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."
When prosecutor Walgren took the stage once more for his rebuttal and the final word in the trial, he voiced scorn for the defense's accusations.
"Poor Conrad Murray. Everyone is just working against him," Walgren said.
He accused the defense of trying to place blame for Jackson's death on everyone and anyone except for Murray.
"If allowed more time, I'm sure they would find a way to blame it on Michael's son, Prince," Walgren said. "Everyone is to blame but Conrad Murray."
Walgren ended his rebuttal by saying to the jurors, "I trust and I ask that you return with the only right verdict in this case, and the only just verdict in this case. I ask that you return with a verdict of guilty for involuntary manslaughter based on Conrad Murray's actions and his actions alone."
Earlier today, Walgren delivered a passionate argument and told the court that Jackson's children were left crying in despair and will grow up without their father because of Murray's "gross criminal negligence."
"For them, this case doesn't end today or tomorrow or the next day," he said. "For Michael's children, this case will go on forever because they do not have a father. They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray."
Throughout the presentation, Murray fixed his gaze on the presentation projected on a wall opposite the jury and rarely looked away.
"Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray. He trusted him with his life," Walgren said. "He trusted him with his own individual life and the future lives of his children, trusting that Conrad Murray, as he slept, would care for him so that in the morning he would awake to share a meal with his children.
"But Conrad Murray corrupted that relationship, and for that Michael Jackson paid with his life," he said.
Jackson's children were in the house on June 25, 2009, when Jackson died from a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. As Murray sought help from house staff in Jackson's bedroom, his panicked children were ushered out by a nanny so as not to witness what was happening.
Paris "broke down in tears" and was "balled up" on the floor crying, and Prince "had a shocked look on his face and was crying," Walgren said. "That's what the actions of Conrad Murray caused."
Walgren argued Jackson put great trust in his doctor and said Murray betrayed the relationship of doctor and patient by allowing it to become a relationship between employee and employer.
"This relationship of trust that is so important between a doctor and a patient was grossly corrupted by the actions of Conrad Murray," Walgren said. "Conrad Murray marched forward, putting Conrad Murray first, not Michael Jackson first."
Walgren argued that Jackson was dedicated to the preparations for his "This Is It" tour, which was slated to occur in London and consisted of 50 shows with a hope for more.
Murray was hired to be Jackson's personal physician for the tour with the main objective of putting Jackson to sleep. He expected to be paid $150,000 a month for at least 10 months, according to a contract Walgren showed in his presentation.
"He wanted to satisfy his fans, his family, his children," Walgren said. "He was a creative genius and a perfectionist and he went about these tasks striving for perfection."
Walgren said that Jackson was optimistic and hopeful about the future. He had expressed an interest in directing films, in creating a feature film based on the song "Thriller" and most passionately, his desire to build the greatest children's hospital in the world.
"He had plans, he had hopes, he had dreams. Both for himself and for his family," Walgren said.
Murray claimed he was trying to wean Jackson off propofol as a sleep aid, and that Jackson's insomnia was exacerbated by an alleged addiction to the painkiller Demerol.
Prosecutors argued that Murray acted recklessly by giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid at Jackson's home without back-up equipment, then botched CPR efforts, did not immediately call 911 and did not keep proper medical records.
Judge Michael Pastor told the five women and seven men on the jury today that in order to acquit Murray of involuntary manslaughter, they must find that Jackson's death was caused by an accident and not reckless behavior.
For the jurors to find Murray guilty, they must unanimously determine that he committed a lawful act with criminal negligence or failed to perform a legal duty with criminal negligence.
If convicted, Murray faces as much as four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.
Over the six weeks of the trial, jurors listened to 49 witnesses over 22 days of testimony. Murray did not testify. Back in the jury room, jurors will have more than 300 exhibits to look over.
The pop star's famous family made regular appearances in court and sat in the gallery, including parents Joe and Katherine Jackson and siblings Janet, Randy, LaToya, Jermaine and Rebbie.