After listening to a parade of paramedics, cops, doctors and members of Michael Jackson’s home staff, court followers Friday heard Nicole Alvarez describe her extramarital relationship with Dr. Conrad Murray, the 57-year-old cardiologist who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the superstar singer.
For all the potential fireworks that testimony from Murray’s paramour, who followed brief appearances from the doctor's former girlfriends Sade Anding and Bridgette Morgan, might have set off, Alvarez’s questioning by Deputy D.A. Deborah Brazil was mild stuff. This could be attributed to Brazil declining to ask Alvarez anything about possible phone messages she may have received from Murray (pictured right, with Alvarez and their son) while he was at Jackson’s Holmby Hills mansion on June 25, 2009, the day the singer died.
Earlier Brazil had asked Anding about a call the former Houston cocktail waitress said she received from him that day – at about the time prosecutors allege Michael Jackson was dying.
“He told me it’s Conrad Murray,” Anding recalled about the beginning of that call, before Murray abruptly stopped talking to her. “He wasn’t on the phone no more,” Anding said. “There was commotion – I heard noise as though the phone was in his pocket. I heard coughing and mumbling. It went on about five minutes. I called and called and texted him and never heard back.”
In the case of Alvarez, Brazil was seemingly more interested in several packages that had been FedExed to Murray at her address from Applied Pharmacy Services LLC of Las Vegas. After showing Alvarez the first of the shipping receipts, Brazil asked her if it was her signature that appeared in the acceptance box.
“It could very well be,” Alvarez said cautiously. “It looks like my signature.”
“Did you look at who sent it?” Brazil asked.
“No.,” replied Alvarez. “I may have glanced at it. Yes, that’s fair to say.”
Otherwise, Brazil mostly focused her questions on Alvarez's living arrangements with the married Murray who, the 29-year old testified, would spend about two weeks out of every month at her Santa Monica apartment.
Friday was the fourth day of testimony in what is expected to be two weeks of a preliminary hearing that will determine whether Murray stands trial for involuntary manslaughter. The doctor faces a four-year maximum sentence if convicted at trial.
Jackson’s parents, Katherine and Joe, along with other family members, were in court to hear Alavarez, who wore a tight-fitting, textured skirt with matching bolero jacket, give her testimony in Department 107 of the Criminal Courts Building in downtown L.A.
The wire-waisted Alvarez told the court she met Murray in 2005 at the Las Vegas “gentleman’s club” where she was employed. Alvarez, who has a 22-month old son with Murray, has been described in media reports as a stripper, but Judge Michael Pastor wouldn’t allow prosecutors to ask details of Alvarez’s job description.
Alvarez seemed to have only a hazy memory of the past five years and proved to be a reluctant witness, with Brazil having to drag out the most basic facts from her. When asked how long after their first meeting her friendship with Murray became intimate, she replied, in a barely perceptible lisp, “Quite some time had passed. I can’t recall exactly how much.”
She denied, incredibly, ever asking Murray about his job as Jackson’s personal physician, claiming his duties in Holmby Hills “was something to which I was not privy.”
According to Alvarez, Murray’s Los Angeles schedule left little room for conversation outside of his professional and personal routines.
“Most times he returned [from Jackson’s] in the morning – 7, 8, 9 or 10 o’clock,” Alvarez said. “Sometimes he’d relax, maybe go to the gym, get something to eat and go to sleep. Most of the time he’d sleep for the large majority of the day.”
Murray, nevertheless, managed to father a son with Alvarez, while paying her $2,500 a month rent. (She claimed that in early 2009 was she was working as an actress and didn’t need Murray’s financial assistance.)
Even here, Alvarez, who gave birth to the couple's child in March 2009, claimed to know few details about her own pregnancy
Brazil: When did you learn you were pregnant?
Alvarez: I was maybe one month pregnant when I learned. If you give me a calendar I can backtrack.
Near the end of her testimony, Alvarez told Brazil that Murray is currently staying with her, although Brazil did not ask if they were still engaged in a relationship.
Murray’s lawyers declined to cross-exam Alvarez.
The hearing resumes Jan. 10 at 10 a.m.