Although we’re still almost two weeks away from Conrad Murray’s sentencing, I just read a great post by white-collar criminal defense attorney Charles Kreindler that makes a very salient point: We all have a constitutional right not to speak to police who are investigating a potential crime, but just because you think you have nothing to hide doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise that right.
Murray put his defense in a bind by [speaking] to the police just days after Michael Jackson’s death. Rather than invoking his right to shut up (also known as asserting his 5th Amendment rights), Murray admitted to investigators that he repeatedly injected Jackson with the drug Propofol the very day he died. The immediate effect of those admissions was to give the investigators the information they needed to get a search warrant, even before receiving the autopsy results. And the long term effect of the admissions was to lock Murray into a story (and timeline) that he could never recover from.
We don’t know whether the outcome of the trial would’ve been different or not, but as Kreindler pointed out, Murray’s decision to open his pie-hole made it a lot easier for the prosecution to prove its case.
Perhaps even worse than Murray’s ill-advised decision to speak to investigators in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death was his decision to let a film crew make a documentary about him, which MSNBC aired during primetime last Friday. The documentary, Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship showed behind-the-scenes footage of Murray meeting privately with his defense team during the trial, making derogatory statements about Michael Jackson, and making personal statements such as: “I don’t feel guilty, because I did not do anything wrong.“
According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Marisa Guthrie, more than half a million people tuned in to watch it. In case you’re wondering, Murray doesn’t win a prize because a lot people tuned in; in fact, it could have the opposite effect. One of the key factors judges consider in determining sentencing is the defendant’s remorse, and whether they are likely to commit another crime. Although it’s unlikely that Murray will commit another similar crime — since he has about a zero percent chance of keeping his medical license — given what Murray said in the film, it’s unlikely that Judge Michael Pastor will be sympathetic.