Jackson doctor on suicide watch - plans to appeal guilty verdict
Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray was placed on suicide watch on his first day in jail and plans to appeal the manslaughter conviction that held him responsible for the pop star's 2009 death, his lawyers said Tuesday, dpa reported.
Lead defence attorney Ed Chernoff said his team would file the appeal following the sentencing hearing scheduled for November 29. Murray, 58, is facing a maximum term of four years after being found guilty Monday of the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson.
"What matters most right now is trying to keep Dr. Murray from taking up a prison cell in this community," Chernoff said on CNN. "That's what we're focusing on right now and we'll deal with an appeal after that."
Murray was "devastated" by his house arrest but "confident" of winning on appeal added defence lawyer Nareg Gourijian.
"I think what went wrong was a lot of the pretrial rulings that were made by the court in reference to some of the evidence that we planned to offer for the jury to consider," Gourjian told CNN's Piers Morgan.
"I think that's essentially what denied Dr Murray a fair trial in this case," he added, referring to judge Michael Pastor's decision to bar evidence of Jackson's financial challenges and past drug use.
News show Good Morning America and the Los Angeles Times newspaper quoted Murray lawyers and law enforcement officials as saying that Murray had been placed on suicide watch in the Los Angeles county jail's medical unit as a precaution.
Murray was remanded without bail immediately following his conviction Monday after Pastor ruled out bail because of the serious nature of his crimes, his threat to public safety and possible flight risk.
While some legal analysts said Pastor's ruling indicated that Murray is likely to receive the maximum sentence, prison overcrowding in California could mean that Murray serves only a few months behind bars with most of his sentence converted to house arrest.
"I think it's the judge saying, in effect, 'I know that he's not going to serve the kind of time the public expects and I want to make sure they, the public, know how seriously I'm treating this,'" said NBC legal analyst Dan Abrams.
The 12-person jury found Murray guilty of manslaughter after just nine hours of deliberations.
The decision came at the end of a five week trial in which prosecutor David Walgren painted Murray as an incompetent physician who repeatedly ignored standard medical practice to indulge in Jackson's demand for the hospital anesthetic propofol to combat his insomnia.