Deborah Brazil David B. WalgrenLos Angeles county Los Angeles County
District Attorney's Office District Attorney's Office
In the pressure cooker of a trial under TV lights and with a mob of music fans outside the courthouse, Brazil and Walgren scored a major prosecution victory in one of the most closely watched criminal cases of the year. The jury's conviction of Dr. Conrad Murray of involuntary manslaughter in the drug death of the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, came after 49 witnesses and 23 days of trial spread over six weeks. More than 2,200 reporters from around the world obtained credentials to cover the proceedings - more than for the O. J. Simpson and Scott Peterson murder trials, combined.
The scientific challenges of the trial required the prosecutors to become experts in anesthesiology and the proper use of the drug propofol, which was found at high levels in Jackson's system after his death. Propofol is commonly used during surgery, but Murray administered it as an at-home sedative for Jackson.
During the trial, Walgren questioned most of the prosecution's 33 witnesses. He also handled both the opening statement and closing argument.
Though both Brazil and Walgren have significant experience with homicide cases, a death from propofol toxicity was unknown to them and to the coroner's office. Lead trial lawyer Walgren focused on the science, presenting a clear picture to jurors that Murray had been infusing Jackson with propofol nightly for weeks to help him sleep, even though the doctor was not well trained in its use and failed to monitor Jackson once the drug was administered. Brazil presented witnesses at trial and helped to devise the county's legal strategy.
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