The doctor is in...a big heaping wad of trouble.
After spending the past eight months since Michael Jackson's death building a case—and the past week playing will-they, won't-they with the public—Los Angeles prosecutors finally believe they have enough evidence to lay the blame on Dr. Conrad Murray.
Not to mention finally managing to keep a court date.
The district attorney formally filed a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter against Murray today, blaming Jackson's personal physician with overmedicating the star with the powerful anesthetic propofol. The charge carries a maximum of four years in prison.
The court alleged that Murray "did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson...in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; and in the commission of a lawful act which might have produced death, in an unlawful manner, and without due caution and circumspection."
Murray, who has publicly maintained that he neither prescribed nor administered any medications that should have killed Jackson, is expected to voluntarily surrender and be arraigned at the Airport Branch of Los Angeles Superior Court this afternoon.
Several of Michael's family members, including parents Joe and Katherine and siblings Jermaine, Tito, Randy and La Toya, have already arrived at the courthouse.
The physician has been the primary focus of investigators since Jackson died back on June 25. But the case seemed to be ramping up in recent weeks, after the entertainer's death certificate was quietly amended in January to list his cause of death as "homicide." The document specifically cited "acute propofol intoxication" via "intravenous injection by another."
Murray quickly hired SoCal-based criminal defender J. Michael Flanagan as part of a growing legal team.
In addition to having repped Britney Spears in her invalid driver's license fiasco a few years ago, Flanagan successfully defended another (albeit nonfamous) client against charges of involuntary manslaughter via propofol back in 2004. He won the acquittal by arguing that the death was caused by "a mistake in judgment," not negligence or recklessness, as would merit the involuntary manslaughter charge.
(Originally published Feb. 8, 2010, at 11:40 a.m. PT)
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