LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s doctor ordered an aide to help remove medical equipment including a “milky-white substance” from near the star’s bed, even as he lay apparently lifeless, a court heard on Thursday. Amid frantic scenes, Jackson’s daughter Paris screamed “Daddy!” as she saw her father, eyes and mouth open but seemingly already dead, being given heart and lung massage by doctor Conrad Murray, according to testimony in the manslaughter trial.
Jackson’s bodyguard Alberto Alvarez testified that Murray got him to help remove vials and a saline bag from an intravenous (IV) drip stand by the star’s bed, even before he had called 9-1-1 to rush paramedics to his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009.
Murray is accused of manslaughter in Jackson’s death, allegedly by giving him an overdose of the powerful sedative propofol, which the singer referred to as “milk” to help him sleep.
“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,'” Alvarez told the Los Angeles Superior Court.
With paramedics not yet on the scene, the doctor then asked him to remove the saline bag and put it in another bag, Alvarez said. As he removed the bag he noticed there was a bottle inside the bag.
“There was what appeared to me like a milky white substance. I recalled seeing it at the bottom of the bag,” he said, before prosecutor David Walgren offered evidence that the bottle was a 100 milligram bottle of propofol.
The five-week trial opened Tuesday, when prosecutors laid out their case that Murray was guilty of “gross negligence,” while the doctor’s lawyers said the drug-addicted star effectively caused his own death.
On the first day jurors saw chilling images of Jackson’s dead body on a gurney and heard a haunting audio recording of the heavily drugged singer talking on the phone only weeks before his death.
Murray could be jailed for up to four years for involuntary manslaughter over Jackson’s death at mansion in the plush Holmby Hills district of LA, where the star was rehearsing for an ill-fated series of comeback concerts in London.
On Wednesday, personal assistant Michael Williams recalled the last rehearsal on the night of June 24. “He was in good spirits,” he said, adding of Jackson’s last time on stage: “I thought it was amazing.”
But things went wrong overnight, when Murray allegedly gave Jackson a series of drugs to help him sleep – the doctor’s lawyers claim the star secretly took more – before going to the bathroom, and coming back to find Jackson lifeless.
On Thursday, Alvarez described the scene when he entered Jackson’s bedroom, to find Murray performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“I remember seeing him and he was laying on his back, with his hands extended out. I observed that his eyes were slightly open… and his mouth was open,” he said.
“Paris screamed out ‘Daddy!'” he said, referring to Jackson’s daughter, who was there with son Prince Michael. He then “ushered them out and said ‘Kids, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it, everything’s gonna be OK.'”
The harrowing 911 call made by Alvarez was also played in court, in which the emergency operator advises him to move Jackson’s body from the bed onto the floor, because CPR needs to be done on a firm surface.
Jackson’s security head Faheem Muhammad then entered the bedroom, at which point Murray, a trained cardiologist, asked “if anyone knew CPR” at which point “me and Faheem, we kinda looked at each other for a split second,” said Alvarez.
Alvarez then went to help Murray giving CPR, pumping Jackson’s chest while the doctor gave mouth-to-mouth.
“I recall that after a few breaths … he came up and he said ‘This is the first time I (have done) mouth to mouth, but I have to, he’s my friend’,” said Alvarez.
Later Thursday, paramedics Richard Senneff and Martin Blount, who accompanied Jackson’s body to the UCLA hospital, were expected to confirm that Jackson already appeared dead when they arrived at the mansion.