LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors want to show images of Michael Jackson dead and alive at the upcoming manslaughter trial of the superstar’s doctor, hoping to contradict defense claims that Jackson was unhealthy or depressed and took his own life.
If their motions filed Tuesday are granted, the jury will see a singing, dancing Jackson in excerpts from the concert movie “This Is It.”
They also will see Jackson’s body on an autopsy table after his death from an overdose of propofol and other sedatives.
Defense attorneys have suggested that Jackson, in desperate financial straits, felt he could not carry out his European concerts unless he could overcome intense insomnia. They say he was so desperate for sleep that he overdosed himself on the anesthetic propofol while his doctor was out of the room.
But prosecutors said the autopsy pictures would corroborate the medical examiner’s testimony that Jackson, although thin, was in good health.
And scenes from “This Is It”, recorded during rehearsals for his planned concert tour, show an active, energetic Jackson engaged in his performance just days before his death, said David Walgren and Deborah Brazil, deputy district attorneys.
“These video clips are completely at odds with someone who, as the defense has claimed, would recklessly take his own life just hours after the last clip was filmed,” said the prosecution motion.
Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty and the search for a jury to judge him resumes May 4. Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor is to rule on pretrial motions Thursday.
“This Is It,” which was compiled from weeks of rehearsal footage, was released as a commercial film after Jackson’s death.
Defense attorneys have moved to bar the autopsy pictures from being shown, saying they will inflame the passions of the jury.
The prosecution motion said the photos will help the jury understand medical testimony.
“Moreover, the photographs of Michael Jackson are not gory or gruesome, lessening any potential for prejudice,” the motion said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.