With MJ fans clamoring outside the courthouse and cameras rolling in the courtroom, the trial against Dr. Conrad Murray is officially underway.
State attorney David Walgren's opening arguments yesterday characterized Michael Jackson's personal physician as incompetent and greedy. Walgren told jurors, "[Dr. Murray] was not working for the health of Michael Jackson. [He] was working for a fee of $150,000 [per month]." In particular, Walgren accused Murray of administering a dangerous anesthetic, propofol, without adequate safeguards and even deceiving paramedics about it on the day Jackson died.
One haunting moment in court came when Walgren played a voice recording of Jackson while he was, as Walgren said, "highly under the influence of unknown agents with Dr. Murray evidently sitting nearby." On the tape, the late King of Pop slurs and mumbles, "When people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life... He's the greatest entertainer in the world.'"
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff charges it was that hunger for fame that caused Jackson to beg desperately for propofol as a sleep aid. Chernoff alleges Jackson himself administered the fatal drug doses without his doctor's knowledge. “Blaming the victim” is a common defense strategy, but legal experts warn it can be risky.
What do you make of the strategies of the prosecutors and the defense? Will the trial become a battle of the medical experts? Do you think Jackson’s ambition is relevant in the trial? How did you react to the audio tape played for the first time in court? Legions of Jacko fans will be glued to their televisions and twitter feeds for the duration of the trial – will you be among them?
Mark Geragos, Defense Attorney, Geragos and Geragos
Matt Semino, Attorney and Huffington Post Columnist