LOS ANGELES — The case of Michael Jackson’s doctor was placed in a jury’s hands Thursday after contentious legal arguments over who was to blame for the superstar’s death – the celebrity who craved sleep at any cost or the doctor accused of providing the drugs that killed him.
In final statements delivered in a packed courtroom, a defense attorney cast Dr. Conrad Murray as a victim of Jackson’s celebrity, saying he never would have been charged with involuntary manslaughter if his patient was someone other than Jackson.
“They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” attorney Ed Chernoff said. “This is not a reality show. It is reality.”
Prosecutor David Walgren portrayed Murray as a liar and greedy opportunist who put his own welfare before that of Jackson.
“Conrad Murray is criminally liable for the death of Michael Jackson,” he told jurors. “Not because it was Michael Jackson but because Conrad Murray is guilty of criminal negligence.”
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor submitted the case to jurors after a full day of arguments and told them to begin deliberations today.
If convicted, Murray could receive a minimum sentence of probation or a maximum of four years. He would be unlikely to serve that much time, however, because of jail overcrowding.
Police might launch probe of woman’s Bieber baby claim
LOS ANGELES — A woman who claims Justin Bieber fathered her baby in a backstage bathroom could be investigated for having sex with a minor because the singer was 16 at the time.
While no crime has been reported, Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Associated Press on Thursday that the department could investigate after Mariah Yeater filed the paternity suit against the teen heartthrob in San Diego Superior Court.
“If it’s brought to our attention, of course we’ll look into it,” Smith said.
Yeater had just turned 19 when she says she and Bieber, then 16, had a brief sexual encounter after one of the singer’s concerts at Staples Center.
She said she gave birth to a boy in July and believes Bieber is the father because there were no other men she had sex with at that time.
She is asking a judge for child support and a paternity test. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
Bieber’s camp has denied he is the child’s father.
It’s illegal in California to have sex with someone under age 18. If the other person is not more than three years older, it is a misdemeanor, which carries up to a one-year jail sentence.
“The issue of statutory rape, even if she’s guilty, hypothetically, that has no bearing on the duties to provide child support,” said one of Yeater’s lawyers, Matthew Pare. “It’s a totally separate issue.”
Emails sent to Bieber’s representatives were not immediately returned Thursday.
– From wire reports