Michael Jackson images dominate opening of death trial

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Images of Michael Jackson lying dead in a hospital and rehearsing the day before his death, along with recollections of the singer as a troubled “lost boy,” made for a heart-wrenching opening yesterday to the manslaughter trial of the doctor hired to care for him.

In opening arguments two years after Jackson’s death by drug overdose of propofol and sedatives, prosecutor David Walgren told jurors the “Thriller” singer “literally put his life in the hands of Dr Conrad Murray.”

“That misplaced trust in the hands of Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life,” Walgren said.

But Murray’s lawyers argued Jackson “caused his own death” by giving himself extra medication in a bid to sleep. “He died so rapidly, so instantly, he didn’t even have time to close his eyes,” defence attorney Ed Chernoff said in opening arguments. Murray denies he is guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson on June 25, 2009, but admits giving the 50-year-old pop star a dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. He faces a prison sentence of up to four years if convicted. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks. The Texas cardiologist, who was paid $150,000 a month to care for Jackson, wiped away tears during yesterday’s opening statements as Chernoff defended him.

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