Beverly White and David Gregory
Day 18 brought a string of favorable comments about Conrad Murray's skill and compassion
Michael Jackson's personal physician was brought to tears in the courtroom Wednesday as he listened to his former patients portray him as a caring doctor whose primary concern was their health.
The praise of Murray came after weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses, who have referred to the doctor as inept, distracted, frantic and more interested in collecting a paycheck than caring for Jackson.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff asked former patient Ruby Mosley (pictured, right), of Houston, whether she thought Murray was "greedy."
"Do I what?," Mosley asked emphatically as she leaned forward in her seat. "No."
One former patient described Murray as caring and not motivated by financial interests. Gerry Causey, of Utah, said Murray treated him for a heart attack 11 years ago.
"I know his love, his compassion, his feelings for his patients,'' Causey said. "He's the best doctor I've ever been to."
Another former Murray patient credited the doctor with saving his life.
"I am alive today because of that man," Andrew Guest said.
Testimony ended for the day at about 10:30. Proceedings are expected to resume Thursday with testimony from the defense's expert on propofol -- the sedative blamed for the King of Pop's death.
Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter, has admitted that he left Jackson alone in a bedroom at a rented Holmby Hills mansion, but the Houston-based cardiologist's attorneys claim Jackson's actions led to his own death. Prosecutors alleged Murray failed to properly monitor his patient as he administered the powerful anesthetic propofol after a rehearsal for Jackson's upcoming series of London concerts.
Promoter: "I Had Goose Bumps"
Preparations for those 50 concerts -- the "This Is It" tour -- were central to Tuesday's testimony.
"I had goose bumps,'' Randy Phillips, the president and CEO of concert promoter AEG Live, said when describing Jackson's final rehearsal. "I am as cynical as you can be about this business."
Pre-show demand for tickets was so great that promoters decided to ask Jackson whether he would be willing to perform more shows, Phillips said. Jackson agreed, but asked that the shows be capped at 50, Phillips said.
"It would be 50 shows, max," said Phillips. "He didn't want to live in London... He wanted me to find an estate for him that I could lease outside of London -- 16 plus acres, running streams, horses. Basically, he didn't want to be trapped in a hotel suite and have the kids cloistered."
The need for a personal physician was another requirement. Phillips, Jackson and Murray had a meeting about the pop star's health.
"I felt very good based on both Michael and Dr. Murray's responses," Phillips said. "It was very obvious that Michael had great trust in Dr. Murray. I thought they had a close personal relationship."
But by June, director Kenny Ortega began expressing concerns about Jackson missing rehearsals, Phillips said. The last time Phillips saw Jackson was following a June 24, 2009 rehearsal as they walked toward the singer's vehicle.
"He said, 'You got me here. Now I'm ready. I can take it from here,'" Phillips recounted.
Jurors have heard different accounts from defense and prosecution attorneys about what happened late that night and during the early morning hours of June 25, 2009 -- the day Jackson died. Jackson returned to the Carolwood Drive residence and, according to Dr. Murray's interview with detectives, pleaded for the powerful surgical sedative propofol after he had difficulty sleeping.
Prosecutors claim Murray administered the drug, usually reserved for a surgical setting, then failed to properly monitoring his patient. Defense attorney Ed Chernoff told jurors in opening statements that the evidence would show Jackson swallowed eight two-milligram tablets of the sedative lorazepam, creating a "perfect storm" of medications inside his body.
A nurse who testified Tuesday told jurors that she had warned Jackson about using propofol as a sleep aid. Cherilyn Lee said Jackson asked her for propofol during an April 19, 2009 meeting.
"He told me that doctors have told him that it's safe and that we would not have a problem,'' Lee said."He said, 'I just need someone to come here and I will be safe as a long as I'm monitored.'"
Lee and Dr. Allan Metzger, who said Jackson also asked him for the drug, both testified they refused to administer propofol.
During cross-examination, prosecutors referred to Lee's notes about her repeated warnings.
"You told him, 'No one who cares or has your best interest at heart is going to give you this,' is that correct?'" Deputy DA David Walgren asked.
"That is correct," Lee replied.
Defense attorneys might wrap up their case later this week. Jurors might begin deliberations next week.