NEW: Michael Jackson's chef alerted Prince, but not security, that Murray wanted help
Murray gathered up drug vials before 911 was called
Murray apparently didn't know how to do CPR, a Jackson guard testifies
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Michael Jackson’s chef Thursday defended her decision not to alert a security guard that Dr. Conrad Murray needed help in Jackson’s bedroom after Murray frantically asked her to do so.
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later that a guard in a trailer a few feet away from chef Kai Chase’s kitchen was ordered upstairs to the bedroom where Murray was trying to revive Jackson, according to testimony in Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial.
Murray “was very nervous, and frantic and he was shouting,” when he ran down a staircase near the kitchen where Chase was preparing Jackson’s lunch, Chase testified Thursday afternoon.
“Get help, get security, get Prince,” Chase said Murray screamed.
The chef’s response was to walk into the nearby dining room where Jackson’s oldest son, Prince, was playing with his sister and brother, she said.
“I said ‘Hurry, Dr. Murray needs you. There may be something wrong with your father,” Chase said she told Prince Jackson.
She then returned to the kitchen to continue lunch preparation, she said.
“He’s asking for help, he’s asking for security,” defense lawyer Michael Flanagan said during cross-examination. “Did you think that a 12-year-old child was going to be able to assist this doctor with a problem with Michael?”
“I did what I was told and I went to get Prince,” Chase answered.
Murray’s lawyers are laying the groundwork to argue that Murray should not be blamed for the delay in calling for help because he relied on the chef to alert security, who then could call for an ambulance.
The prosecution, meanwhile, contends that a delay in calling 911 for an ambulance was Murray’s fault and one of the negligent acts that make him criminally responsible for Jackson’s death.
The Jackson employee who called 911, at least 10 minutes after Murray’s plea to the chef for help, testified earlier Thursday that Murray told him to help gather up drug vials around Jackson’s deathbed before he asked him to place the emergency call.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren blamed Murray for Jackson’s death, saying he abandoned “all principles of medical care” when he used a makeshift intravenous drip to administer the surgical anesthetic propofol to put Jackson to sleep every night for more than two months.
The coroner ruled that Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death was the result of “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with sedatives.
Alberto Alvarez, who served as Jackson’s logistics director, showed the court Thursday how he saw an empty vial of propofol inside a torn IV bag that was hanging on a stand.
During questioning by the defense, however, Alvarez indicated it was another IV bag with a clear saline solution, not propofol, that was attached by a tube to Jackson’s leg.
Alvarez testified that when he first rushed into the bedroom where Murray was trying to revive Jackson, the doctor asked him to help put drug vials into bags.
“He reached over and grabbed a handful of vials, and he asked me to put them in a bag,” Alvarez testified.
Prosecutors contend that Murray was trying to gather up evidence of his criminal responsibility for Jackson’s death, even before asking that someone call for an ambulance.
Under cross-examination, defense lawyer Ed Chernoff led Alvarez slowly through his steps during a half-minute period, apparently trying to show that his memory is wrong about the sequence of events.
When Chernoff asked him whether all of the events he described could have happened in the 30 seconds, Alvarez answered, “I’m very efficient, sir.”
Chernoff also hinted that the defense would argue that Alvarez altered his account of events two months later after conferring with other witnesses.
Alvarez described how Jackson’s two oldest children, Prince and Paris, walked toward their father, who was lying still on a bed with his eyes and mouth open, facing toward them.
“Paris screamed out ‘Daddy!’ ” and she started crying, Alvarez said.
“Dr. Conrad Murray said, ‘Don’t let them see their dad like this,’ ” Alvarez said. “I turned to the children, and I told them, ‘Kids, don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK.’ “
After helping Murray place the vials in bags, the doctor asked him to call 911. The recording of the call was played in court Thursday.
“He’s pumping his chest, but he’s not responding to anything,” Alvarez told the emergency dispatcher.
Murray appeared not to know proper CPR techniques and attempted it on the bed and not the floor, as recommended by practitioners. Alvarez said he took over while Murray began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Jackson.
“After a few breaths, (Murray) said, ‘This is the first time I do mouth-to-mouth, but I have to because he’s my friend,’ ” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he’s been offered up to $500,000 for interviews about Jackson’s death. He’s turned them all down, despite financial problems and the lack of employment, Alvarez said.
Jackson’s personal assistant and his security chief gave their own emotional details about the chaos in the Jackson home and at the hospital with their testimony Wednesday.
Michael Amir Williams, who was Jackson’s personal assistant, described a frantic series of phone calls that started at 12:13 p.m. the day the pop icon died.
“Call me right away, please; call me right away,” Murray said in a voice message to Williams, which prosecutors played in court Wednesday.
“Get here right away; Mr. Jackson had a bad reaction,” Williams said Murray told him when he called him back.
Williams then ordered Alvarez to rush to the upstairs bedroom where Murray was working to resuscitate Jackson.
Security chief Fahreem Muhammad, who followed Alvarez upstairs, described seeing Jackson on a bed with his eyes open and his mouth “slightly opened” as Murray tried to revive him.
“Did he appear to be dead?” Walgren asked.
“Yes,” Muhammad replied.
Muhammad gave details about how Jackson’s two oldest children watched in shock.
“Paris was on the ground, balled up, crying. And Prince, he was standing there, he just had a real shocked, you know, slowly crying, type of shocked look on his face,” he said.
Chernoff contended that Jackson, desperate for sleep, caused his own death by taking a handful of sedatives and self-administering propofol while the doctor was out of the room.
One defense strategy is to point the finger at another doctor and Jackson as having a large role in his death, while arguing that Murray was blind to what they were doing.
They contend that dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein addicted the singer to Demerol during those frequent visits to his Beverly Hills office in the weeks before his death, something Murray did not know about.
His withdrawal from that Demerol addiction was what kept Jackson awake despite Murray’s efforts to put him to sleep with sedatives the morning he died, the defense contends, arguing that Klein is at least partly responsible for Jackson’s death because of the Demerol.
Chernoff asked Williams, Jackson’s personal assistant, if he went to Klein’s office with Jackson.
“At a certain point, it was very regular,” Williams said.
Chernoff then asked Williams whether he’d ever heard Jackson talk slowly with slurred speech, as he did on an audio recording played in court Tuesday.
“Not that extreme, but I have heard him talk slow before,” Williams said.
“And when he left Dr. Klein’s office, have you observed him sometimes to talk slow?” Chernoff asked.
Sometimes, Williams replied, “he would talk slow like that. I never heard it that extreme, but I can definitely say he has come out, and he’s a little slower.”
Chief security guard Muhammad, who often drove Jackson, testified that “There were times he would go almost every day” to Klein’s office. Jackson often appear intoxicated when he left, Muhammad testified.
Jackson once told Muhammad that his frequent trips to the dermatologist were for treatment for a skin disease.
“My doctors tell me that I have to go, so I go,” Muhammad said Jackson told him.
At the start of court proceedings Wednesday, Paul Gongaware, an executive with the company promoting Jackson’s comeback concerts, said he noticed that Jackson had “a little bit of a slower speech pattern, just a slight slur in the speech” after a visit with Klein.
Medical records show that Klein gave Jackson numerous shots of Demerol in the weeks before his death, Chernoff told jurors Tuesday.
“Dr. Klein did not do anything that was medically inappropriate,” Klein’s lawyer, Garo Ghazarian, told HLN’s “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell” Wednesday.
The last time Klein gave Jackson drugs was more than three days before his death, Ghazarian said.
Jackson’s inability to sleep the morning he died was “one of the insidious effects” of Demerol addiction withdrawal, Chernoff said. Since Murray did not know about the Demerol, he could not understand why Jackson was unable to fall asleep that morning, Chernoff said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor previously ruled that while the jury can see some of the records of Klein’s treatment of Jackson, the doctor would not testify. Demerol was not found in Jackson’s body during the autopsy, which makes Klein’s testimony irrelevant, Pastor ruled.
A lawyer hired by concert promoter AEG to draw up the contract with Murray testified that Murray requested a CPR machine and money to hire a second doctor to help him care for Jackson.
The additional doctor and the CPR equipment were never provided, since the contract was not signed before Jackson died, attorney Kathy Jorrie testified.
She told the court that it was her understanding that Murray did not want the CPR unit or the additional doctor until he arrived in London with Jackson in July 2009 for the “This Is It” concerts.
“I asked Dr Murray, why do we need a CPR machine?” Jorrie testified.
Murray told her he needed it since “given (Jackson’s) age and the strenuous performance he would be putting on, that if something went wrong, he would have it,” she said.
The second doctor would be necessary because “if (Murray) was tired or unavailable, he wanted to make sure there was someone else to be of assistance” to Jackson.
AEG is being sued by Jackson’s mother, Katherine, based on her contention that the concert promoter hired and controlled Murray when he was caring for her son.
The prosecution contends that part of the negligence that makes Murray criminally liable for Jackson’s death is the lack of monitoring and CPR equipment on hand when Jackson died.
The trial began Tuesday with prosecutors playing a stunning audio recording of an apparently drugged Jackson slurring his words weeks before his death. Prosecutors also showed jurors a photo of Jackson’s corpse on a hospital gurney.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray could spend four years in a California prison and lose his medical license.