Jackson's doctor was on mobile when singer died, trial told


LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s doctor was on the phone to another patient minutes before discovering the singer stopped breathing, trial jurors were told yesterday, as prosecutors press their case that the physician’s care was negligent.

Jurors in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr Conrad Murray heard a voicemail he left for one of his heart patients seven minutes before he says he found Jackson unresponsive in his bedroom.

The message came on the fourth day of Dr Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial as prosecutors seek to prove he failed to properly monitor Jackson after giving him a dose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.

They claim that instead of watching Jackson in the singer’s bedroom, Dr Murray was busy on his cellphone with the other patient before discovering at about 11.56am that the Thrillersinger had stopped breathing.

Dr Murray admits administering propofol but denies involuntary manslaughter. His lawyers have argued that Jackson caused his own death by giving himself an extra dose of propofol, mixed with prescription sedatives, without Dr Murray’s knowledge.

The doctor faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Las Vegas salesman Robert Russell testified yesterday that he had called Dr Murray’s office on June 25th because he was upset that a follow-up appointment from an earlier heart surgery performed on him by Dr Murray had been cancelled.

Dr Murray returned the call, leaving a voicemail.

On the witness stand, Mr Russell also credited Dr Murray with saving his life in March 2009 after a heart attack and praised the doctor’s close and attentive relationship with him afterwards.

Another witness, who works for the company that made the heart and oxygen device that Jackson was wearing on his finger, testified that the equipment was not sophisticated enough for constant monitoring.

Witnesses earlier this week described frantic scenes at Jackson’s house on the morning of his sudden death, when the 50-year-old singer was found lifeless in bed and hooked up to an IV machine, a urine collection device and an oxygen feed.