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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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Jackson Bodyguard: “Dr Murray Made Me Hide Prince Albums”

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.

Crucial evidence

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.

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