Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray is no doubt wishing he hadn’t done that controversial documentary and companion interview, after an angry judge Tuesday cited them several times to explain why he was sentencing Murray to the max possible four years in the slammer.
The documentary, “Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship” (or, as it was called when it ran in the UK: “The Man Who Killed Michael Jackson”) ran on MSNBC in November — days after a jury in Los Angeles found Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s June 2009 death. Murray also gave NBC an exclusive interview for “Today” show.
Murray was convicted of having administered a lethal dose of propofol and other drugs to the sleep-deprived Jackson in his home, as the pop singer was preparing to stage a career comeback with a series of concerts
In the docu -- shot before the conviction and showing Murray and his team preparing his defense over two years — Murray is seen explaining, “I don’t feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong.” Which Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Tuesday, shortly before unveiling Murray’s sentence, just goes to show you the doctor has no sense of remorse in Jackson’s death.
While Pastor cited “the long standing failure of character on the part of Dr. Murray to serve his patient” in his decision, he added, “I can’t say that my opinion changed after I became aware of the production involving Dr. Murray after the jury verdict in this case.”
While Murray’s defense team acknowledged “that there’s fault here,” the judge said, Murray did not express this same sentiment in his interactions with the security staff at Jackson’s home, the paramedics who responded to the scene, the doctors at the hospital to which Jackson was conveyed, the detectives of the LAPD — “and you certainly didn’t hear it during Dr. Murray’s interview in this faux documentary/faux reality production.”
Pastor, now on a roll, continued to vent:
“And where Dr. Murray at that point [in the documentary] says he feels betrayed and entrapped by Michael Jackson -- Yikes! Talk about blaming the victim! Not only isn’t there any remorse -- there’s umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent without any indication of the slightest involvement in this case!”
Then he denied Murray probation and sentenced him to four years in the hoosegow.
The incensed judge wondered whether that recording of Jackson’s slurred voice that Murray made, not long before the singer’s death, might have been part of some other documentary designs:
“That tape recording was Dr. Murray’s insurance policy. It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient’s most vulnerable point...I can’t help but wonder that if there had been some conflict between Michael Jackson and Dr. Murray, at a later point in time in their relationship, what value would be placed on that tape recording --- if the choice were to release that tape recording to a media organization.”
Anyone watching Tuesday morning’s sentencing got an early sense of what was coming, when Pastor flicked aside the defense’s request to remove TV cameras and audio recording devices from the courtroom to protect Murray’s privacy, asking Murray’s attorneys how they could “square that” argument with the fact that Murray allowed cameras to follow him and his defense team around for that “un-reality show” MSNBC telecast after the jury verdict.