Dr Conrad Murray's money problems were to blame for Michael Jackson's death, civil court hears

 

Jurors in the civil case between Michael Jackson's mother and concert giant AEG Live heard yesterday that doctor Conrad Murray’s money problems were to blame for the singer’s death.

A Los Angeles police detective who investigated Jackson's doctor Murray, who was convicted of the singer’s involuntary manslaughter in 2011, told jurors the physician was more than $500,000 (£321,000) in debt and may have been motivated by the large salary he expected to receive for working with Jackson.

Detective Orlando Martinez testified that he looked into Murray's finances searching for a financial motive for his role in Jackson's death and relied mostly on public records. He said he found that Murray's Las Vegas home was in foreclosure proceedings, and Murray owed a backlog of unpaid child support and other unpaid debts. He said he believed the doctor would do anything to get paid the $150,000 (£100,000) he was promised by AEG to treat the tormented pop star.

Martinez concluded that Murray's financial condition was "severely distressed" and that he had shut down his clinics to pay for just one patient – Jackson.

Murray's finances were not a factor in the criminal case that ended with his 2011 conviction for administering a fatal dose of propofol to Jackson in 2009 while the performer was preparing for a series of comeback concerts at AEG's O2 Arena in London.

Martinez also showed jurors photographs the various medications officers uncovered in Jackson's bedroom, including several vials of propofol.

Many other private moments from the singer's life are expected to be exposed as the case progresses in the forthcoming months, with witnesses set to testify about secret medical treatments, Jackson’s lavish spending and tender moments spent with his mother and children.

In the nearly four years since his death, almost every aspect of Jackson's life has been explored in court proceedings, documentaries, books and news stories.

Still, the negligence case filed by his mother against AEG promises to deliver the most detailed account yet of the singer's addiction struggles, including testimony from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe about treatments involving the anaesthetic propofol dating back to the 1990s.

Katherine Jackson contends that AEG didn't properly investigate the doctor who later administered the fatal dose. The company denies wrongdoing.

During opening statements, attorneys framed Jackson's prescription drug addiction with background on his superstar status.

Attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson, said the drug problems worsened when the star was under the stress of the impending live performances.

AEG attorney Marvin S. Putnam countered that Jackson's stardom provided a cover to receive multiple, secret medical treatments, many involving propofol.

At one point in the proceedings, the harsh portrayal of Jackson's struggle with addiction led one juror to lean forward and stare at the floor for several moments.

Katherine Jackson and two of the superstar's children, Prince and Paris, are potential witnesses whose testimony is likely to focus heavily on their grief and sense of loss.

Panish played a song Jackson wrote for his children as a montage of photos played during opening statements. He also read a handwritten note from Jackson that his mother framed and has hanging on her wall.

"The only way you can assess damages, is to know what they had," Panish told jurors Monday before reading the letter and playing "You Are My Life."

Katherine Jackson dabbed her eyes with a tissue. She left the courtroom while the paramedic described her son's condition on the day he died.

The jury heard from paramedic Richard Senneff who described the singer's bedroom, a place he kept locked and where his propofol treatments were administered out of sight of everyone but Murray.

Senneff, a paramedic and firefighter for nearly 28 years, told the panel about responding to Jackson's bedroom on June 25, 2009, and finding an unusual scene.

He described Murray's frazzled efforts to revive Jackson. He said Jackson appeared to be terminally ill.

Senneff told the panel he found an IV pole, oxygen tanks and a nightstand with several medicine bottles.

Just as he previously testified in Murray's criminal trial, the paramedic told the panel that Murray never mentioned propofol.

Jackson's blue hands, feet and lips, and the singer's dry eyes all signalled to Senneff that the singer was dead and hadn't been breathing for a long time.

Onlookers and paparazzi were already gathering at Jackson's gate and someone pressed a camera to the ambulance window to get pictures of the stricken star.

The trial is also set to feature testimony about Jackson's troubled finances, with debts that reached nearly $400 million by the time he died.

AEG contends the debts made him desperate to have a successful concert series.

"The private Michael Jackson was like a lot of Americans in the 2000s, spending a lot more than he was making," Putnam told the jury after describing the singer's lavish Neverland Ranch, his art collection and other spending.

AP

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future