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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dr Conrad Murray 'talking and texting' in the hour before Michael Jackson stopped breathing, phone records show

-Prosecutors show phone records indicating Murray was preoccupied
-Emergency room doctor who treated singer told how she broke news of his death to Jackson's grieving children
-Dr Richelle Cooper said that Murray told her that Jackson has been given lorazepam but not Propofol

By David Gardner

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Emergency: Dr Richelle Cooper told the court today that she believed Jackson had been dead for an hour when he arrived at hospital

Michael Jackson's doctor was talking on the phone and texting in the hour before he found the King of Pop in cardiac arrest, the court heard today in Dr Conrad Murray's trial for involuntary manslaughter.

According to records shown to jurors, Murray was on the phone for 46 minutes of the hour before Jackson stopped breathing.

The calls included a social call with a Houston waitress and a half-hour conversation with his office.

Hysterical: Paris, left, Prince Michael and Blanket Jackson, cried as they were told their father had died an emergency room doctor told court

The records detailing the use of Murray's two mobile phones were presented by the prosecution in a bid to show the doctor was diverted during the time he was supposed to be tending to his patient.

Two executives from U.S. phone companies gave evidence that Murray was busy on his phone on the morning of June 25, 2009.

Houston physician Dr Joanne Prashad said she spoke to Murray that fateful morning to get advice on one of his heart patients who was about to undergo surgery in Texas.

Prosecutors showed records of Murray's phone calls from the hours before Jackson's death to show that the singer had other things on his mind - getting his $150,000 a month deal to serve as Jackson's personal physician approved, running his medical practices and fielding calls from mistresses.

One of Murray's former patients, Las Vegas salesman Robert Russell, detailed one of the calls Murray took in the hour before Jackson's death last week.

Mr Russell praised Murray in testimony, crediting the doctor with saving his life, but said he had grown distant after going to work for Jackson

Show: The family of late singer Michael Jackson, including his children Prince Michael, far left, Paris, second left, and Blanket, left front, attended the premiere of Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour show by Cirque du Soleil in Montreal last night

Meanwhile, hospital doctors told the court today they never stood a chance of saving Jackson on the day he died.

Emergency staff tried for one hour and thirteen minutes to revive the King of Pop in hospital after he was already diagnosed as being clinically dead.

Hospital staff tried CPR, pumping oxygen into the performer's lungs and used three different heart-starting drugs, but all to no avail.

'Mr Jackson died long before he became a patient,' said casualty Dr Richelle Cooper.

Dr Cooper testified that she first pronounced Jackson as being dead at 12:57pm based on information paramedics relayed from the scene of Jackson's collapse at his rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25, 2009.

'At that time, I felt confident clinically pronouncing him dead,' Dr Cooper told the court.

But Jackson's personal doctor insisted that life-saving efforts should carry on even though the star wasn't breathing and he was rushed to hospital where he wasn't officially pronounced dead until 2:26pm.

Pronounced dead: The trauma room at UCLA Medical Center is shown in this evidence photo projection in the courtroom

On trial: Dr Conrad Murray listens to testimony seated near his attorney today

In all the time she was trying to revive Jackson, Dr Cooper said she never detected a pulse. 'I have never previously given a time of death in the field and then had a patient brought to me for more treatment before it happened on June 25, 2009,' she added.

Giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial at Los Angeles Superior Court, Dr Cooper denied the lengths hospital staff took to try and resuscitate Jackson had anything to do with him being a celebrity.

The emergency physician at the University of California Los Angeles Hospital said Murray never mentioned giving Jackson the powerful hospital anaesthetic Propofol.

She added that she hadn't heard of the strong sedative being used anywhere outside a surgery ward.

Dr Cooper said Jackson appeared to be clinically dead when he was brought into the casualty ward.

'He didn't have a pulse. His pupils were fixed and dilated,' she said.

Dr Cooper testified she never asked Murray to sign a death certificate because, by the time he was brought to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Jackson became her patient.

'Mr Jackson was my patient and I didn't really have an explanation for why he was dead,' she said.

Defendant: Conrad Murray, pictured in court today, is charged with involuntary manslaughter

Testifying: Cardiologist Dr Thao Nguyen told the court that Murray 'sounded desperate' and 'looked devastated'

On the stand: Murray's phone records were discussed by AT&T employee Edward Dixon, left, and Sprint employee Jeff Strohm

Dr Cooper said Murray only admitted giving Jackson two small amounts of the sedative lorazepam, but didn't mention giving him any other drugs, including Propofol.

Murray added that Jackson did not have any medical problems.

At one point, Dr Cooper said she went to check on Jackson's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, in an adjoining room.

'They were crying and they were fairly hysterical. They were being comforted by their nurse,' she told the court.

A cardiologist who was working at the emergency room repeated the claim that Murray had not mentioned propofol.

Hospital cardiologist Dr Thao Nguyen also told the court that Murray made no mention of the fact he administered Propofol to Jackson, even though she quizzed him several times.

She also said Murray couldn't remember what time Jackson stopped breathing or how long he took to call 911.

In court: Janet Jackson looks toward oncoming protesters as she steps out of a vehicle on arrival at the courthouse today

Siblings: Janet Jackson and Randy Jackson arrive at the courthouse this morning

'He said he didn't have any concept of time,' she said. 'He said he didn't have a watch.'

Dr Nguyen said Murray 'sounded desperate and he looked devastated.'

But, she said, without knowing how much time had passed since he stopped breathing, resuscitation was a remote hope.

'Dr Murray asked that we not give up early and try to save Michael Jackson's life. But it was not too little, too late - it was just too late. We were running too late,' added Dr Nguyen.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter by administering a fatal dose of Propofol to Jackson.

His defence lawyers claim Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of sedatives and Propofol, which is normally administered in hospital settings.

Authorities say he administered the fatal dose and acted recklessly by providing Jackson the drug as a sleep aid.

The prosecution is continuing to call witnesses as the high-profile case enters its second week.

Three of Dr Murray's girlfriends are expected to be called to the stand this week, including a woman who he was on the phone to as he realised Jackson was unwell.

Jackson's children are reported to have chosen no to attend the trial as it is too painful, but are still willing to testify.

Their grandmother, Katherine Jackson, is relieved that they have chosen not to watch the trial, a source told TMZ.
The case continues.

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