- Associated Press - Monday, January 10, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Recently obtained data from the cell phone of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death can be admitted as evidence in a preliminary hearing, a judge ruled Monday.

Murray’s defense attorney, Ed Chernoff, described some of the data as brief voicemails. He also said there were 12 screenshots found on the phone that may be used as evidence.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor made the ruling before testimony was to resume at the hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray.

A prosecutor said he intended to use some of the information, which was disclosed to attorneys handling the case late last week, when he calls his first witness of the day.

Pastor said some of the information is protected by attorney-client privilege, but most is not.

Prosecutors have used Murray’s phone records to help create a detailed timeline of the doctor’s actions on the day Jackson died.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors say he gave the singer a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol mixed with other sedatives.

After the hearing, Pastor will determine whether there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said investigators have been working for months to obtain any additional data possible from Murray’s iPhone.

Murray could face up to four years in prison if tried and convicted.

Prosecutors were poised to focus on the science of what killed Jackson during the second week of the hearing.

The hearing, which began last week, has included a significant amount of prosecution evidence. Among the witnesses was a bodyguard who said he was told to place vials of medicine in bags before calling 911.

Paramedics and an emergency-room doctor with a combined 50 years of experience also said they believe the singer died before he was rushed by a paparazzi-hounded ambulance to a nearby hospital, where efforts failed to revive the pop superstar.

Using phone records and testimony from police and Murray’s current and former girlfriends, prosecutors have developed the timeline that shows Murray was on the phone throughout the morning of Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, including after administering propofol to the singer.

They hope to convince a judge of several key points: that Murray was distracted when he should have been monitoring Jackson, that he delayed calling 911, that he botched CPR efforts and that the singer was dead before help was summoned.

The remainder of the hearing was likely to take a clinical approach, with coroner’s officials, propofol experts and police who interviewed Murray taking the stand.

Pastor said Friday that prosecutors told him they were ahead of schedule, although he did not indicate when the hearing may end. Prosecutors appeared to be at least halfway through presenting their case.

Defense attorneys rarely present witnesses or their own theories during preliminary hearings. In Murray’s case, they did not make an opening statement and have only hinted at potential arguments as they questioned witnesses.


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