Jurors charged with deciding if Michael Jackson’s doctor killed the pop superstar will have to do so without one potentially crucial piece of evidence: tapes of Michael rehearsing for upcoming shows just days and even hours before his death. That decision has already sparked controversy, and the claim that it stacks the trial in favour of Conrad Murray’s defense.
The jurors in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray have been banned from seeing footage of the “Thriller” star rehearsing in the days immediately before his sudden and unexpected death in 2009.
Judge Michael Pastor last week viewed the footage at the Sony Pictures Studios. In it, he saw Michael Jackson preparing for his upcoming series of comeback concerts in Wembley, London.
Potentially, that footage could have held important information about the pop star’s state of health immediately before his death. However, Judge Pastor ruled that it could be commercially sensitive for Sony and was of no use to the trial.
Sony fought the subpoena to release rehearsal footage not included in the film “This is It” for the trial of Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray. He faces trial for the manslaughter of Michael Jackson in September.
Pastor ruled that Sony’s appeal was “meritorious,” saying the material he had seen was “extremely valuable to Sony” and would “result in serious financial consequences” if released.
Prosecutors wanted the footage of Jackson rehearsing before his planned “This is It” series of concerts in London to be shown. They say it shows him creatively engaged and in good health. It was the defense team who argued against showing the images.
The judge said he spent several hours watching some of the footage, including Jackson rehearsing just the day before he died. He said he considered it a waste of his time!
One of Murray’s lawyers, J. Michael Flanagan, said Jackson was “very talented, even on his bad days,” but said the footage would not be a fair representation of his condition in the days preceding his death.
Prosecutors allege that Michael Jackson died as a result of an overdose of the powerful sedative Propofol. It is not usually seen outside of clinical settings but Conrad Murray prescribed it to Jackson for insomnia.
Murray should have been in charge of administering the drug but the defense is expected to argue that Jackson gave himself an excessive dose of the drug while Murray was out of the room at the singer’s mansion in the affluent Holmby Hills neighborhood west of Los Angeles.