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Michael Jackson's Former Personal Physician Pleads Not Guilty

PTI 26 Jan 2011, 17:40:49 IST
Los Angeles, Jan 26:  Singer Michael Jackson's former personal physician has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the 'King of Pop' in June 2009 due to drug overdose and will face trial in March.

Describing himself as "an innocent man" during a Los Angeles superior court hearing yesterday, doctor Conrad Murray entered the not guilty plea.

"Your honor, I am an innocent man. I, therefore, plead not guilty," Murray said.

Judge Michael Pastor set a trial date for March 28 and scheduled a February 7 hearing for procedural issues. The trial could last four to eight weeks. If convicted, the 57-year-old cardiologist faces up to four years in prison.

The judge said his "inclination" was to allow television coverage of the trial.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told police he had been using to treat the singer's chronic insomnia.

Murray was with the pop singer at a rented Los Angeles home on June 25.

The doctor was ordered to stand trial earlier this month after a six-day preliminary hearing during which witnesses testified that Murray did not call for help immediately on the morning of Jackson's death.

At the preliminary hearing earlier this month, Murray's lawyers said there is evidence Jackson injected or drank a fatal amount of the drug himself.

Murray's medical licence in the state of California has also been suspended.