Prosecution intensifies attack in Michael Jackson death probe

LOS ANGELES — As the final jury selection approaches for the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray’s alleged role in Michael Jackson’s death, both prosecutors and Murray’s defense team continue to probe for advantages that will support their side in the looming trial.

TMZ reports that L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley filed a motion requesting the judge put a stop to efforts by Murray’s lawyers to connect the late pop star with the Nation of Islam. This effort, the prosecution believes, is based on making Jackson seem an “unsympathetic character” in the eyes of the jury.

“Evidence concerning the Nation of Islam … is irrelevant to this case because it does not relate to the defendant’s participation in Michael Jackson’s death,” said Cooley in documents reportedly obtained by TMZ.

TMZ also reports that Las Vegas stripper Michelle Bella told police she received a phone message from Murray in the hours before Jackson died that gave her reason to believe Murray was exhausted. Her statements are believed to be significant because of the notion that Dr. Murray may have fallen asleep and woke up to find Jackson dead.

Regarding the message left on June 25, 2009 at about 8:30 a.m., Bella said: “I mean his schedule was obviously, you know — I know that he was like up all hours because of his work so when — so when he called, you know, he sounded tired and he was like ‘I’m gonna get some sleep’ whatever.”

On another front of the Jackson/Murray legal battle, the prosecution is asserting that Murray is currently telling a different story than he originally told police following Jackson’s death, The Associated Press reports. In response, prosecutors are asking the judge to throw out Murray’s latest version of events.

Two doctors slated to testify on Murray’s behalf were the recipients of Dr. Murray’s updated account of what happened the day of Jackson’s untimely passing. Events in question include whether Murray left Jackson to use the bathroom, make a phone call or both.

According to the AP report, prosecutors called the altered story “a backdoor attempt to introduce the defendant’s new, self-serving statements without being subject to cross-examination.… Such information conflicts with what the defendant told the police in his prior interviews.”

One current event that is shining some positive light on Dr. Murray, and may work in his favor as far as any potential juror is concerned, is his reported role in helping to save the life of a fellow passenger on a Minneapolis-bound plane Sunday morning.

According to Radar Online, the Delta pilot requested help mid-flight for a suffering passenger. Murray responded and teamed with another doctor onboard to stabilize the ailing passenger.

When the plane reached its Minneapolis destination, paramedics took over.

Dr. Murray reportedly continued on to Boston.

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