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Michael Jackson Committed Suicide, Implies Murray Defense

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In a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, Edward Chernoff, a defense lawyer for Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray, said the singer "was so anguished about his deteriorating finances in his final days that he took desperate actions that caused his own death," reports the Associated Press via Billboard.

"Murray's lawyers suggest that Jackson, who was desperate for sleep, gave himself an additional dose of propofol while Murray was in a restroom. A coroner's report showed the singer died of an overdose of propofol and an assortment of other sedatives. Defense lawyers never used the word suicide and implied his death was accidental but self-inflicted. They seemed poised to argue that Jackson was about to embark on an extremely strenuous concert tour because it was the only way to save himself financially."

The defense is being accused of trying to distract from the central issue of the trial -- whether Dr. Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, acted with "gross negligence" on the day of Jackson's death in administering the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives.

Said District Attorney David Walgren, "This is an irrelevant sideshow designed to take issues away from the jury and smear Michael has nothing to do with the case on which Dr. Murray is being prosecuted," notes the AP.

Howard Weitzman, the attorney representing Michael Jackson's estate, opposed Chernoff's bid to see Jackson's financial records to prove this theory. L.A. Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor refused to grant the request however Weitzman was ordered to confer with defense on financial records that are currently accessible and public.

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"I'm not going to turn an involuntary manslaughter trial into some kind of an escapade in analysis of the finances in Michael Jackson's entire life," Pastor said. "Right now this is major deep sea fishing."

Prospective juror screening continues on Thursday with written questionnaires. Jury selection is set to move into open court on May 4. Opening statements are expected May 9.