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Conrad Murray trial: Paramedic says Murray never mentioned propofol

Friday, September 30, 2011
Dr. Conrad Murray is seen at his involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. Attorney J. Christopher Smith discusses how the prosecution cited that Murray didnt mention propofol to paramedics. Listen to the phone call between Richard Senneff, the 1st paramedic to reach Michael Jacksons bedroom, and UCLA doctors. Conrad Murray appears in court on the fourth day of his involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. Alberto Alvarez, Michael Jacksons bodyguard, became emotional as his 911 call was played for jurors during Conrad Murrays involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. Jurors heard a frantic voicemail Conrad Murray left for Michael Jacksons personal assistant the day the pop star died. Prosecutors played a recording of a slurred Michael Jackson during opening statements of the Conrad Murray trial.

A paramedic who responded to Michael Jackson's house the day the singer died testified on Friday that Dr. Conrad Murray never mentioned anything about the powerful sedative propofol.

Richard Senneff of the Los Angeles City Fire Department said he asked Murray if the singer had taken any drugs when he arrived on scene.

Get complete coverage of the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"At that point, he said, 'No, he's not taking anything.' And then he followed that up with, 'I just gave him a little bit of Lorazepam,'" Senneff told the court. Lorazepam is a mild sedative.

Senneff said Murray was frantic when they arrived, and he recalled seeing an IV bag and vials of some type of medication in Jackson's room, indicating a sick patient. But Murray told him he was treating him for dehydration and exhaustion.

"Patient was dressed with pajama bottoms, a pajama top, top was open. The patient was wearing a surgical cap or something similar covering his hair, and he appeared to be underweight to me," Senneff said.

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Murray insisted to paramedics that Jackson had a pulse, but Senneff testified that it appeared to him that Jackson had been dead for some time, despite the fact that paramedics were on scene less than 10 minutes after getting the 911 call.

"When I first moved the patient, his skin was very cool to the touch. I took a first glance at him. His eyes were open, they were dry and his pupils were dilated. When I hooked up the EKG machine, it was flat line," Senneff said.

Senneff said paramedics tried for 40 minutes to revive Jackson, but never saw any signs of life.

Paramedic Martin Blount, who was also in Jackson's bedroom, testified that Murray told them the singer was dehydrated, but nothing more.

Both Senneff and Blount said they saw Murray collect medications from the bedroom. But under cross examination, Senneff said Murray's behavior did not appear suspicious.

The prosecution maintains that Jackson died of an overdose of propofol administered by Murray, while the defense contends that Jackson administered the drug to himself.

Earlier in the morning, Nonin Medical executive Robert Johnson testified that the medical device used by Murray to monitor the singer was inadequate for continuous monitoring of patients.

When Jackson died, a fingertip device that monitors pulse and blood oxygen levels was recovered. Murray had used the device on Jackson when giving the King of Pop propofol.

Prosecutors sought to show the court that Murray did not have the proper equipment to give Jackson propofol outside a hospital setting, where it is usually administered.

Johnson testified that the device used on Jackson did not have an audible alarm, so it was not intended for continuous monitoring of any patient. Murray was using an inexpensive model for spot checking, Johnson said.

Murray didn't notice the exact time Jackson stopped breathing.

There was a lot of drama behind the scenes in court, but the jury didn't see it because the incident happened during a sidebar.

Outside the presence of the jury, Judge Michael Pastor imposed a gag order after viewing an interview given by Matthew Alford, who is a partner in the law firm representing Murray.

Pastor learned that Alford made comments on the "Today Show," telling the interviewer that the team was going to poke holes in witness testimony from Thursday.

The prosecution team, which by protocol never comments to the press in an ongoing case, raised the complaint, and Pastor responded by making a sweeping gag order.

"That includes every member of the D.A.'s Office, and that includes every member of the defendant's lawyers offices, paralegals, secretaries, anyone associated with those camps are not in any way, shape or form directly or indirectly to make any comment regarding any aspects of this case, exactly what I tell the jurors," Pastor told lawyers, according to court documents.

The judge has ordered Alford to appear in court on Oct. 15 to see if someone else is to blame for the TV appearance.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Prosecutors allege Murray tried to hide the fact that he had been giving propofol to Jackson.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

The trial is expected to last five weeks, with Oct. 28 being the estimated last day.

View photos from the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray.

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