Las Vegas drug provider says Murray’s demand for the anesthetic quadrupled within weeks; 3 women testify too
Despite Judge Michael Pastor's insistence that neither Michael Jackson nor Conrad Murray's personal lives take center stage, the prosecution called three of Murray's past and present girlfriends to the witness stand Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the former operator of a Las Vegas pharmacy services firm testified that, starting in April 2009, he began providing Murray with increasing levels of the powerful anesthetic propofol, as well the skin-whitening cream benoquin.
Here's a full rundown of Tuesday's testimony:
Update, 12:15 p.m. PT
Tim Lopez, former operator of Applied Pharmacy Services in Las Vegas, testified Tuesday at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray, telling the court that Murray had purchased increasing amounts of the anesthetic propofol from him.
Lopez (pictured) testified that Murray first contacted him in November 2008 to ask about inquiring the skin-whitening cream benoquin, to treat his patients' vitiligo. Lopez eventually located the source materials for the cream in March 2009, and Murray placed an order.
After calling to tell Lopez how pleased he was with the order, Conrad made another request, according to Lopez.
"He asked me specifically to find pricing and availability of propofol and normal saline," Lopez told the court.
Murray placed an initial order on April 6, 2009, for ten 100-milliliter vials and twenty-five 20-milliliter vials of the anesthetic, to be shipped to his Las Vegas office. When the courier arrived with the order, however, Murray removed several bottles of propofol and asked that the rest be shipped to his Santa Monica, Calif. office — a request Lopez honored.
Three weeks later, on April 28, Murray placed another order — which was quadruple the size of his initial order. Lopez testified that, on the 28th, Murray ordered forty 100-milliliter vials of Propofol, plus 25 more 20-milliliter vials of the drug, to be delivered to his Santa Monica office.
All told, Lopez testified, Murray ordered 255 vials of propofol, 20 vials of the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam, and 60 vials of the anesthetic Midazolam from Lopez between April and Jackson's death in June.
Lopez testified that he offered to deliver one of the orders to Murray's Santa Monica office personally in order to save him the shipping charge, as he was traveling to Los Angeles International Airport, but Murray told him to continue using the delivery service.
Lopez also told the court that, at no time during their business transactions did Murray disclose that he was Michael Jackson's physician, nor did he disclose the identities of any of his patients.
Testimony continues with Murray's girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez (pictured), who appeared to be caught in a lie by the prosecution. In a January preliminary hearing, Alvarez testified she received a fax of Murray's contract for providing medical services to Jackson. In that hearing, she said she noticed that the contract stipulated Murray would be paid $150,000.
In today's testimony, when asked about the same contract, she said she couldn't remember how much Murray was to be paid.
Alvarez confirmed that she currently lives with Murray, and that he pays her rent, approximately $2,500 a month. The two have a son, Murray's seventh and youngest child, together.
Alvarez also recalled speaking to Murray briefly on the day of June 25., 2009, as Murray accompanied Jackson in the ambulance en route to the UCLA hospital.
"I remember him telling me that he was on the way to the hospital in the ambulance with Mr. Jackson and for me not to be alarmed. He knew that I would be worried because I would learn about this through the news," Alvarez testified.
Alvarez has also testified about meeting and starting a relationship with Murray, about her boyfriend arranging a surprise meeting with Michael Jackson and about her current career, as an actress.
"As an actor, your instrument is yourself," Alvarez told the prosecution when asked specifics about her employment.
She said she saw Jackson on several occasions after she gave birth to Murray's child, and that Jackson was "interested" in the baby and wanted to schedule visits to see the baby.
TV coverage of the trial includes the frequent mention of the "parade of girlfriends" that has made up today's witness lineup so far, and TMZ.com suggests Alvarez's acting skills have been on full display on the witness stand.
Court proceedings started about 30 minutes late this morning because of transportation issues caused by a rare bit of Los Angeles rain.
Day six testimony began with witness Stacey Ruggles, Conrad Murray's personal assistant since 1997. Ruggles was called by the prosecution to testify about talking to her boss on the phone on the day of Michael Jackson's death.
Next up, prosecutors called one-time Murray girlfriends Michelle Bella, a Las Vegas exotic dancer, and Sade Anding, a Houston cocktail waitress, to the stand. Both also testified they'd talked to Murray in the hours leading up to Jackson's death.
An hour into testimony the prosecution has already called its fourth witness of the day, Nicole Alvarez (pictured), the mother of Murray's seventh child. Alvarez' address was also used by Murray to receive shipments of propofol he'd ordered to administer to Jackson.
Alvarez just giddily testified about meeting Michael Jackson, a surprise that was arranged by Murray, and confirmed that she is currently living with Murray.
Day six of Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial gets underway today in Los Angeles, with Dr. Murray's former girlfriends on the list of potential witnesses.
CNN.com reports that, despite Judge Michael Pastor's insistence that neither Michael Jackson nor Conrad Murray's personal lives should take center stage, the prosecution will call three of Murray's girlfriends to the witness stand.
Prosecutors reportedly believe the womens' testimonies are key to proving their assertion that Murray did not provide the kind of attentive care a patient requires when using a powerful drug like propofol, which killed Jackson.
Bridgette Morgan, one of Murray's female friends, was the last witness on the stand yesterday, and is expected to begin proceedings today. She testified in a January preliminary hearing that she spoke to Murray on the phone about 30 minutes before Michael Jackson's medical emergency began on June 25, 2009.
Meanwhile, Nicole Alvarez, the mother of Murray's youngest child, is expected to testify that her Santa Monica address was used to receive shipments of propofol Murray had ordered for Jackson. Houston cocktail waitress Sade Anding is expected to testify she was on a phone call with Murray shortly before Jackson died.
Anding testified during a preliminary hearing in January that she had been talking to Murray when he suddenly stopped responding to her. "I didn't hear him on the phone anymore," Anding said. "I heard commotion as if the phone was in a pocket and I heard coughing, and I heard a mumbling of voices."
Prosecutors believe this may have been the moment when Murray first realized Jackson had stopped breathing, and it fits into their timeline of how Jackson's death unfolded.
The coroner ruled Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication," and that sedatives were also a factor. Prosecutors contend Murray is criminally liable for Jackson's death because he recklessly administered the propofol and was negligent in properly monitoring Jackson during his use of the surgical anesthetic.
In courtroom testimony on Monday, emergency room doctor Richelle Cooper, who officially pronounced Jackson dead, said Murray had not informed her that Jackson was taking propofol.
But she also said the information wouldn't have changed the outcome, because Jackson "had died long before" arriving at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on June 25, 2009.
Her ER colleague, Dr. Thao Nguyen, testified that Murray had pleaded with the ER staff not to give up on trying to resuscitate Jackson. The doctors placed a balloon pump in Jackson's aorta, but were unable to restart his heart.
"It's not a case of too little, too late, but a case of too late," Nguyen said.
The trial is expected to last at least four more weeks.
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