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Defense Attorney: ‘Michael Jackson Engaged in a Desperate Act That Caused His Death’

Without going so far as to actually say the word "suicide," the defense attorneys in Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter case will argue that Michael Jackson was so distraught over his financial situation that he was personally responsible for his own death. Said Murray's lawyer Edward Chernoff, in a pretrial hearing yesterday: "The crux of the defense is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death. We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs." The defense is bringing this up now because they want access to Jackson's financial records — access that Judge Michael Pastor is so far refusing to grant, directing the defense instead to make use of records already made public. Pastor: "I'm not going to turn an involuntary manslaughter trial into some kind of an escapade in analysis of the finances in Michael Jackson's entire life. Right now this is major deep sea fishing." It's established that the cause of death was a lethal dosage of the anesthetic Propofol, which the defense is arguing was administered by Jackson himself while Murray was out of the room. The question is whether Murray is exempt from a charge of gross negligence even if he wasn't the one who administered the drug; the defense is now attempting to indicate just that by making MJ sound like a man running out of options in his last days, hard up for cash and fiending for sleep. This tack, it is safe to say, is not going boost Conrad Murray's likability much.

Lawyers say singer was desperate over finances [AP]

Photo: Getty Images