Here is a closing argument from the prosecutor on the case of Conrad Murray, a doctor who was accused of manslaughter for causing the death of Michael Jackson. After thanking the jurors effusively after a long trial, the prosecutor explains how the physician violated medical standards by doing what the patient asked for, as opposed to doing what was best for the patient.
Good morning everyone. Let me begin by and I think I extend this from all the parties and everyone involved in this trial, just first thank each and every one of you for your service in this case, for being extremely by all accounts punctual, diligent, and attentive jury. All the parties appreciate it and all the parties would ask that you just hang on a bit longer while we get through this last phase of the trial. As the court indicated this is a closing argument and it gives us an opportunity to go through the evidence that you’ve heard, to apply that evidence to the law, and to present the case in a final summation.
You’ve heard from I believe 39 witnesses. You’ve been presented with 330-plus exhibits throughout the case, extending weeks, multiple items of evidence, multiple witnesses, and a great deal of evidence to consider. At the end of the day, however, and as I spoke to you about during voir dire, this case will come down to whether or not you believe Conrad Murray acted with gross negligence or criminal negligence in his treatment of Michael Jackson. It’ll come down to whether or not you believe he was a substantial factor in Michael Jackson’s death. He may not be the only factor. He may not be the only cause. He only need be a substantial factor which is defined as something more than trivial and more than remote. Ladies and gentlemen the evidence in this case is overwhelming. The evidence in this case is abundantly clear that Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence. That Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson. That Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris, and Blanket without a father. For them this case doesn’t end today or tomorrow or the next day. For Michael’s children this case will go on forever because they do not have a father. They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray.
Now what this is fundamentally about is trust. Trust between a doctor and a patient. We’ve heard a great deal about the doctor/patient relationship. This hallowed relationship, this special, historic relationship where a patient relies on a doctor’s best medical judgment. Where a doctor is assumed and is entrusted to provide the best medical care, to do no harm to his patient. And that a doctor will use that best medical judgment and provide that best medical care regardless of the requests of the patient. Because a doctor has a legal duty, an ethical duty to do no harm. A doctor has a duty to his patient and from each and every doctor that you heard from in this trial whether called by the people or the defense you heard that if a request was made to provide medical treatment that could cause harm that doctor in the end would have to say no and walk away. The doctor is the decision maker. The doctor is the one entrusted with the medical knowledge. The doctor is the one in the relationship who at the end of the day makes the decision as to what is proper medical care and what is in the well-being of the patient. You’ve heard from many doctors in this case who told you that if they were presented with this situation they would absolutely say no and walk away. Not only did you hear about that in a hypothetical sense but you heard from specific doctors called by the defense who were presented with such a request and said no and walked away. Because they believed and acted in accordance with their belief that a doctor has an obligation, a solemn obligation to first do no harm to their patient. Conrad Murray violated that sacred trust each and every day. Each and every day Conrad Murray violated that sacred trust premised on that hallowed relationship between a doctor and a patient. It was an employer/employee relationship. Conrad Murray sought payment for services rendered. Services rendered being the provision of Propofol to Michael Jackson in his bedroom on an almost nightly basis for over two months according to Conrad Murray’s own words. For services rendered not for proper medical care, not for the sake of doing no harm, but an employee/employer relationship for services rendered. This relationship of trust that is so important between a doctor and a patient was grossly corrupted by the actions of Conrad Murray. Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray. He trusted him with his life. He trusted him with his own individual life and the future lives of his children, trusting that Conrad Murray as Michael slept would care for him so that in the morning he would awake to share a meal with his children. But Conrad Murray corrupted that relationship and for that Michael Jackson paid with his life.
We know that on June 24, 2009 Michael Jackson performed at the Staple Center and by all accounts gave a great performance. He was optimistic. He was looking towards the future and you’ve seen live footage of him dancing and singing and performing and doing what he loved to do. We know from the date this image was taken on June 24, 2009 that in about 12 short hours he was dead.