LOS ANGELES - The manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's personal doctor began Tuesday with a shocking photo of the singer's dead body and an eerie recording his voice slurring through a purported propofol haze.
The prosecution picture projected in the courtroom showed Jackson's lifeless body on a hospital gurney under the powerful heading "Homicide."
The almost incoherent recording, also presented by prosecutors, was retrieved from defendant Dr. Conrad Murray's iPhone with a time stamp of May 10, 2009 - about a month before Jackson died from an overdose of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol on June 25.
"When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go,'" Jackson is heard saying in painfully slow, clearly intoxicated speech.
"I'm taking that money, a million children, children's hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson's Children's Hospital," the labored voice from beyond the grave continued.
"This voice recording documents Michael Jackson highly under the influence of unknown agents," prosecutor David Walgren told jurors during his opening statement.
"(It documents) Conrad Murray's knowledge of what he is doing to Michael Jackson," Walgren said before hammering the Houston cardiologist for his "extreme deviations" from medical standards.
Walgren said Murray pumped Jackson with propofol as part of a lethal cocktail of drugs then abandoned the singer to make calls and return emails the morning of June 25, 2009.
He said Murray did not have the proper equipment to administer the dangerous anesthetic, waited 25 minutes to call 911 when he noticed Jackson wasn't breathing and "deceived" paramedics and emergency room doctors by not telling them about the propofol when "specifically asked."
In short, he said Murray failed to act like a doctor, and his negligence caused Jackson's death.
"Conrad Murray, with his eyes on an anticipated $150,000 (per month) lucrative contract, instead agreed to provide Michael massive amounts of propofol on a regular basis in complete disregard of all acceptable standards of medical care," Walgren said.
Jackson's famous sister Janet Jackson, his parents and several other siblings filled the downtown courtroom for the first day of the long-awaited trial.
The entertainer's three children were not present, but his eldest son and daughter could be called during the trial since they witnessed some of the chaotic resuscitation attempt.
Murray, 58, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and faces up to four years in prison and a likely loss of his medical license if convicted.
His defense lawyer started his opening statement saying Jackson was responsible for his own death.
Ed Chernoff told jurors that the King of Pop woke during Murray's absence and self-administered enough extra propofol to create a "perfect storm" that killed him "so instantly he didn't even have time to close his eyes."
Murray, who dabbed tears during his lawyer's statements, earlier told investigators that Jackson used propofol for his insomnia - calling it his "milk" - and that he was trying to wean the 136-pound performer from his addiction over a two-month period of nightly doses.
"Good morning! On way to court. Wish all parties involved were on trial. And not just Murray," Jackson's sister LaToya Jackson said on Twitter before walking through the circus of fans outside the courthouse. "This is DEFINITELY A STRAIGHT MURDER TRIAL!!!!"
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