Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the Michael Jackson death, returned to court Monday. A judge is deciding whether he can practice medicine as he awaits trial.
The legal case against Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with singer Michael Jackson when he died June 25 in Los Angeles, moves back into the spotlight this week with a preliminary hearing to formally decide whether Dr. Murray must face trial.
Legal experts across the United States say they will be watching the case not only to see if Murray can get a fair trial amid the media frenzy, but also to see what impact this will have on doctors for wealthy clients who will pay huge sums of money to get the drugs they want.
"Doctors and pharmacists across California are going to be watching this very, very carefully for signals about how to deal with rich celebrities who are willing to pay any price to get prescription drugs,” says Elizabeth Kelly, a criminal attorney in Cleveland.
For some, it could be a wake-up call. “Celebrity doctors will be reminded of the paramount need to protect their client’s long-term medical situation as opposed to their [own] short-term career medical goals,” says Ron Washburn, professor of Legal Studies at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter, which, with a conviction, carries a sentence of as many as four years in prison.