Dr. Conrad Murray's trail for manslaughter of pop singer Michael Jackson began yesterday. The opening statements shocked the jury, as they were shown a photo of a deceased Jackson and also forced to listen to a creepy recording made just weeks before he died.
After the defense team argued that Michael was not well, AEG Live's CEO, Paul Gongaware, took the stand. He said that Jackson wanted 21 extra shows, bringing his concert tour total to 31. Gongaware added that Michael was obsessed with beating Prince, who had a record of 21 shows at the O2 area.
Kenny Ortega, Michael Jackson's friend/choreographer, also took the stand. He claimed that Jackson "wasn't right" on the night of Friday, June 19th. Ortega said it "troubled him" that Michael seemed lost and was "incoherent." He also would rub Michael's feet because the singer was freezing. Basically, before his death, Michael was really, really sick, according to Ortega.
Hollyscoop talked to Michael Jackson's former attorney, Mark Geragos, to get his point of view on this trial. Geragos told us:
"The defense I think in this case is going to revolve around the fact that they are trying to establish that Michael Jackson was addicted to these drugs."
Dr. Murray will also have to prove that when he was "administering them, all he was trying to do was basically wean him off of the drugs."
Geragos told us that the defense team needs to make it clear that the prosecution has "targeted Dr. Murray as the last man standing."
And as for the jury being comprised of a lot of Michael Jackson fans, Geragos explains:
"I don’t think it’s a good defense strategy to run down Michael Jackson so to speak, given the fact that death his iconic nature is more elevated than it was before. I don’t think that will play well. Especially if you have a jury that at least is composed with half of the people who are Michael Jackson fans."
According to Geragos, Dr. Murray also needs to show that he cared for Jackson.
"I think if he embraces the idea that he was there, not only was he a fan of Michael Jackson but more importantly, that this is somebody he cared deeply for and would never harm him, that, I think, would play better with a jury," Geragos told HS.
We also asked Geragos about the issues that arise in a high-profile case. He told us:
"One of them is the media and having to deal with the media and the constant onslaught and being second-guessed. Having all that kind of stuff that floats around the case that has nothing to do with what goes on in the courtroom. You have to filter that out, you have to kind of hunker down and try to just let that water drip off your back."