Ed Chernoff -- Defense Attorney's Opening Statement
Updated 9/27/11 at 11:00 AM
Dr. Conrad Murray's attorney Ed Chernoff told the jury Michael Jackson caused his own death.
* Chernoff says the evidence will show MJ swallowed 8, 2 mg pills of Lorazepam.
* And Chernoff says MJ self-injected a dose or Propofol that created a "perfect storm" that killed him.
* There was no way to save MJ. He died instantly.
* Chernoff told the jury what TMZ has reported for the last year -- that the centerpiece of the defense case is that Michael's death is on Michael -- not Dr. Murray.
* Chernoff also said MJ "had a problem" that no amount of determination could overcome, even with his talent, and without help he could not do the "This Is It" tour -- a tour that would score him more money than he had ever made on tour before.
* So, Chernoff says, Michael went doctor shopping.
* Dr. Murray is not a "celebrity doctor" -- he's a cardiologist who saves lives.
* The defense will put some of Dr. Murray's patients on the stand to show his level of care. He would buy prescriptions for people who couldn't afford it and would generally go well above the standard of care expected of a doctor -- which contradicts prosecutors who call him greedy and reckless. Murray seemed to tear up as he listened to Chernoff.
* Murray treated MJ for several problems, including toe fungus and a broken foot.
* Chernoff said Murray had no idea at the time that MJ had a much deeper problem
* MJ didn't have insomnia -- he had "an absolute, total and thorough inability to sleep."
* When Murray met with detectives 2 days after MJ's death, he thoroughly answered every question. It was no holds barred and they hid nothing. Chernoff said Murray told cops, "I don't know what killed Michael Jackson. I want to know also."
* Michael Jackson told Murray the only way he could sleep was with Propofol and he always took Propofol. MJ told Murray exactly how it was to be administered. He even had a nickname for the drug -- milk. MJ knew Lidocaine was essential in administering Propofol to prevent a burning sensation.
* MJ told Murray he would use Propofol with or without Murray, so Murray then agreed to provide Propofol.
* Dr. Murray provided Propofol for 2 months for MJ, and during that time the singer slept, woke up, and lived his life -- suggesting it wasn't negligent to administer the drug.
* The evidence is going to show is that Michael Jackson died when Dr. Murray stopped. Murray told cops he believed his role was to find a way to help MJ sleep normally, urging him to get off Propofol.
* In other words, Murray was trying to ween MJ off Propofol and give him other, more traditional sedatives. And, on June 22, 3 days before MJ died, Michael agreed to let Murray to try to get him off Propofol. And on that day Murray gave MJ half the Propofol he had been giving him. And it worked. MJ slept.
* On June 23, Murray gave MJ NO Propofol at all, giving him other drugs instead. And, on the day MJ died, the plan was not to give Propofol. It was to go to other sedatives. That's why in the recording,MJ pleads for the Propofol. That's why Murray gave him other drugs instead during the night.
* Chernoff says MJ had certain "personality traits." He kept various people in life separate from one another.
* Chernoff will present an addiction specialist, who will testify DR. ARNOLD KLEIN ADDICTED MICHAEL JACKSON TO DEMEROL.
* Things were so serious 5 days before Michael Jackson died, reps from AEG and others had a meeting at MJ's house and talked about "pulling the plug" on the tour. And subsequently MJ made it clear to Murray -- he needed to sleep or the tour would go down in flames.
* Chernoff insists Murray only gave MJ 25 milligrams of Propofol just before MJ died -- and that is not enough to kill him. Chernoff says MJ went to sleep, and Murray checked his pulse -- which was good.
Murray then sat and watched and left the room "only when I felt comfortable." This may be the key to the case -- did Murray abandon MJ by leaving the room?
* Chernoff says when Murray left the room "there was zero Propofol in his [Michael's] system." Of course, what Chernoff is arguing is that Michael then shot himself up with the fatal dose.
* Chernoff came back from break the defense will show the amounts that Dr. Murray's death could not cause Michael's death.
* The science will prove there had to be more Propofol delivered to MJ's system after Dr. Murray left the room.
*The defense says MJ's stomach content had 4 times the amount of Lorazepam than in his blood, which means Michael would had to swallow the drug himself, after Murray left the room.