Jury Convict Conrad Murray For Illegal Use of Dr Hibbert Likeness


LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s personal physician has been convicted of using the likeness of Simpsons character Dr Julius Hibbert without express permission.

It has been over two years since Conrad Murray was first charged with criminally replicating the likeness of the jovial family physician.

The jury – made up of one Family Guy fan, six Futurama fans and five South Park fans – deliberated for two days to eventually reach a verdict.

On Monday 7th November, they found Dr Conrad Murray to be guilty of criminally negligent resemblance of a cartoon character.

‘Justice was served today’

Outside the court, fans of the Simpsons were cheering and chanting, “Guilty! Guilty!” in the run-up to the verdict being announced.

Judge Michael Pastor individually asked each jury member for their individual opinion and each member said they found Dr Conrad Murray a spitting image for Dr Hibbert “except for the characteristic chuckle and ability to correctly practise medicine.”

During the six-week trial, 49 witnesses and more than 300 episodes of The Simpsons were presented to the court.

The jury also heard testimony from the voice actor for the character who swore that if his Julius Hibbert were to be created in real life “he would look just like the defendant.”

Explaining his decision, judge Pastor said Dr Murray was now liable for copyright infringement due to the unlicensed use of his likeness for an extended period of time.

He also ordered Dr Murray to “shave his head or something” to avoid further confusion.

It’s widely thought the defence’s case fell apart however when their start witness Dr Steven Shafer mistakenly addressed Dr Conrad Murray as “Dr Hibbert” during questioning.

Practising attorney Diane Parker who had followed the proceedings agreed “the moment when Shafer demonstrated he could not tell the two individuals apart from 12 yards, the trial was effectively over.”

2nd degree copyright infringement

After the verdict, Simpsons creator Matt Groening said he and his team were grateful to finally have closure.

“For years this man has been walking around for years illegally using the likeness of our character and now that crime has been recognised in the eyes of the law.”

With sentencing still to come, Dr Murray’s defense remained unsure about the possibility of a speedy appeal.

“What matters most now is ensuring people can tell Dr. Murray apart from Dr Hibbert,” lead defense lawyer Ed Chernoff said. “That’s what we’re focusing on right now and we’ll deal with an appeal after that.”

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