Michael Jackson rehearses for comeback tour in Los Angeles two days before his death on June 25, 2009.
Judges rule that failure to test drug bottle that killed King of Pop would not alter guilty verdict
DR. CONRAD MURRAY is vowing to fight on after an appellate court unanimously rejected his criminal appeal last week, his lawyer told the Daily News.
Defense lawyer Valerie Wass said Monday that her client has reviewed the 68-page ruling from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal and asked her to file a petition for re-hearing before a Jan. 30 deadline.
“We’re both grossly disappointed in the opinion,” Wass told The News after communicating with the cardiologist convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
She said it was “ironic” that the Court of Appeal blasted one of Murray’s trial lawyers for a “lack of diligence” – saying the lawyer failed to seek timely testing of bottle residue – but then claimed “counsel’s errors” didn’t adversely affect his defense.
In their ruling, the justices said even if Murray had prevailed with his post-verdict motion to test the bottle of anesthesia suspected of killing Jackson – and even if the tests managed to undermine the prosecution’s theory Jackson was on a drug drip when he died – the jury still had enough to convict.
The justices said it was enough that Murray admitted giving Jackson a 25-milligram injection of propofol in the hours before his death and then talked on the phone without proper monitoring in place.
“I’m really frustrated,” Wass said Monday. “If Jackson wasn’t on a drip, as we contend and I strongly believe, then Dr. Murray didn’t have to stay. He gave Jackson a small amount of propofol and monitored him while it was in his system. That fits in exactly with his phone records.”
IRFAN KHAN / POOL/EPA
Dr. Conrad Murray at trial in 2011, where he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jackson for not properly monitoring a dose of the anaesthetic propofol.
Murray has maintained that Jackson awoke while he was out of the room on June 25, 2009, and self-administered a fatal dose of propofol with a syringe.
The appellate court found that the self-administration theory was “not supported by the evidence presented at trial.”
“In our view, it is based almost entirely on conjecture and speculation that does not undermine the jury’s verdict,” last week’s ruling stated.
“I think the court’s analysis is replete with speculation,” Wass said Monday.
Murray, 60, was released from jail last October after completing his four-year-sentence in two years thanks to jail overcrowding.
He is fighting to regain his medical license in Texas with a civil lawsuit, but his Texas lawyer told The News Monday that he’s filed a petition to withdraw from the case.
“I can’t talk about the reason – that’s something I can only speak to court about – but I fully support Dr. Murray and I will continue to do so,” Texas lawyer Charles Peckham said of his request to be removed as counsel.