Defense: Conrad Murray Is a Victim, Not a Criminal

As the trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician winds down, a jury will decide if the singer was killed by the doctor's negligence, or by his own desperation for an anesthetic.

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Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

Ed Chernoff, representing the defense in the Conrad Murray trial.

The lead attorney for Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s embattled physician, told jurors that if it had not been for the superstar’s celebrity, the doctor would not be on trial.

“Somebody’s got to say it: If it were anybody else but Michael Jackson, if it were anybody else, would this doctor be here today?” Ed Chernoff said in closing arguments in the Conrad Murray case. “They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” attorney Ed Chernoff said. “This is not a reality show. It is reality.”

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Chernoff’s statement comes at the end of six weeks of testimony by employees, friends, colleagues of Jackson and two expert witnesses, Dr. Steven Shafer and Dr. Paul White, both well-regarded in the field of anesthetics, but on opposite ends of the spectrum in this case. Chernoff also painted Murray as a doctor who only wanted to help his patient, rather than the neglectful hack the prosecution was making him out to be. Finally, he maintained that Michael Jackson was responsible for his own death, by using the anesthetic propofol on himself while Murray was out of the bedroom.

Following after the closing arguments of L.A. County prosecutor David Walgren, Chernoff attempted to raise doubt among the jury as to whether Murray actually caused Jackson’s death. He accused several prosecution witnesses of lying and scrutinized their testimonies, particularly Shafer’s.

“The prosecution, during these six weeks, have absolutely failed to prove a crime,” he said. “For a crime to be proved, the prosecution has to show that Dr. Murray actually killed Michael Jackson.”

The case has now gone to jury deliberations. If convicted, Murray faces four years in jail, and loss of his medical license.

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