Criminal Justice

Source Says Prosecutors Will Seek to Charge Doc in Michael Jackson Death

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Citing an unidentified law enforcement source, the Associated Press reports that prosecutors will seek an involuntary manslaughter indictment of Michael Jackson’s doctor.

The famous pop singer died at his home in Los Angeles last year at age 50, in what was determined to be a homicide caused by a lethal amount of the intravenous anesthetic propofol.

Gross negligence will be the basis for the indictment of Dr. Conrad Murray that the Los Angeles district attorney’s office plans to seek, the AP says.

To prove such a case, the prosecution must establish a reckless action which created a risk of death or great bodily injury. But, if the patient was told of the risk by the doctor, informed consent might be a defense, according to the article.

A spokeswoman says Murray neither prescribed nor administered anything that should have killed Michael Jackson.

However, the coroner determined that propofol—which ordinarily is administered by a trained anesthesiologist in a hospital setting—was given to Jackson without medical need and in the absence of recommended resuscitation equipment, the AP reports. No illegal drugs were found, although sedatives contributed to his death.

Attorney J. Michael Flanagan, who won the acquittal of a nurse charged in the only other known manslaughter case in the jurisdiction involving propofol, is now representing Murray, reports the L.A. Now blog of the Los Angeles Times.

Just because authorities say they will seek Murray’s indictment doesn’t mean they will obtain it, he points out.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Probe of Michael Jackson’s Death Zeros In On Prescription Drug Issues”

ABAJournal.com: “Feds Raid Vegas Home and Office of Michael Jackson Doc”

ABC News: “Michael Jackson’s Doc, Conrad Murray, Happy to Be Back”

New York Daily News: “Michael Jackson’s doc Conrad Murray evades jail by paying $1,003 in monthly child support”

Updated at 3:30 p.m. to include information from updated Associated Press article and at 3:40 p.m. to include L.A. Now coverage.

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