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12 April 2024

Doctor to be charged over Jackson's death

Conrad Murray (SUPPLIED)

Michael Jackson's doctor will be charged in connection with the pop star's death this week, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has confirmed.

A statement said unspecified charges would be filed tomorrow followed by an arraignment. A law enforcement source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Conrad Murray would be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The announcement followed days of speculation about the possibility of criminal charges being filed against Murray, the Houston-based physician who was with Jackson shortly before the pop icon died suddenly last June.

Murray was initially expected to surrender to custody on Friday ahead of a court hearing, but charges were delayed amid reports of a disagreement between prosecutors and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Local prosecutors had been negotiating with defence lawyers for Murray to surrender voluntarily in the early hours of Friday, before appearing in court without handcuffs or shackles.

Police were reportedly opposed to the plan, seeking to have Murray arrested, booked and handcuffed in plain view.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck denied there was any conflict about the terms of the doctor's surrender or that the department was insisting on a "photo op" showing Murray in handcuffs.

Reports of Murray's looming manslaughter case followed a painstaking and prolonged police investigation. Under California law, involuntary manslaughter – unintentionally causing death through negligence, carelessness or a misdemeanor – is punishable by up to four years in prison.

Murray, 56, has acknowledged that he administered the powerful anesthetic propofol to Jackson only after trying many other medications to help him sleep following the singer's "repeated demands/requests" for the drug. Propofol is a powerful anesthetic used to render patients unconscious before major surgery.

Medical experts say it should only be used and administered by trained staff under hospital conditions.

Unsealed court documents that included a review of toxicology results found that Jackson died from "lethal levels of propofol". (AFP)