LOS ANGELES – A trial has heard that Michael Jackson’s bodyguard was told by Dr Conrad Murray to hide a stash of Prince albums before calling police to help the dying star.
Alberto Alvarez described a scene in which Conrad Murray left the room, returning soon after with several CDs belonging to the eclectic musician and instructed Alvarez to “put these in the bag”.
The court heard that Dr Murray spent a full “five to ten minutes” collecting what looked like Prince’s best albums before calling emergency services.
Should Conrad Murray be found to have been a Prince fan, many believe it would prove his guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
What happened in the moments after the singer death is a key pieces of prosecutors’ involuntary manslaughter case against Murray.
Testifying on the third day of the trial, Alberto Alvarez told the jury that he listened to Dr Murray’s instructions and trusted his decisions.
“While I was standing at the foot of the bed, Dr Murray hurried off then came back with an armful of Prince CDs and tapes.”
Mr Alvarez continued: “He [Conrad Murray] then directed me to put the music into a bag next to Michael, and then put that bag inside a second bigger bag.
Alvarez complied, placing a bag containing copies of Purple Rain, Dirty Mind and limited edition copy of 1999 into another bag, and then Murray told him to call 911, Alvarez said.
Looking to defend against ‘preposterous’ allegations, defense attorney Ed Chernoff questioned whether there was really enough time to shield Jackson’s children, survey the room and stow away Prince’s entire body of work in the brief period before emergency responders were called.
The bodyguard insisted there was, telling the attorney, “I’m very efficient, sir.”
Conflict of interest
Alvarez’s testimony allowed the prosecution to present jurors directly with Dr Murray’s recent iTunes purchase history which appeared contain some Prince related material.
Legal experts have said this damning testimony could prove a fatal blow for the defence even at this early stage, as “nobody could like both Prince and Michael equally. It’s one or the other,” according to experienced attorney Gary Soderling.
Dr Murray continues to deny the charge of involuntary manslaughter and insists he has never listened to a Prince song in his life.
The trial continues.