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Video: Doctor’s defense team: ‘Michael Jackson was addicted’

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    >>> the key witness who took center stage in the trial of michael jackson 's doctor on thursday and also what he told the court could bolster the prosecution's case so in a moment we'll have exclusive live interview with a member of dr. murray 's defense team but first we want to get a full report now on what happened yesterday from nbc's jeff rossen with the latest. jeff, good morning to you.

    >> ann , good to see new los angeles . seems like every single day there's a new big headline coming out of the trial in the court behind us. the latest one comes from michael jackson 's own bodyguard. he was in the room when michael jackson died, when he stopped breathing and he says when that happened, dr. murray made a stunning request. pack up all the drugs. this is michael jackson 's bodyguard on the job, protecting the pop star , but on june 25th , 2009 , there was nothing alberto alvarez could do to save his boss.

    >> he was laying on his back with his hands extended out.

    >> reporter: he is the prosecution's key witness on the stand thursday. alvarez told the jury when michael stopped breathing, dr. murray grabbed the medicine.

    >> did he then instruct you to take some vials or do something with some vials?

    >> yes, while i was standing at the foot of the bed he reached over and grabbed a handful of vials, and then he reached out to me and said, "here, put these in a bag."

    >> reporter: prosecutors say murray was trying to hide the evidence before calling 911 and recruited alvarez to help.

    >> he then pointed toward the i.v. stand and he said now get that bag or move that bag and put it in the blue bag , that at the bottom of the bag what appeared to me a milky white substance .

    >> reporter: the milky white substance prosecutors say was the powerful anesthetic propofol.

    >> what did you think the items were being packed up for, if anything in.

    >> i thought we were packing to get him ready to go to the hospital.

    >> reporter: prosecutors say the drugs never made it to the hospital and dr. murray repeatedly lied to emergency workers , concealing the drugs, they say, and covering up his crime.

    >> this evidence in conjunction with other evidence is going to show that when his client needed to be revived he didn't care. all he was thinking about was himself.

    >> reporter: but dr. murray 's defense attorney ham everydmered at mr. alvarez 's story.

    >> is it possible you are confused about the timing of these particular events? is that possible?

    >> no, sir.

    >> reporter: the defense claims dr. murray asked alvarez to call 911 immediately and alvarez told the jury that part's true.

    >> he said "alberto, hurry, we have to get him to a hospital, we have to get an ambulance."

    >> reporter: alvarez admits he didn't call right away, distracted by michael's children. there they were, prince and paris , standing in the doorway , watching their father die.

    >> paris screamed out, "daddy!"

    >> reporter: alvarez got emotional.

    >> bwhen you heard paris scream out "daddy," was she crying?

    >> reporter: yes, sir.

    >> reporter: that's when he called 911. he's pumpings his chest but it's not doing anything.

    >> two hours later he was pronounced dead.

    >> reporter: did you speak to conrad murray following his bed? he said "thank you for your help" and "we did our best."

    >> dr. conrad murray claims his innocence and says he did nothing wrong. the defense says michael jackson gave himself a lethal dose of propofol. the trial is progressing right on schedule, ann , as we finish this first week, several more weeks of testimony left.

    >> reporter: jeff rossen thank you so much.

    >> matt alford is a member of the defense team.

    >>> good morning.

    >> seems as though yesterday was not a good day for your client. i wonder how you're planning to recover from the testimony of getting the vials before calling 911.

    >> the problem is mr. alvarez his story has continued to evolve over time . he gave a brief statement initially and it wasn't until two months later when he had gotten together with the lawyer, heard about the potential charges coming against dr. murray and he goes in and tells this new version of the facts, and then in the preliminary hearing he adds more. now he's in court adding more to it. kind of like the old adage mark twain said, i have such a good thing i remember things that never even happened.

    >> given the he said/he said nature of this kind of testimony and you're saying now you're going to poke holes into the credibility of the security guard .

    >> absolutely.

    >> given the he said/he said nature do you have to call conrad murray to the stand?

    >> no.

    >> he does not have to testify.

    >> you never make that decision in a case. a case is evolving during the entire trial. you're always preparing your client for potential that he may wish to testify, which is actually his right to make that decision, not the lawyer.

    >> what will make you decide whether or not he testifies, what will be the linchpin?

    >> for example if we feel the state hasn't proven their case there's not a chance we'll subject him to the skilled cross-examination of the d.a.s here in l.a. county and that's generally the major factor is we know that the jury knows, and this is a smart jury, that they know that the state of california has not proven the case.

    >> by his own admission your client, dr. conrad murray has said that he was giving michael jackson this drug, propofol.

    >> that's right.

    >> at his home during the, for two months prior to his death on almost a nightly basis so how is that not reckless and negligent, which is part of the definition of involuntary manslaughter?

    >> well, it's not in and of itself reckless or negligent or to the level of gross negligence . he did admit doing that. he also if you recall, he was -- michael jackson was addicted, if not physically, at least mentally to propofol. there's no question about that, that he felt he needed it to sleep. dr. murray was attempting from june 22nd to wean him off propofol, so therefore, do you immediately pull an addict away or do you try to wean them off?

    >> well, okay, let's ask the question this way. given the audiotape that dr. murray himself took with his cell phone.

    >> right.

    >> which we hear michael jackson woozy, clearly out, not himself, what can justify why a doctor would give that patient these kinds of medications, hearing what that, the voice of michael jackson as we heard on that audiotape, why is that not negligent own recklesogniz and reckless?

    >> like i said we weren't part of the scenario. we come in after the fact.

    >> absolutely but he was a doctor.

    >> he was michael jackson 's doctor. even the celebrity you are, ann , we don't know the relationship between a doctor and a patient looic that. michael jackson can't go down to the doc on the box in the corner and seek treatment. if michael jackson -- you hear from so many people if michael jackson didn't get what michael jackson thought he needed, then you were no longer with michael jackson .

    >> but that's a moral decision that a person needs to make as a doctor.

    >> and dr. murray made that decision to try to help his patient and friend of three years to help him away from this life that he had gotten himself into. dr. murray tapes that. when people say he taped it, what was he going to do, sell it or whatever he was going to do? what do you think would be the best evidence , if you were an addict, the morning after, say you're an alcoholic, someone tapes you the night you can't even remember, you've blacked out and the next morning you go, ann , take a listen to yourself. take a listen to that. you hear that. that may be the linchpin that you say my god, i didn't know it had gotten to this. i do need help.

    >> thank you so much. we look forward to talking to you more about this.

    >> thanks for the opportunitily to come on and finally get a little bit out there


Image: Dr. Conrad Murray Trial
Pool  /  Getty Images
Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren, holding a bottle of propofol, questions Alberto Alvarez, one of Michael Jackson's security guards, during the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday.
updated 9/30/2011 2:00:52 PM ET 2011-09-30T18:00:52

One of Michael Jackson's bodyguards had barely stepped into the singer's bedroom when he heard a scream. "Daddy!" Jackson's young daughter cried.

A few feet away, the singer lay motionless in his bed, eyes slightly open. His personal doctor, Conrad Murray, was trying to revive him when he saw that Jackson's eldest children were watching.

"Don't let them see their dad like this," Murray said, the first of many orders that bodyguard Alberto Alvarez testified Thursday that he heeded in the moments before paramedics arrived at Jackson's home in June 2009.

What happened next — after Alvarez said he ushered Jackson's eldest son and daughter from the room — is one of the key pieces of prosecutors' involuntary manslaughter case against Murray.

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According to Alvarez, Murray scooped up vials of medicine from Jackson's nightstand and told the bodyguard to put them away. "He said, 'Here, put these in a bag,'" Alvarez said.

Alvarez complied. He placed an IV bag into another bag, and then Murray told him to call 911, Alvarez said.

Video: Bodyguard: Murray asked him to remove vials (on this page)

On the third day of the trial, prosecutors tried to show that Murray, who has pleaded not guilty, delayed calling authorities and that he was intent on concealing signs that he had been giving the singer doses of the anesthetic propofol.

Alvarez said he thought Murray might be preparing to take the items to the hospital, but didn't question him.

The bags never made it to the hospital, and prosecutors claim Murray repeatedly lied to emergency personnel and did not tell them he had been giving Jackson doses of the drug as a sleep aid.

If convicted, Murray, 58, could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff questioned whether there was enough time for Alvarez to shield Jackson's children, survey the room and stow away the drugs in the brief period that phone records show he was in the home before calling emergency responders.

The bodyguard insisted there was, telling the attorney, "I'm very efficient, sir."

Chernoff was not convinced, questioning whether 30 seconds was enough time for the dramatic sequence to play out. Alvarez assured him it was.

The defense attorney also challenged Alvarez's recollection, asking whether the collection of the vials happened after paramedics had come and whisked Jackson to a nearby hospital. Alvarez denied it happened after he called 911.

Chernoff questioned why Alvarez didn't tell authorities about Murray's commands to bag up the medication immediately after Jackson died, but instead waited until two months after the singer's death. The bodyguard said he didn't realize its significance until seeing a news report in late June in which he recognized one of the bags detectives were carrying out of Jackson's mansion.

The burly Alvarez became emotional as the 911 call was played for jurors. Jackson's mother, Katherine, appeared distraught and her son, Randy, huddled next to her and put his arm around her. She did not attend the afternoon proceedings,

"Was that difficult to hear?" prosecutor David Walgren asked.

"It is," Alvarez replied.

After hanging up with dispatchers, Alvarez said he performed chest compressions on Jackson while Murray gave the singer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The doctor remarked it was his first time performing the procedure.

"'I have to,'" Alvarez recalled Murray telling him, "'because he's my friend.'"

Alvarez recalled seeing Murray at the hospital where Jackson was taken and sitting next to the emergency room.

"'I wanted him to make it,'" Alvarez quoted Murray as saying. "'I wanted him to make it.'"

Alvarez's testimony allowed Walgren to present jurors directly with a bottle of propofol that they've heard much about throughout the previous two days of the trial.

Jurors intently looked at the bottle, which appeared to still contain some liquid.

When he entered the bedroom, Alvarez said, he saw Jackson's eyes were open and was surprised to see the singer was wearing a condom catheter, a medical device that allows one to urinate without having to get up.

Alvarez testified that Murray only told him Jackson had a "bad reaction." Jackson's personal assistant, who testified Wednesday, said Murray told him the same thing.

Alvarez said it was a stunning scene, a far cry from the night before when the bodyguard stood backstage at Staples Center, sneaking peeks of Jackson performing during what would be his final rehearsal.

"He was very happy," Alvarez testified. "I do recall he was in very good spirits."

In another effort to cast doubt on the bodyguard's testimony, Chernoff asked whether Alvarez, another bodyguard, Faheem Muhammad, and Jackson's assistant, Michael Amir Williams, colluded before being interviewed by detectives two months after Jackson's death.

The three men, who were among the first to interact with Murray after Jackson stopped breathing, have denied the accusation.

Video: Witnesses recall Michael Jackson’s final hours (on this page)

Jackson's personal chef, Kai Chase, testified Thursday about seeing a panicked Murray come into the kitchen the day of Jackson's death and telling her to summon security and send up Jackson's eldest son Prince. The chef said she sent the boy upstairs, but didn't call security.

Five to 10 minutes after Chase said she saw Murray in the kitchen, the doctor called Williams, who dispatched security to Jackson's bedroom.

On Friday, jurors are expected to hear from a pair of paramedics who were dispatched to Jackson's mansion and tried resuscitation efforts.

The medics believed Jackson was already dead by the time they arrived, but Murray insisted the performer be taken to a hospital for additional resuscitation efforts.

Walgren asked whether anything good had happened to Alvarez as a result of his experience in Jackson's bedroom.

"No sir," Alvarez responded.

Media outlets offered him up to $500,000 for interviews, but Alvarez said he always refused. "It's caused a lot of financial problems," he said, starting to choke up. "I went from a great salary to hardly anything."

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Michael Jackson death trial

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  1. Making a statement

    Fans show off T-shirts emblazoned with "Thriller Killer" before the sentencing hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray on Nov. 29, 2011. Murray was sentenced to four years behind bars after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his patient, Michael Jackson, on June 25, 2009. (Jason Redmond / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Remembering Michael

    A Michael Jackson fan carries a placard outside the Los Angeles courthouse where the sentencing of Dr. Conrad Murray took place. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Cheering for Michael

    Michael Jackson fans react to the guilty verdict in the Dr. Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Delight at the Apollo

    Jackson fans outside the Apollo theatre in the Harlem section of New York react to the reading of the verdict in Murray's trial in Los Angeles. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Ready for the verdict

    Jackson's parents Joe and Katherine Jackson arrive at the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building in downtown Los Angeles to hear the verdict in the case involving their son's death. (Nick Ut / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Her verdict is already in

    A fan of Jackson holds a sign outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during the first day of jury deliberations on Friday, Nov. 4. (Toby Canham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. LaToya's arrival

    LaToya Jackson arrives with Rick and Kathy Hilton, the parents of Paris Hilton, rear, for the reading of the verdict in Murray's trial in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 7. (Jason Redmond / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. King of Pop's court

    Fans mingle outisde the Los Angeles Criminal Courts buillding on Friday, Nov. 4. (Toby Canham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Caped crusader

    Michael Jackson supporter Jetset Hudson stands outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during Dr. Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Her faces of death

    A woman holds placards outside the courthouse ahead of the third day of the trial of Murray on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Sky high message

    An airplane tows a banner over the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Judging him to a tee

    A demonstrator stands outside the courthouse during the opening day of Murray's trial in the death of Jackson in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The trial is attracting the usual media and fan spectacle associated with high-profile court proceedings in L.A. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The star's parents

    Jackson's parents, Katherine Jackson, left, and Joe Jackson, right rear, arrive at the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building to hear opening statements on Monday, Sept. 27. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. No sunny disposition

    Michael's sister La Toya Jackson leaves the courthouse on Monday, Sept. 27. "Michael was murdered, and although he died at the hands of Dr. Conrad Murray, I believe Dr. Murray was a part of a much larger plan," La Toya has said. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Missing Michael

    Jackson fan Bristre Clayton of Las Vegas stands outside court during the trial of Murray. The doctor has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted. (Jason Redmond / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. For his brother

    Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson arrives at the courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Sept. 27. "I just feel like it took so long to arrest this guy," Jermaine complained last year about the legal action against Conrad Murray. (Jason Redmond / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Lasting impression

    A demonstrator with tattoos of Jackson stands outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during the opening day of Murray's trial. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. In the doctor's corner

    Beatrice Fakhrain, left, and Michelle Shaw read bible verses during the opening day of Murray's trial. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Tough day in court

    Michael's sister and brother -- Janet and Randy Jackson -- leave the courthouse on Monday, Sept. 27. When asked this past February on TODAY if she still believed Murray was culpable, Janet replied, "Mmm-hmm. And that's all I'm going to say. I do. I really do." (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Seeking justice

    Jackson supporters hold signs outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building on Monday, Sept. 27. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. No replacing Michael

    A fan dressed as the King of Pop makes a peace sign outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building where the trial of Murray is expected to last five weeks. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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