June 14, 2010 — -- Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician, may be facing trial on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop icon's death, but he can still practice medicine in California.
At a hearing today, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor refused to suspend Murray's California medical license despite a request by state authorities to bar him from praticing, saying he did not have the authority to revoke it.
A preliminary hearing in Murray's manslaughter trial was set for August 23.
Ahead of Murray's hearing, dozens of Jackson fans protested outside the courthouse, holding signs and demanding justice for the late king of pop. The doctor stands accused of administering the lethal dose of the powerful sedative Propofol that killed Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009. Murray pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in February and remains free on $75,000 bail.
The cardiologist has continued to work in Houston and Las Vegas, where he maintains practices. His attorney, Ed Chernoff, has argued that the loss of Murray's California medical license will negatively affect his Texas and Nevada operations, and filed court papers Friday revealing that those states have allowed Murray to practice provided he doesn't administer sedatives like Propofol.
Murray gained a much-needed dose of good press last month when helped revive a woman who became unconscious on a US Airways flight from Houston to Phoenix.
"In Michael's final months alive I said to her many times that I couldn't get through to him -- and that she needed to help her son," Joe Jackson told the paper, adding that he urged his wife to make Michael get help for his prescription drug addiction. "I had begged her to go over and stay with him, but she insisted he needed his privacy and gave him the slack she thought he needed."
Katherine Jackson shot back via a statement from her attorney, Adam Streisand.
"Joe Jackson's statements and conduct toward Mrs. Jackson are outrageous," Streisand said in a statement to ABC News today. "The world knows Mrs. Jackson has always been a loving and caring mother and grandmother, and she had a very special relationship with Michael. The world also knows who Joe Jackson is and he seems bent on never letting us forget."
Dr. Arnie Klein, Michael Jackson's dermatologist and close friend, also jumped into the fray today and lashed out at Joe Jackson. But he added that his main concern is Michael's children -- Paris, Prince and Blanket.
"Michael was very close to Katherine, but Joe talked to him too, but all Joe ever wanted to talk about was business. Everything Joe utters is nonsensical," Klein told TMZ.com. "I'm no longer interested in the Sodom and Gomorrah show on Havenhurst [the Jackson family home]. My main concern is the welfare of the children, especially Michael's, and the preservation of Michael's memory."
Jackson Family Attends Conrad Murray's Court Hearing
Katherine and Joe Jackson showed up for Murray's court date today, along with a group of Michael's siblings: Latoya, Jermaine and Randy. Katherine has attended all of Murray's hearings and contends that the doctor is to blame for Michael's death.
"He's just trying to save his own behind," she told reporters following Murray's not-guilty plea in February. "He killed him. He's lying. He's guilty. Nobody was there but him."
Attorney Chernoff maintains Murray did nothing to cause Jackson's death. In April, he contested media reports -- based on a leaked witness report -- that Murray attempted to hide evidence and delayed calling 911 as Jackson lay dying and said investigators rushed to implicate Murray in the star's death.
"It's just a bald-faced lie," Ed Chernoff said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "[The] doctor called 911 as soon as he could… Let me just say, unequivocally, he did not – he was not cleaning up any bottles… The scene was not consistent with anyone trying to clean something up."
Chernoff said Murray did not immediately call 911 because there was no house phone in the room where Jackson was and he could not leave his patient to make the call. He added that Murray isn't responsible for the star's death and argued that police rushed to blame someone.
"Let's say that this extremely famous, worldwide personality like Michael Jackson was found dead under unusual circumstances such as this," Chernoff said. "And the police came out and said, 'We've investigated and we just, we can't really put the blame on anybody at this point.' What do you think would happen then? I think there was a tremendous amount of pressure to find somebody to blame. I think that was Dr. Murray… I think, my personal opinion, a conclusion was made and the investigation was conducted in order to back it up."
ABC News' Alex Stone, David Alpert and Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.