Jacksons v AEG Timeline Legal Top Stories

The Conrad Murray case: To note or not to note

By | Published on Monday 28 February 2011

Conrad Murray

It’s not even begun yet, and already there have been some dramas relating to the pending Conrad Murray trial. The judge overseeing the case, in which Doc Murray is accused of killing Michael Jackson through negligent conduct in the administration of the drug Propofol, squabbled with the medic’s lawyer last week over the latter’s failure to prepare reports on the witnesses he plans to present during the trial.

At a pre-trial meeting to discuss evidence last week, attorney J Michael Flanagan told Judge Michael Pastor he didn’t prepare notes on likely witnesses for trials like this, he hadn’t done so for ten years, and didn’t have to under California laws.

Pastor wants Flanagan to share notes about his witnesses with the prosecution so that both sides are fully and fairly prepared for the court hearing. When Flanagan argued that Californian law was on his side in this squabble, Pastor countered that the legal man’s failure to prepare notes undermined court rules intended to prevent unneeded surprises during testimonies at trail. He called the lack of any such notes as a “recipe for disaster”.

Prosecutor Deborah Brazil said Murray’s trial, due to begin in late March, should now be delayed, arguing Flanagan’s team would never be ready if they haven’t prepared any notes on their witnesses as yet. Pastor did not concur, but did warn Flanagan that his failure to provide witness reports could delay the court case, or even result in the exclusion of some witnesses.

Among the people the defence are likely to present during the trial are former patients of Murray who will likely speak up for the doc’s competence. Murray’s reps expect the prosecution to portray their client as a reckless medic, and want to counter any such claims.

They are also expected to present an expert who will claim Jackson was addicted to Demerol and was suffering withdrawal from the drug when he died. Though Pastor wanted to know how said expert and Flanagan intended to make such a claim in court without having notes to consult.

All parties will regroup today to further discuss the notes issue.

Elsewhere in the Murray case, Pastor also considered an application by Flanagan and his colleague Ed Chernoff to allow a third lawyer called Nareg Gourjian to join their defence team. There may be some questions around Gourjian’s involvement because he previously worked for Mark Geragos, a former legal rep of Michael Jackson himself.

Although Geragos worked for Jacko in the run up to his 2005 child abuse trial, Gourjian was only involved in the very early stages of that case. Meanwhile Geragos himself has said he has no concerns about his former colleague now working for the Murray defence. However, Pastor deferred making a decision and asked Gourjian to prepare a sworn statement detailing his past work relating to Jackson’s legal affairs.

And elsewhere in Jackson legal news, legal reps for Katherine Jackson have said she will drop claims of civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress against AEG Live in her civil lawsuit in relation to her son’s untimely death.

When a judge refused AEG’s application to have the lawsuit dismissed earlier this month, she did stress that Mrs Jackson would need to present better evidence for those particular claims. With that in mind, her people have decided to remove the claims from the lawsuit altogether, but will still pursue their charge that the live music conglom failed to properly supervise Murray when they hired him to be her son’s personal medic.