Fate of Michael Jackson's Doctor, Conrad Murray, in the Hands of the Jury

PHOTO: Michael Jackson leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse after a not guilty verdict in his child molestation trial June 13, 2005 in Santa Maria, California.
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Attorneys on both sides got their last chances to speak to jurors today in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor. After a day of impassioned closing arguments and juror instructions, they turned over the case to the jury who will begin deliberations Friday morning.

The prosecution spoke first and last, with the defense delivering closing arguments in between.

Earlier today, prosecutor David Walgren argued his case with a PowerPoint presentation in which he denounced Murray as a selfish and reckless physician who put his own needs ahead of Jackson's and Jackson's children's.

"The evidence in this case is overwhelmingly, abundantly clear that Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence, that Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson, that Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father," Walgren said.

Later, defense attorney Edward Chernoff accused the prosecution's key witness, security guard Alberto Alvarez, of lying in order to tell his story.

"Do you honestly believe when you go home to your families that Alberto isn't going to cash in? Honestly?" Chernoff asked.

Alvarez called 911 as Murray tried to receive Jackson and later told police that Murray told him to stash various medicine bottles and a saline bag with a bottle of propofol inside of it.

The prosecution alleged it was evidence Murray knew he was in the wrong and tried to cover up his actions -- but the defense had a different take.

"He tells you it's been so hard, and then you learn Alberto has been offered $500,000 for his story. How did Alberto Alvarez go from a story that's worth $9,000 to a story worth half a million dollars?" Chernoff asked. "His story became monumentally more compelling."

Chernoff further tried to discount Alvarez by saying that his fingerprints were never found on the saline bag that he allegedly stashed and that the list of actions he claimed he performed -- including getting Jackson's children out of the room and following Murray's orders to stash the objects -- would have had to been done in about 30 seconds, according to phone records.

"He said, 'I'm efficient.' It's not efficient," Chernoff said. "It's impossible, because he didn't tell the truth."

When prosecutor Walgren got the chance to rebut the defense assertions, he said, "Alberto Alvarez has no position in this case. This has been nothing but a nightmare for him. He told you the truth."

Walgren added that the fact that Alvarez's fingerprints were not on the saline bag does not discount his testimony. He told jurors that fingerprints are not often found -- pointing out that Jackson's fingerprints were not found on the syringe that the defense alleged he used to self-administer the fatal dose of propofol.

Chernoff said Murray was "painted as a villain for everything he does" by the prosecution.

"They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson," he said. "They just won't tell you that."

"His greatest personality defect is his greatest character strength: He got brought into this situation because he thought he could help," Chernoff said. "He was wrong -- because Dr. Murray had no control over this situation. He was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond."

Chernoff argued that Murray truly cared about his patients, as shown by former patients who served as character witnesses, and painted Murray as a caring, devoted doctor.

"You may think Dr. Murray is a sinner. You may think Dr. Murray is a saint," Chernoff said. "Whatever you think about him, if all he cared about was Michael Jackson and the safety of Michael Jackson, the very first thing he's going to do when he finds him not breathing and potentially dead ... is try to revive him."

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