The long-anticipated involuntary manslaughter charge against Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, was filed yesterday as the coroner’s office said the care the singer received in his last hours violated accepted medical standards. The Los Angeles Times said prosecutors will focus on Murray’s use of the operating-room anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
Murray told investigators that Jackson, 50, was a chronic insomniac who had depended for years on propofol — a white liquid the singer called “milk” — to sleep. An anesthesiologist told the coroner she knew of “NO reports of its use for insomnia relief.” The setup in Jackson’s bedroom did not include proper monitoring or precise dosing equipment, and an oxygen tank at his bedside was empty. Whether Murray was negligent in administering propofol to Jackson will probably be the central dispute in his involuntary manslaughter prosecution. Prosecutors do not have to prove Murray acted with malice or intent, only that the death occurred during an “unlawful act not amounting to a felony” or during a lawful act performed “without due caution and circumspection.”