By Jeff Gottlieb
4:26 PM EDT, May 1, 2013
A Los Angeles police homicide detective testified Wednesday that Michael Jackson’s doctor had a two-minute telephone conversation with his girlfriend while he was riding in the ambulance transporting the singer’s body to the hospital.
Testifying in the lawsuit Jackson’s mother and children have brought against entertainment giant AEG, Det. Orlando Martinez said the call to Nicole Alvarez lasted 133 seconds.
Testimony for the day ended just as Martinez appeared about to detail what Murray and his girlfriend were discussing. Jurors were dismissed early Wednesday because a member of the panel had to attend a funeral.
Martinez also testified that when he served a search warrant on the home Alvarez had once shared with Murray in Santa Monica, the only evidence he found that the doctor lived there was a piece of paper with the doctor’s name written on it.
“He was living there and none of his stuff was there,” Martinez said.
Martinez also continued his testimony about Murray’s desperate financial situation. Jackson attorney Brian Panish showed the jury documents showing Murray’s debts, including those for student loans, homeowner association fees, and bills from medical firms and cellphone companies. His Las Vegas home, on which he owed $1.6 million, was in foreclosure.
One 2007 judgment against Murray in Missouri ordered him to pay $135,000. There were also eviction notices for his medical business and liens for being behind on child-support payments.
Under questioning from Panish, Martinez said he had received the information from three credit bureaus.
Through his questioning, Panish appears to be trying to show how easily Anschutz Entertainment Group could have detected Murray’s money problems. The plaintiffs contend that Murray, who they say was hired and controlled by the entertainment firm, was more consumed with the money he was being paid for treating Jackson than his star patient’s actual well-being.
Martinez testified Tuesday that financial distress led him to believe Murray "may break the rules, bend the rules to do whatever he needed to get paid. It might solve his money problems.”
Murray had closed his offices to treat Jackson, his only patient. He was supposed to be paid $150,000 a month.
The detective testified that when he learned of the financial problems, it led him to believe Murray was more concerned with getting himself out of his financial hole than caring for his patient.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for giving Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to help him sleep. He is serving a jail term.
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