- Associated Press - Friday, November 4, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The case of Michael Jackson’s doctor was placed in a jury’s hands Thursday after contentious legal arguments over who was to blame for the superstar’s death _ the celebrity who craved sleep at any cost or the doctor accused of providing the drugs that killed him.

In final statements delivered in a packed courtroom, a defense attorney cast Dr. Conrad Murray as a victim of Jackson’s celebrity, saying he would never have been charged with involuntary manslaughter if his patient was someone other than Jackson.

“They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” attorney Ed Chernoff said. “This is not a reality show. It is reality.”

Prosecutor David Walgren portrayed Murray as a liar and greedy opportunist who put his own welfare before that of Jackson.

“Conrad Murray is criminally liable for the death of Michael Jackson,” he told jurors. “Not because it was Michael Jackson but because Conrad Murray is guilty of criminal negligence.”

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor submitted the case to jurors after a full day of arguments and told them to begin deliberations Friday.

If convicted, Murray could receive a minimum sentence of probation or a maximum of four years. He would be unlikely to serve that much time, however, because of jail overcrowding.

Earlier, Walgren, in a carefully structured argument enhanced by video excerpts of witness testimony, spoke of the special relationship between a doctor and patient and said Murray had corrupted it by giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.

He ridiculed the defense theory that Jackson had injected himself with the fatal dose of the anesthetic and denounced the testimony of defense expert Paul White who blamed Jackson for his own death.

“What you were presented by Dr. White was junk science. It was garbage science,” Walgren said.

Chernoff countered that Dr. Steven Shafer, a propofol expert who testified that evidence showed Murray killed Jackson, was wrong and overstepped his role as a scientist by becoming an advocate for Murray’s conviction.

He said Shafer ignored Murray’s statement to police in which the physician said he gave the singer a small dose of propofol and left the room after the drug should have worn off.

Walgren also projected images of Jackson’s grief-stricken children on a giant screen and told jurors that Murray took away their father.

With Jackson’s mother and siblings watching from the courtroom gallery, Walgren showed a photo of Jackson at his last rehearsal before the picture of the three Jackson children _ Prince, Paris and Blanket _ at their father’s memorial.

He also reminded jurors of the scene in Jackson’s bedroom when Paris came upon Murray frantically trying to revive her lifeless father and screamed, “Daddy!”

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