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Today marked the start of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson. The state of California has accused Murray of providing the singer with unwarrarented amounts of a surgical anesthetic to be used as a sleep aid, which caused his passing. The plastic surgeon faces four years in prison and the revokation of his medical license.

According to ABC News, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren presented the court with a picture of MJ dancing and looking healthy on June 24, 2009. He then showed an image of Jackson lying dead on a gurney, stating that Murray “repeatedly acted with gross negligence… his unskilled acts led to Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009”. As with most homocide trials, members of Michael’s family- parents Joe and Katherine, plus siblings Janet, Tito, Latoya, Reebie, Randy and Jermaine- were present and likely subjected to the haunting photograph, which has made its rounds on the net (avoid it if you can…trust me).

Murray’s lawyer Ed Chernoff refuted the prosecution’s claims by arguing that Jackson gave himself the dose of drugs that killed him so rapidly “he didn’t have time to close his eyes”. The doctor wept has his defense attorney talked about his work saving the lives of clients who could not afford to pay for his services. Chernoff also stated that Murray had been working to wean MJ off his propofol dependency in his final days and that he was unaware that he also had an addiction to demerol, which had been provided to him by dermatologist Arnold Klein. Demerol makes it impossible to sleep “not for minutes, not for hours. For days,” according to the defense.

“Michael Jackson told Doctor Murray that his insomnia was the result of his mind always racing…it was the genius of him…and perhaps that’s partly true…but it was also the demerol,” Chernoff said. The prosecution also provided a troubling recording of Jackson describing his comeback plans, which was obtained from Murray’s cell phone and had been recorded about a month prior to the icon’s untimely passing.

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