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Michael Jackson's doctor pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter



From the AP:
Michael Jackson's personal physician pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter Monday, setting the stage for a sensational celebrity courtroom drama as prosecutors attempt to prove Dr. Conrad Murray caused the pop star's death.

Some two hours after prosecutors filed the single felony count, the six-foot-five Murray arrived in court in a grey suit to enter his plea. As he did, several members of Jackson's family looked on.

Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz set bail at $75,000, three times more than most people charged with involuntary manslaughter face. Prosecutors had been seeking $300,000 bail for Murray, who was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies but not handcuffed.

According to a five-page criminal complaint, Murray "did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson" by acting "without due caution and circumspection."

The complaint contains no details on Jackson's death but authorities have said the singer died after Murray administered a powerful general anesthetic and other drugs to help Jackson rest.

As Murray walked past a crowd of hundreds of reporters and Jackson fans on his way to a courthouse adjacent to LAX, several people shouted "murderer."

Inside the courtroom, Jackson's father Joe, mother Katherine, and siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Randy sat behind prosecutors as Murray entered his plea. He could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

"Looking for justice," was all Jackson's father said as he walked past a crowd of reporters and into the courthouse. He and his family members had arrived in a fleet of Cadillac Escalades soon after prosecutors announced Monday they had brought the manslaughter charge.

The judge told Murray that after he posts bail he may travel the country freely but may not leave the United States. He must also surrender his passport.

Murray, who was with Jackson when he died June 25 at his rented Los Angeles mansion, said he did nothing that should have caused the 50-year-old entertainer to die.

"We'll make bail, we'll plead not guilty and we'll fight like hell," his attorney, Ed Chernoff said before the charge was filed.

[Photo: AP]


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:18am]


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