Conrad Murray faces sentencing for Michael Jackson death
Conrad Murray is due to be sentenced after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.
The 58-year-old Grenada-born cardiologist is set to appear at a Los Angeles court on Tuesday, November 29, to learn about his fate.
(You can watch Conrad Murray's sentencing live here - at 8:30 a.m. PT / 11:30 a.m. ET).
Murray has been behind bars since he was convicted on November 7 (see video) and faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison and the loss of his medical license. One of the doctor's lawyers, Michael Flanagan, said that day that there will "certainly" be an appeal.
Jackson's family attorney, Brian Panish, appeared in court and read a statement from the singer's relatives.
"We are not here to seek revenge," he quoted them as saying. "There is nothing you can do today that will bring Michael back. We respectfully request that you impose a sentence that reminds physicians that they cannot sell their services to the highest bigger and cast aside their Hippocratic oath to do no harm."
Murray was Jackson's private doctor in the years prior to his death and treated him for insomnia with the anesthetic propofol in the moments before he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home at age 50 on June 25, 2009. The singer's death was caused by an overdose of the drug, which the singer called his "milk," and other sedatives, autopsy results showed.
Jackson was preparing for his "This Is It" London concert series at the time and promoters were supposed to pay Murray $150,000 per month for his services.The deal was never finalized, as Jackson never signed the papers.
"Michael Jackson was in every sense of the word ... abandoned by Conrad Murray," Prosecutor David Walgren told the court on Tuesday, adding that Murray left Jackson in a "vulnerable situation" and "left him to die."
"The two months that Dr. Murray was treating Michael Jackson - he did no regrettably," Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, told the court. "He shouldn't have done it. Michael Jackson was a drug seeker and he sought it out from Dr. Murray who was wrong in providing it. He sought it out from other doctors. He was a powerful, famous, wealthy individual with lawyers and security and staff and advisors."
Chernoff also cited Murray's personal background, calling him a "poor, unsupported black man from the Caribbean" who put himself through college before he became a doctor in the United States, where he ran medical practices in Houston and Las Vegas and "gave back to the communities that couldn't afford his services."
"Does any of that matter that that is exactly what we want our neighbors and our citizens to aspire to do?" Chernoff asked. "Does any of that matter to the court at all? Maybe not. Maybe it's irrelevant. Maybe all that matters is what happened at the end. I think it should matter what Dr. Murray has done in his life. I think it should matter to everybody, frankly."
Murray is not expected to address the court himself on Tuesday, a source close to the doctor told KABC Television, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company. Among those present there were Murray's girlfriend and mother of his son, Nicole Alvarez, who had testified during his six-week trial, as well as Jackson's mother Katherine, sister LaToya and brother Jermaine.
Murray's attorneys had urged the judge last week, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, to spare Murray from more jail time, adding that he has received death threats while in prison. They said Murray was not dangerous and did not mean to carry out his offense, adding he was "sorrowful and remorseful."
"When the glow of vengence has faded, he's still somebody else's problem and Dr. Murray can do things .. for the community, on probation, that he could never do sitting in that little room," Chernoff said on Tuesday.
The prosecution team is pushing for a maximum sentence for Murray, adding that the doctor should also pay restitution costs to Jackson's three children as well as any other fees and accumulated interest.
The District Attorney's Office said that according to family records, Jackson was set to earn $100 million for his sold-out "This Is It" concert series. It also said the singer's funeral, memorial services and other associated expenditures cost more than $1.8 million.
Prosecutor David Walgren said in court on Tuesday that Murray appeared to show no remorse for Jackson's death when he was interviewed for the documentary "Michael Jackson and the Doctor," which aired on MSNBC earlier this month. Walgren quoting the physician as saying in the program: "I don't feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong."
"Taking advantage of the position of trust could not be more clearly demonstrated," Walgren added. "Because it is not simply the act that occurred ... it is all the acts of the defendants, all of the deception, the lies, the cover-up as well as the extreme nature of the negligence in this case. It is those actions that warrant a state prison sentence of four years."
However, according to new regulations issued earlier this year to combat a problem of California inmate overcrowding, if Murray receives a jail sentence, he would likely serve his time at a county facility rather than in state prison because involuntary manslaughter is usually not considered a violent offense.
Also, his sentence could be reduced, due to issues such as time served and good behavior. This decision is up to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, not the court.
The jurors are made up of seven men and five women (check out more details about them). One of them, Debbie Franklin, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she and the other jurors believe Jackson would "absolutely" be alive today if not for Murray.
Check out a summary of the Conrad Murray trial proceedings as well as a video of the verdict being read in court on November 7 and the doctor's reaction.