After appearing together at Monday’s arraignment for Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s family issued a series of statements decrying the doctor’s not-guilty plea to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.
“He’s lying. He’s guilty. Nobody was there but him,” Jackson’s mother, Katherine, told the assembled media while leaving court. “He’s just trying to save his own behind. … He killed him. He wasn’t monitoring him.”
Murray, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, didn’t make a statement following his court appearance, during which he did not interact with the Jackson family members, according to reports. The Houston-based doctor is expected to leave Los Angeles after posting $75,000 bail.
“Dr. Murray is doing fine. … He’s in good spirits,” attorney Edward Chernoff said during a press conference after the hearing.
As one expert suggested in an interview with MTV News, it could be hard to find an impartial jury in Los Angeles, a reality Chernoff said he was ready to deal with. “It’s going to be tough, but I think if we get the right jury, the right result will come in,” he said. “This has been a nightmare for [Murray] for many different reasons, and one of the reasons is that he lost a friend.”
Murray was hired as Jackson’s personal physician several months before the singer was slated to leave for England to begin his planned 50-show residency comeback stint at the O2 arena. The cardiologist told investigators that he administered the surgical anesthetic propofol, as well as other tranquilizers, to Jackson several times in the hours leading up to his June 25 death. The coroner has ruled that the singer died of lethal levels of the drug. Murray obtained propofol legally, but is accused of negligence in the administration of the drug, a stance prosecutors came to after speaking with more than 10 medical experts.
Outspoken family patriarch Joe Jackson went on CNN’s “Larry King Live” following the hearing and called Murray a “fall guy” in a wider conspiracy. Speaking to King after attending the hearing with his estrange wife, five of his children and a number of grandchildren, Jackson reiterated, “I was looking for justice, and justice, to me, would be a murder charge.” According to legal experts, Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter because there was no proof the doctor purposely acted in a fashion intended to cause death or serious injury to his patient.
“To me, he’s just a fall guy,” Jackson claimed. “There’s other people, I think, involved with this whole thing. But I think that he’s interrogated — he would come clean and tell everything he knows.” According to Joe, Michael Jackson told his mother that he feared he would be killed in the lead-up to his London shows.
“He was afraid to even do all of these shows, because he was afraid that he wouldn’t get a chance to finish all of the show,” Joe Jackson said. “He couldn’t do all those shows back-to-back. Even his kids say that he had told them that he would be murdered.”
Sister La Toya Jackson issued a statement later in the day, which read, “Michael was murdered, and although he died at the hands of Dr. Conrad Murray, I believe Dr. Murray was a part of a much larger plan. There are other individuals involved, and I will not rest and I will continue to fight until all of the proper individuals are brought forth and justice is served.”
La Toya and Joe Jackson have not elaborated on their allegations and neither has named any other suspected conspirators. Police have not named any other suspects in Jackson’s death, after focusing almost exclusively on Murray during their nearly eight-month investigation.