Michael Jackson’s personal assistant told jurors Wednesday about what he believed was an “unusual” request by Conrad Murray in the hours after Jackson was pronounced dead.
Michael Amir Williams testified that Murray came to him at the hospital on June 25, 2009 and asked for a ride back to Jackson’s house because he claimed there was some cream in Jackson’s room “that he wouldn’t want the world to know about.” Williams said he lied and told Murray police had taken his car keys and then he had security lock down the house “for the simple fact that Doctor Murray requested to go back.”
Pressed by defense attorney Ed Chernoff, however, Williams acknowledged that he did not tell police about this conversation until August 31, 2009, more than two months after Jackson’s death, even though he had spoken to an investigator just hours after Murray’s alleged request.
Williams’ testimony on the second day of Murray’s trial for involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson’s death focused on his activities and his interaction with Murray on June 25, 2009. Prosecutors played a recording of a voicemail message Murray left for Williams at 12:13 pm that day asking him to call back right away.
According to Williams, when he called back at 12:15 pm, Murray wanted to know where he was and told him to get to the house because Jackson had a “bad reaction” to something. Williams was in downtown Los Angeles at the time so Murray asked him to send someone else to help. Murray did not ask him to call 911.
Williams called the security personnel at the house and spoke to Alberto Alvarez at 12:18 pm, directing him to go inside. He said he heard Murray’s voice in the background before Alvarez hung up. By the time Williams got back to the house, the ambulance had already arrived.
On cross examination, Chernoff questioned why Williams did not call 911 himself, given that Murray “obviously” sounded like he needed help and was extremely stressed. Williams responded that Murray did not actually say it was an emergency and did not say to call 911.
Other witnesses testifying Wednesday morning included AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware, who was responsible for promoting the “This Is It” concert series, and Kathy Jorrie, the attorney who drafted Murray’s contract to serve as Jackson’s personal physician.
Gongaware said that Jackson seemed excited and energetic at rehearsals on June 23 and 24, 2009. He did not recall ever speaking with Murray specifically about Jackson’s health, but they did talk about being willing to “get him whatever he needed to do what he had to do.”
Gongaware also testified about negotiating with Murray to take the job as Jackson’s doctor for the tour. He said Murray initially asked for $5 million for his services, which was “too much,” but Murray agreed to $150,000 per month when he found out that is what Jackson wanted to offer.
Chernoff asked Gongaware several questions about Dr. Arnold Klein, who the defense suggested in their opening statement was partly responsible for getting Jackson addicted to Demerol, but prosecutors objected. Gongaware did say that Jackson once returned from a visit to Klein with a slower, slurred speech pattern.
Jorrie’s testimony focused on the terms of Murray’s contract, which was never actually signed by Jackson before he died. She also noted that she did not think Murray ever got paid by AEG.
Among Murray’s requirements was that they provide a CPR machine and a second physician to help care for Jackson, requests that Jorrie said she did not understand the need for. Because the contract was not signed, though, Murray was never given those resources.
Jorrie said Murray repeatedly told her in conversations on June 18 and 23 that Jackson was in “perfectly healthy, excellent condition.”
Cross examination of Michael Amir Williams continues Wednesday afternoon.