Lawyer: Jackson doctor to surrender today
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's doctor planned to seek his day in court today -- whether or not he's been charged in the singer's death.
After waiting all week to face a likely charge of involuntary manslaughter, Dr. Conrad Murray planned to surrender at a Los Angeles courthouse, accompanied by his frustrated legal team.
Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff met Thursday with prosecutor David Walgren and was told to be at an airport-area courthouse at 1:30 p.m., only to have the county sheriff's department, which handles court security, say hours later that it was called off, defense team spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik said Friday.
"What does it take to surrender in L.A.?" Sevcik said. "I feel like Ed should show up in the courthouse with a big white flag."
Sevcik cautioned that the situation could change, but Murray still planned to go to the courthouse at 1:30 p.m. regardless of whether a charge had been filed. If he's not booked or arraigned, he would go back to Texas, where he has a clinic in Houston.
It remained to be seen whether the bizarre spectacle of Murray trying to surrender without a criminal case being filed would come to pass. The legal gamesmanship followed several days of negotiations in which Murray's lawyers tried to arrange with prosecutors for the doctor to surrender for booking and arraignment.
Those plans were derailed by haggling between prosecutors and law enforcement officials over whether the physician should be arrested or allowed to turn himself in.
Jackson's sudden death at 50 while rehearsing for a major comeback concert series led to worldwide mourning and a massive public memorial service, and the probe into what killed him quickly saw detectives hone in on Murray, who told police he gave the singer a powerful anesthetic and other sedatives that were blamed on his death.
Since then, Murray has stayed out of view. His lawyers have spoken very little. And prosecutors and investigators have been tightlipped.
The district attorney's office has declined to comment on when or if Murray would be charged, but Sevcik said prosecutors told Murray on Thursday he'd face one count of involuntary manslaughter.
The doctor maintains nothing that he gave Jackson should have killed him but sees a charge as inevitable, Sevcik said.
"We know he's going to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and we are ready with a counterargument," Sevcik said. "He's not guilty -- that's our argument."
Various factors weighed into the desire to arrest Murray, including the possibility he might flee before arraignment, just as O.J. Simpson did, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press.
Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department, which spent the past seven months investigating Murray, were unhappy with the idea of him surrendering because it could appear Murray he was being given special treatment, according to the official who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
The official said the district attorney's office opposed an early plan for detectives to make the arrest Friday morning.