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Conrad Murray Seeks Bail: Michael Jackson's Doctor Requests Release During Appeals Process

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Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, seeks bail as he appeals to overturn his conviction.
Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, seeks bail as he appeals to overturn his conviction.

LOS ANGELES — A judge who presided over the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor refused Friday to release him on bail, saying he would be a danger to any community where he might try to practice medicine.

Conrad Murray's lawyer asked for his release pending appeal of his involuntary manslaughter conviction, but Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said he saw little chance that Murray would prevail in getting his case overturned.

Pastor made it clear that his view of Murray had not softened since he gave him a tongue-lashing and the maximum four-year sentence in the superstar's death. He suggested Murray hurt his own chances for freedom in a documentary interview broadcast after the trial saying use of the powerful anesthetic propofol in the home was appropriate.

Jackson died in 2009 of an overdose of the drug that Murray administered in his bedroom as a treatment for insomnia. Expert witnesses testified they never heard of anyone administering the drug outside a hospital.

"I didn't tell Dr. Murray to give an interview for a documentary," the judge said. "When he did, I listened to it and saw it and I was concerned about his attitude toward the use of propofol in the home. ... What he believes scares me."

Pastor also believes Murray, who was born and raised in the Caribbean, would pose a flight risk if he leaves jail. He said the doctor could go to a foreign country that might allow him to practice medicine, and anyone encountering him as a patient would be in danger.

"He was raised in Trinidad and has seven children by five women in different parts of the country, which does not reflect well on his stability," Deputy District Attorney David Walgren argued during the hearing.

Defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan petitioned for Murray to be released on bail, his own recognizance or under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet. He and appellate attorney Valerie Wass said Murray should be free during his appeal.

The judge, however, said the defense has not shown there is any substantial legal question likely to result in reversal of the verdict.

"No trial is perfect," the judge said, but nothing cited by Flanagan rises to the level of legal error.

Flanagan and Wass said the appeal issues would include Pastor's refusal to sequester the jury and his decision to allow broadcast of the trial. Pastor said he is confident those rulings and others were legally sound.

He also said he would not reconsider the bail request in the future.

"This is my last statement on this matter," he said.

Under current sentencing guidelines, Murray is likely to serve about half of his four-year term.

Outside court, Flanagan said Murray had lost at least 30 pounds since he went to jail Nov. 7. He said he is held in a single, five-by-eight foot cell with few chances to exercise or go outside.

Murray is considered a high-risk prisoner because of his notoriety.

Wass said she visited Murray and found him in remarkably good spirits.

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