Update: MJ Doctor Pleads Not Guilty

After turning himself in at a branch courthouse near Los Angeles International Airport, Dr. Conrad Murray pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Murray was released from jail later this afternoon after posting $75,000 bail.

Jackson, 50, died June 25 at his rented Los Angeles mansion. The Los Angeles Country coroner ruled his death a homicide caused by acute propofol intoxication, with other sedatives a contributing factor.

The King of Pop hired the Houston cardiologist in May to be his personal physician because he wanted a doctor to be by his side as he prepared for his comeback “This Is It” tour.

A complaint filed by prosecutors claims that Murray “did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson” by acting “without due caution and circumspection required” when administering the prescription drugs in question.

If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

Photo: AP Photo
Arriving at his clinic in Houston.

The doctor turned himself in shortly before 1 p.m. PST. He exited an SUV and was escorted into the courthouse – without handcuffs – by deputies, according to CNN.

Murray’s attorneys had opposed the doctor being cuffed because it might influence potential jurors.

Fans gathered outside the courthouse with handmade signs in support of their idol. Several people shouted “murderer” as Murray walked by.

Photo: AP Photo
Michael Jackson fans gather outside the L.A. County Airport Courthouse.

“We need justice,” Jackson’s father Joe said outside the court.

Joe was joined by the singer’s mother, Katherine, and Jackson’s siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Randy. The family was escorted in separately and seated before anyone else arrived.

When asked for his reaction to the involuntary manslaughter charge, Jermaine said, “Not enough,” according to CNN.

A few hours after turning himself in, Murray was released from jail after posting $75,000 bail. The bail was set at three times the amount most people face after being charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The judge ruled Murray must surrender his passport and not leave the country. He is allowed to travel throughout the U.S.

Although Murray’s lawyer says the doctor plays to continue practicing medicine in Houston and Las Vegas while he awaits trial, state officials say they plan to ask the court to suspend his medical license.

“We’ll make bail, we’ll plead not guilty and we’ll fight like hell,” Murray’s lawyer Ed Chernoff said before the involuntary manslaughter charge was filed.

CNN noted that Murray had treated Jackson for insomnia for six weeks prior to the star’s death by giving him a nightly cocktail of 50 milligrams of propofol, the generic name for Diprivan, diluted with the anesthetic lidocaine via an intravenous drip.

According to the Associated Press, “propofol is only supposed to be administered by an anesthesia professional in a medical setting because it depresses breathing and heart rate by lowering blood pressure.”

Murray told police he gave Jackson a dose of propofol just before 11 a.m. June 25, according to court documents. The doctor then left the room to use the bathroom.

After returning to Jackson’s room he found the singer wasn’t breathing and began trying to revive him.

Police say Murray didn’t call an ambulance until 12:21 p.m, instead spending 47 minutes making non-emergency phone calls before finally dialing 911.

Murray’s lawyer says that police got the story wrong because the doctor found Jackson unresponsive around noon.

According to his autopsy, Jackson had been in relatively good health and had no illegal drugs in his system. His heart was strong and his kidneys and most other major organs were normal.

Click here and here for the AP stories.

Click here for the CNN.com story.