills and orally ingesting propofol while Murray was out of the room.
Although crucial to prove that Murray is criminally responsible for Michael’s death, Thursday’s forensic testimony is not likely to match Wednesday’s emotional drama when jurors heard Jackson’s slurred voice telling his doctor “I hurt, you know, I hurt.”
A photograph of Jackson lying dead on a hospital gurney was later projected onto a large screen in the courtroom, a vivid reminder to jurors of why they will listen to a least a month of testimony.
While the court camera feed focused on the disturbing image for just five seconds — the result of a earlier decision to minimize public exposure to such shocking images — it was displayed on a large screen in front of the jury for about two minutes.
Forensic computer expert Stephen Marx, who found the audio file on Murray’s iPhone, said it was recorded on May 10, 2009, when Jackson was preparing for his “This Is It” concerts set for London two months later.
Prosecutors, who played a clip of the stunning audio in their opening statement last week, let the jury hear the entire recording in Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial Wednesday.
Michael Jackson audio:
“Elvis didn’t do it. Beatles didn’t do it. We have to be phenomenal,” Jackson said. “When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.’ I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson Children’s Hospital. Going to have a movie theater, game room.”
In the portion never before heard in court, Jackson talked about his life and concern for children:
Michael Jackson audio:
“Children are depressed. The — in those hospitals, no game room, no movie theater. They’re sick because they’re depressed. Their mind is depressing them. I want to give them that. I care about them, them angels. God wants me to do it. God wants me to do it. I’m going to do it, Conrad.”
Another voice, which the prosecutor said was Murray’s, is heard saying, “I know you would.”
Michael Jackson audio:
“Don’t have enough hope, no more hope,” Jackson said. “That’s the next generation that’s going to save our planet, starting with — we’ll talk about it. United States, Europe, Prague, my babies. They walk around with no mother. They drop them off, they leave — a psychological degradation of that. They reach out to me: ‘Please take me with you.'”
At the end, Jackson said he was “going to do that for them.”
Michael Jackson audio:
“That will be remembered more than my performances. My performances will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn’t have a childhood. I had no childhood. I feel their pain. I feel their hurt. I can deal with it. ‘Heal the World,’ ‘We Are the World,’ ‘Will You Be There,’ ‘The Lost Children.’ These are the songs I’ve written because I hurt, you know, I hurt.”
At the end, Jackson told the doctor, “I am asleep.”
His brother Jermaine Jackson wiped tears from his eyes as he listened in court.
Prosecutor Walgren said in his opening statement that Jackson was “highly under the influences of unknown agents” when Murray recorded Jackson.
Another recording found on Murray’s phone and played in court Wednesday was a voice mail from Frank Dileo, who was Jackson’s last manager.
Dileo’s message to Murray, left five days before Jackson’s death, suggested that he “get a blood test” from Jackson because “we’ve got to see what he’s doing.”
He referred to “an episode” Jackson had at a rehearsal the night before. “He’s sick,” Dileo said.
Concert producer Kenny Ortega testified about Jackson’s illness in the first day of the trial, which he wrote about in an e-mail sent about the same time Dileo was leaving his phone message.
“He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening,” Ortega wrote. “He had a terrible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated.”
Murray’s iPhone also contained e-mail attachments that appeared to be Jackson’s medical records sent by Murray’s office assistant to the doctor, who was gathering them for a British insurance agent who was arranging cancellation insurance for Jackson’s London concerts.
The insurers were concerned about news reports that Jackson was seen “at various times using a wheelchair” and that he suffered a back injury, lupus, emphysema and cancer, according to an e-mail from the agent to the doctor.
Jackson refused to authorize the release of his medical records to the insurance company, Murray wrote back, but he added concerning the news reports of illnesses “let me say they’re all fallacious to the best of my knowledge.”
One record shown in court, kept under the alias “Omar Arnold,” indicated that in September 2008, Murray diagnosed Jackson with insomnia and anxiety. It showed he treated him with valium and Xanax.
Files from the phone suggest Murray was dealing with the insurance agent’s request around the same time he said he was struggling to help Jackson go to sleep with sedatives.
The prosecution wants to show jurors that Murray was distracted by a long list of phone calls and e-mails, causing him to neglect Jackson, who stopped breathing and died.
Prosecutors argue that Murray, who was Jackson’s personal doctor as he prepared for planned comeback concerts, is criminally responsible for the singer’s death because of medical negligence and his reckless use of the propofol to help Jackson sleep.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray could spend 4 years in a California prison and lose his medical license.