tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC November 7, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
referendum on medical practice, medical malpractice, and referendum on pharmaceutical drug utilization, and certainly sections of our culture, if not across the board. how much do you think this verdict will ripple through those three levels, martin? >> i think jami was referring to on my broadcast just now -- it's yours, actually, but the overwhelming, the overriding issue here is about the ease of access to medication that people can get. i come from a country in europe -- i'm sorry to make a point about this -- >> your accent gives it away. >> where we have a national health service. you can't order drugs in this way. you can't ring a doctor and say, can you give me a prescription? it doesn't work like that. you can't be a celebrity and pay huge sums of money in that way to acquire medication. we're talking about a doctor who received gallons of propofol, and these were sent to his girlfriend's apartment. they didn't even go to his doctor's office. i mean, come on! >> elaborate on that, jami. really, probably the biggest
issue here is the ease with which powerful individuals can acquire illicit materials, whether it's -- >> actually, i've got to say something. in referencing your book, it's not ease, it's greed. because these people can make vast amounts of money if they pay individuals. >> the doctors -- >> no, the individuals who demand these kinds of medications. you can persuade a doctor. look at this doctor. he was earning $150,000 a month. >> of compensation from michael. but you're saying because michael jackson's business was so profitable, that he could uniquely offer a physician 150 gs a month to do whatever he wanted. >> during the proceedings, wasn't there a question about the suitability of dr. murray. and aeg, the concert promoter was told that mr. jackson had a report with conrad murray. i'll tell you what the report was. it was $150,000 a month. >> and that conrad murray would
say yes. the question is -- >> for $150,000 a month. >> toure and i were talking about this before we came on live, would you be able to find a doctor who would say yes? and conrad murray certainly should have said no. now, there's a question of whether that's criminal culpability or whether we should be in civil court, and we'll find out in a moment. but the larger issue -- >> the larger issue -- >> the legacy of michael jackson, because we can get mired in the details of this case, but the larger question is why is there always a doctor who says yes? if you didn't have conrad murray, it seems you would have some other doctor, and conrad murray was not the only doctor involved in michael jackson's life, clearly, there have been many, for many years -- >> nor is michael jackson the only musician who has requested assistance in the medical profession -- >> or actors. look at all the actors. >> to what you're saying, the $150,000, there is amount of celebrity and power that michael jackson has, to when he leans on
you and says, this is what i want, and you say yes. how often do we go into the hospital and say to the doctor and say, i can't sleep, i'm in pain, i need this, i need that, and the doctor says, no, you don't need that. because the doctor is in the in the hospital, this is my area, and doctors are extremely powerful, they often play god, for better or for worse, and they say, no, you don't need that. >> martin's whole point is that you can't do that -- only in america, with the private system that we have -- >> this goes to the culpability of aeg in all of this. they were the concert promotion corporation, corporation that set up this whole gig. they were all shipping out to london right after michael jackson died. >> but conrad murray should say no here for the better health of him for the long-term. >> go ahead. >> but money's the name of the game in the u.s. you can't single out a concert promoter. you could point your fingers at the nba -- >> why not? why not? >> because they're just in it for the profit. and they're not responsible for everybody they're bringing to
the table and earning it. their conduct beforehand -- >> go ahead, martin. >> i'm sorry to be deferential to you, dylan, but you say in your book," greedy bastard$!" repeatedly, that the effect of the incentive culture leads people to do criminal things. and they did it on wall street, and they brought the economy down. we know the human disposition is disposed to do such a thing. you have to have safeguards. and this doctor had very very, few. >> but that gets to the question dylan was asking us before we came on live. is conrad murray being scapegoated here by decisions made by aeg and others? >> i think conrad murray could argue that he's operating within a system, as john kelly says. he broke no laws. and there was the huge presence of this super star. this star international, super
star. >> but isn't this at the end of the day yet another indication of the dehumanization of people into product? that effectively, that michael jackson seized to be a human being -- >> a long time ago. >> -- dazed ago. and that michael jackson, as you see with professional athletes, that are human beings, who get turned into an economic commodity, where the actual health and well-being of the human being is at the bottom of the list, other than can he/she perform. >> well, there's absolutely that, and in this way that michael jackson being looked at by all these people as a racehorse, and hoping that the horse can do as fast as he can, to do 50 dates in london, that is a super human amount of dates. but it's also the deitycation. >> and also you've been super
human since you were a little kid, so you can deal with everything. so we don't give you a normal sedative to go to sleep, we give you propofol! >> because you're superman. >> we need a doctor on this panel. >> martin just did the interview, and it was absurd. go ahead. >> you can't -- i think you're overreaching when you blame the concert promoter. for every entertainer that makes a bad choice, one makes a good choice. >> fair enough. the point is -- >> there are good ones and there are bad once. >> which goes to your point, when you first started speaking in this conversation, martin, is only in a culture that allows -- that doesn't have the safeguards to prevent the abuse of power can you prevent the abuse of power. that this type of abuse of power will happen as long as it's possible to abuse it. >> it's an interesting phenomenon. michael jackson conceived three children. his last child, blanket, was conceived with a woman that i don't know who she is and we don't know any of the details --
let me get to the point i'm trying to make. >> i had a fact, but we'll assume -- >> okay. in the uk, there's sympathetome called the human embryology and identification authority. you cannot conceive a child outside the authority of that body. in this country, you can conceive a child any way you like. you can get someone's semen, an egg, and stick it in a -- >> so what are you saying, jami? >> i don't want understand the point. >> the point i'm making is, that it is almost like a zoo. the medical regulations in this country don't seem to apply from conception to controlling pain in the bedroom. >> those with power and money
can change it. >> and to your point about money and the commodification of personal relationships, which you talk about in your book. here's what happens. if there is no higher authority that you're answerable to, guess what you answer to? that's what you answer to. >> yep. >> yep what? >> well, he's answering to money. >> who is? >> conrad murray. that i'm getting, $150,000 a month. how can i say no to this man? so he loses his power as a doctor -- >> to tell you, no, i'm not giving you those pills. >> jami, correct me, because i love it when you do so. >> i didn't want to correct you, because i was curious about the initial statement you made about michael jackson conceiving the the issue. >> i was merely making the point that -- disregard that it was jackson. i was merely making the point that even in conceiving human life in this country, it is possible to do it without any kind of medical organization overseeing the conception of a life. >> so you don't disagree, then,
with john's point, that conrad murray perhaps should be in this court of law, but that perhaps others should too? >> absolutely no doubt. and if those proceedings, we heard about other doctors who were prescribing copious amounts -- >> sure. >> -- of lethal dosages of drugs to that individual. >> but is there not a culture of making accessible doctors who will prescribe painkillers and whatever else it may be, that is part of the dr. feelgood culture that is part of the success in music. not that every band has a dr. feelgood, but that this is a cultural phenomenon that's been existing for decades, that has -- >> i don't think michael jackson was feeling so good. that was his problem. >> the other thing, i think you're absolutely right in that you don't even know it when you said it, but it's the music industry. it's entertainment. martin, i don't think it's a u.s. issue and not present in the uk or something like that. to tweak you a little bit, i
think if michael jackson was over in the uk, there's the same amount of money involved -- >> sure. >> he could find a doctor that would maybe take one more step, but he'd get his propofol. so it's either, sort of when there's the need for it and there's the will and the way, they're going to get it. >> you keep bringing up the dr. feelgood analogy, which is a little different. because when you take illegal drugs, which a lot of bands do -- >> and a lot of americans do, by the way, pharmaceutical drug abuse is on the rise. >> -- in the music industry -- >> which is where it starts, but i'm not looking to keep it there, because it doesn't stay there. >> when you're taking illegal drugs, you know you're taking that walk on the wild side and do that for a particular reason. but when you bring a doctor into your home to give you a legal drug so that you can go to sleep, i think you expect that he's going to take care of you so that it's not going to go wrong. >> here's where that argument falls down for me -- >> i'm jumping in on that too. >> there are a litany of sleeping medications that are available if you need to sleep. propofol, by all accounts, is
not one of them. >> oh, well, negligence, absolutely. >> who knows if it's negligence. if i'm in my home and i bring in a doctor and i say, listen, i need to sleep, and the doctor says, oh, i'm going to give you propofol, that is not a sleeping aid. that is a surgical level anesthetic that will annihilate my consciousness for hours to come. so to suggest that there's some genuine sincerity in the architecture of michael jackson's need to sleep, with all due respect, when you've got the propofol -- >> oh, yeah. >> is there any chance, john, that dr. murray does not get found guilty in this particular verdict? >> yes. >> you're looking at short level -- if you look at the deliberation duration, nine hours of deliberation. the trial itself took six weeks. i know that one of the things that people like you and jami are able to do certainly better than me is to read between the tea leaves or deliberation time and duration to get an indication. >> sure. whether you're one of the
parties involved or one of the attorneys involved, you always hope you're on the right side of one of these things, but you always fear you're on the wrong side, as a surprise too. if you had to ask me, it's guilty based on the course of the trial, the length of deliberations, and what they've heard. but -- >> who knows? jami? >> i'm going with not guilty, and i'll tell you why. there's the intervening actor and the intervening actor here is michael jackson. the reasonable doubt is conrad murray did a lot of bad things. conrad murray was not a good doctor, but this is not a civil trial. clearly, michael jackson was a drug addict and who knows what he took that conrad murray was unaware of? reasonable doubt, not guilty. >> i would -- i have been thinking, since i saw the close, that it was going to be guilty on involuntary manslaughter, because the issue. >> and an excellent closing argument. >> excellent closing argument by the prosecution. >> yeah, by the prosecution. >> not by the defense. >> that was one of the best prosecution closings i've ever seen. >> absolutely.
so then just in terms of quality of lawyering, you would have to say, probably guilty. i don't think the jury's going to conclude that michael jackson killed himself or wanted to die or was negligent himself. conrad murray is negligent. so they're going to -- and also, the other thing that you can't factor out of the thing, there's a bunch of michael jackson fans on that jury. i've heard as high a number as six. >> guilty or not guilty, we can't get it out of him yet. >> which way? >> i want to hear! >> but toure, the defense to involuntary manslaughter, because does it require any intent, is any intervening causal factor, because the prosecution has to prove causation. and any intervening cause, including something done by the victim, that we might not know about when conrad murray stepped out of the room to call one of his many ladies' friends or go to the men's room. that's a jump. >> i want to bring another voice into the conversation. mark geragos is a trial attorney who defended michael jackson during the molestation trial. and mr. geragos, we thank you for joining the conversation
this afternoon. what perspective do you feel that you have on truly the relationship, the matrix of relationships between the family, the doctor, and obviously michael jackson himself? >> well, i don't know what perspective i have on that. i mean, i defended michael during the early stages of the case. one of my associates is on the defense team, so i have kind of conflicted emotions about this. my suspicion is that at least when they got past friday afternoon, which is kind of the bewitching hour for juries, that maybe it was going to be a hung jury. i thought the best the defense could hope for in this case is a hung jury. i don't think it bodes well for the defense that there's a verdict early on monday morning. >> is there any precedent on this that exists. john, i'll get to you in just a second. but mr. geragos, is there any
precedent in this that goes forward and in any direction? >> i've had cases cutting both ways. i had a case where i defended susan mcdougal. they came back on monday morning and acquitted her. and they said one of the reasons they didn't come back right away, they didn't want people to think that -- >> and just so you know, you can see the live shot inside the courtroom right now. the jurors have begun to enter the courtroom, which for those who have watched a bit of court tv or court coverage in general know that the arrival of the jury is obviously indicative of the imminence of the verdict. we have not heard as to whether dr. murray i'm sorry is there, but you can see the judge is, again -- >> this is the case of people versus conrad robert murray. dr. murray is present in court with counsel. mr. chernoff, mr. flanagan, mr. gorgian. the people by counsel, mr.
walgren and mrs. brazil. all alternates are present and are all regular members of the jury are present. good afternoon. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, i'm advised that the jury has reached a verdict. who is the foreperson of the verdict? >> i am, your honor. >> jury number three, thank you, your honor. is that correct? >> yes, it is. >> the jury has reached a verdict? >> yes, has the jury and foreperson signed the appropriate form? >> yes. >> do you have all the forms with you? >> yes. >> can you provide the verdict forms to deputy jones, who will then present them to me? thank you. the court has reviewed the verdict form. and ladies and gentlemen, there was a typo in terms of the date of the alleged incident. it was written june 9th, 2009,
and jury number three, you have corrected that to june 25th. you put a 2-5 and you put some squigglies after that? >> yes, sir. >> i've reviewed the verdict form, which now i will pass to mrs. benson, the court clerk. mrs. benson will publish the verdict. >> superior court of california, los angeles county. the people of the state of california plaintiff versus conrad robert murray, defendant. case number sa-073164. title of court in cause. we, the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, conrad robert murray, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of penal code section 192, subsection "b."
alleged victim, michael joseph jackson, alleged date of june 25th, 2009, as charged in count one of the information, this 7th day of november, 2011. foreperson juror i.d. number 145, seat number three. is this your verdict? is this your individual and personal verdict? so say you one, so say you all? >> yes. >> all jurors indicate in the affirmative. ladies and gentlemen, i'm going to ask you, whether this is your individual and personal verdict. i'm going to be asking you individually if this is correct. if it is your individual and personal verdict, say yes. if it is not your individual and personal verdict, say no. is this your individual and personal verdict, juror one? >> yes, sir. >> juror two? >> yes, sir. >> juror three? >> yes. >> juror four? >> yes, sir. >> juror five? >> yes. >> juror six? >> yes. >> juror seven?
>> yes. >> juror eight? >> yes. >> juror nine? >> yes. >> juror ten? >> yes, sir. >> juror number 11? >> yes. >> juror 12? >> yes, sir. >> all jurors have indicated in the affirmative, the court clerk will record the verdict. mr. walgren? >> yes, your honor. >> mr. chernoff? >> yes. >> thank you. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, i will now read to you final instructions upon discharge of jurors. you now have completed your jury service on this case. on behalf of all of the employees of the los angeles superior court and the parties in this case, and others involved in this case, please accept my thanks for your time and effort. throughout this trial, i have admonished each of you not to discuss anything about this case, with anyone other than a fellow juror during deliberations in the jury room. that order is lifted and vacated. which means that from now on,
you have the absolute right, either to discuss or not to discuss anything about this case with anyone else. if you want to talk about the case, that decision is appropriate. if you do not want to talk about this case, the decision is appropriate. the decision is yours and yours alone. i repeat, the decision is yours and yours alone. i remind you that under california law, you must wait at least 90 days before negotiating or agreeing to accept any payment or benefit in exchange for providing any information about the case. let me advise you of some rules. the law puts in place for your convenience and protection. the lawyers in this case, the defendant or their representatives now may talk to
you about the case, including your deliberations or verdict. those discussions must occur at a reasonable time and place and only with your consent. please immediately report to the court any unreasonable contact made without your consent by the lawyers in this case, the defendant, or their representatives. a lawyer, defendant, or representative who violates these rules, violates a court order and may be fined. i hereby order that the court's record of personal juror identifying information, including names, addresses, and telephone numbers be sealed until further order of this court. if in the future the court is asked to decide whether this information will be released, notice will be sent to any juror whose information is involved. you may oppose the release of this information -- >> guilty is the verdict for dr. conrad murray. kristen dahlgren outside the
courtroom where michael jackson's fans in a celebration of sorts. kristen, what is the reaction? >> reporter: hi, dylan. an absolutely huge cheer went up as word filtered through the crowd that dr. conrad murray has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of michael jackson. we heard people cheering. they're dancing. there was even music. michael jackson music being played at one point. cars have been driving by, honking their honors. so a celebration of sorts, as you said, for the people here, many who have believed all along that dr. murray has been responsible for the pop icon's death. they've been out here, many of them throughout the trial, showing their support for michael jackson and the jackson family. and today many of them saying justice has been done in this case. meantime, inside the courtroom, a very different scene there. dr. murray showing very little emotion when that verdict was
read. staring straight ahead. when the jury was polled, he did look at them, but again shown little emotion as he had through much of this trial. >> thank you, kristen. mark geragos with still with us, as is toure, martin bashir, john kelly, and jami floyd. mark, your initial thoughts? >> i expected if there was a verdict, it would be guilty. i thought the best the defense could hope for would be a hung jury. i think the suspense right now is whether or not judge pastor remands conrad murray into custody immediately or allows him to remain on bail until sentence. if he remands him, i think you can pretty much expect or bet that he's going to get a four-year state prison sentence, although there is all kinds of nuances to that given realignment in california. >> and specifically, just on the nitty-gritty, a recent california prison realignment bill basically says that he would have to serve this in county jail because of prison overcrowding in california. is that right? >> that's exactly right.
as of october 1st, we have a sea change here in california. realignment means that this will be what is called a county jail felony, and the most he would do would be two years and it's really up to the sheriff to determine how much of that time he'd do. >> your thoughts, jami? >> that's exactly right. the situation, talk about big issues. the situation in california with overcrowding is a huge, big issue. the supreme court's even weighed in on that, as mark points out. >> and if you look at -- this is a totally different subject, but if you look at the systemic incarceration, particularly of young black men in california for minor drug offenses, the irony, and it's a tragic irony -- >> you're talking about conrad murray -- >> you're talking about the drug overdose of michael jackson, you're talking about incarcerating this doctor, potentially now -- >> in county jail. >> -- in a state that now holds -- i won't say the record -- that has such a political issue, toure, with incarceration of young black men, specifically relative to
drug offenses, typically minor drug offenses, and now the sort of comeuppance of all of this is that conrad murray, who will now potentially, potentially, get no prison time here. but may potentially, if he does do any time, do it in county jail because of prison overcrowding in california! hold on one second, mark. go ahead, toure. >> i want to touch on a different aspect of what i just saw, a rather disgusting part of the celebrity courtroom circus that we see. these people cheering? what are you cheering? maybe they feel it was justice, but there are no winners here. there is no cheer. nothing to be happy about. a man is dead. he's not coming back. another man's life is ruined. maybe he did that to himself, conrad murray. but there's nothing to cheer. this is not a victory for michael jackson or the memory of michael jackson. >> it's such an interesting cultural moment. this is not the first time we've
seen a piece of information like that to be responded to as this emotion as if someone just won the super bowl. >> don't you have to wonder how many of those same people were standing outside the michael jackson courthouse in 2005 with the signs wanting michael jackson to be convicted? >> there's a bigger issue here -- >> or -- >> no, no, if you go to another network that i will not name, some of the very same people who are today at this very moment cheering this conviction, i was on the air with those same people wanting michael jackson's conviction -- >> but there's a bigger issue -- >> they're very confused out there with their signs and celebrations, on the -- as you say, wrongly and wrongheadly confused about our criminal justice system and what it stands for. >> but isn't there a bigger issue with michael jackson, which is the cultural of reality television, that has become all of this, that people want to form a crowd in los angeles, to have a party on a monday afternoon, while, meanwhile, we're -- this show, for
instance, was going to be dedicated to greece. the jon corzine leverage scenarios -- >> who? >> but instead, this type of cop tent truly sucks up everything. and in the process, we resolve nothing, whether it's in our banking system, health care system, or anything else. >> let's be clear that a major trial of notoriety like this is pure blood sport. i mean, just the -- there's no -- >> there's nothing rationale abo about it. >> you either win or lose. people love the sport of it. they love to see conrad murray taken away in handcuffs. >> mark geragos, is this really just, then, another version of rome and bread and circuses? so that while we don't address anything in this country, from -- and we won't even get into the list of horrors, from the poverty rate to the educational system, on and on and on, that instead we seek out
this sort of lurid entertainment? >> it's kind of woven into our history, i guess, unfortunately. and i couldn't have said it better than jami did. some of those same people that you see cheering right now are the same people who were cheering for a guilty verdict up in santa maria. it's disgusting. >> toure, go ahead. >> well, there's a culture of revenge that's going on here. we want to see this man go down! we want to see blood spilled for the blood of michael jackson. i mean, like, it's just this sort of angry thing. and nothing is solved. >> why? why do we do this? over and over again. >> but isn't the answer why, martin, is that the absence of a mechanism to truly, with compassion among men and women, to resolve our issues, whether it's the issues of drug abuse that were at the root of this, whether it's the issues of celebrity, which are underneath that, or whether it's the issues that we never want to talk about, like the 50 to 1 leverage
at jon corzine and greece and an economy the size of dallas, texas, to take down western finance because it's idiotic, that we simply lack the political courage and the political compassion and resolve and the media courage and the media compassion and resolve to address these issues. and the fact of the matter is, this is the cheapest, most profitable content in america today. >> you are hinting at your spiritual inclinations. you're really looking for some kind of reach upwards that points at principle, that points at real genuine values and ethics. and this trial, i think we can safely say now, having heard a verdict, a unanimous verdict, all 12 members of the jury stout and true, they all regarded this doctor as utterly criminally negligent. a man who kept not a single principle, that he had as an oath, as a doctor. and i ask you, dylan, if you
can't trust your doctor, who can you trust? >> i mean, quickly. >> there's a mean going around twitter last week, 1% problems. you know, there's no shotime in my ritz room, you know -- >> champagne problems. >> my $150,000 a month doctor didn't take care of me when he was giving my propofol so i could sleep. >> yeah. >> 1%er problems. >> we take a break. the panel stays. we're back after this. >> the defendant, conrad robert murray, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter. in america, we believe in a future
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pa pastor has complete discretion to determine the sentence with recommendations from the prosecution and defense. those are some of the options the judge will be considering. the panel is stay with us. the one thing we did not talk about was the complete and utter lack of emotion from dr. murray during the verdict. >> he was stoney faced. there wasn't even a blink or a flutter of the eyelashes. he just heard it and i almost wondered whether he was really listening, because there was absolutely no reaction to what is an horrendous -- >> i've got to think that he expected it. that he was bracing personally for the worst and expecting this guilty verdict. and i think most of us, at this table, expected it to be guilty. you know, the world around him sort of maybe said, like, oh, this doesn't look good. >> i predicted the acquittal, but, yeah. ever the defense -- you can call
me out, brother. >> joining us -- no, go ahead. >> i just want to say, and i say this as a matter of opinion, lest i get sued, because i know if it's opinion, i can't be. as a former criminal defense attorney, i know a lot of defendants often take medication before the verdict comes in, because they just have to take it. this is a case that was largely about medication. >> you mean like a valium? >> yeah, yeah. >> would you prefer your the defense -- >> i'm not saying the defense attorney recommends it, i'm just saying -- he looked medicated to me. and there's evidence of a rising addiction rate amongst criminal defense -- >> this is all pure conjecture. >> i notice john is quite. >> are you prepared to not go home? >> you always say that, even if you think the case is going your way. >> you almost always tell your client, it doesn't look good, brace yourself. >> you're going down. >> you're going down. and there's no downside, because if there's an acquittal, no one's going to remember what you
said ahead of time. so you really steel the client for that adverse verdict. >> so it's like tell me every day, we're canceling -- they're going to cancel your tv show. and then i go on tv and i'm like, my goodness, i still have a tv show! it's fantastic! >> seriously, though, dylan, i can't forget l.a. county deputy district attorney david walgren in his final summing up, as he said, and i'm quoting him, "you don't give propofol in a bedroom. what's unusual is that michael jackson lived as long as he did under the care of conrad murray." >> dr. howard nearman, an expert anesthesiologist at the case medical center in cleveland, did you just hear what martin bashir was reading? >> yes, i did. totally agree. >> do you agree with that? >> totally agree. again, as we've said, it's a very powerful drug and given too much can cause people not to breathe. and the very fact that he got away with it for how many days,
it is amazing. >> two months. >> two months. if you were to look at the earlier criticism of both power, fame, the private drug industry, if you will, the private medical profession, what is your view on power and money's ability to distort medical practice and a medical ethics, not only in america, but really anywhere in the world? >> well, we're all human. we all have issues. and you know, money does corrupt. people have power, they have money. as we've said, these drugs aren't illegal to other doctors. how they use them is, again, of -- is the question here. and when they use drugs that they're really not familiar with or trained to use and they do it because they've been corrupted with money, we have a problem. >> and if this country was serious -- forget michael jackson for a second. if america was serious, and the american government, the american health regulators, the
american state regulators, up and down the stack. if america was serious about ending the ability for prescription drugs to exist well in excess of their intended use, whether it's xanax, oxycontin, all the abused prescription drugs that exist in america today, if regulators were serious about ending that, how would they show that and could they do it? >> you know, i wish i had the solution to that. there's no question this goes on every day, you know, it's not propofol, but it is painkillers and other medications. and people have drug-seeking behavior. they know they can get it, they know so place down the line, no matter how many good doctors will say no, there'll be somebody down the line that says yes if there's enough money involved. >> is there anything the regulators could do? and does it help to see a guilty verdict for somebody like dr. murray as a disincentive to other physicians? >> i certainly think it does.
and there are things regulators can do. they can get better databases so instead of going shopping from one pharmacy to another to get more drugs, these things can be tied in. i think there's some thought to doing that now, but it isn't complete. if they start to get better databases to find out how many people are going to which different medication store, pharmacies to get it, or to different doctors, doctor shopping, all that stuff has got to shop. >> the database is the way you do that. in other words, the ability for regulators to know which prescriptions are tied to which physician anywhere in the world would seem to be extra to that. >> correct. >> go ahead, martin? >> i just wanted to mention to you, dylan, not to interrupt, is that it looks as though dr. conrad murray has been remanded into custody now. he has been cuffed and is in the courtroom even as we speak. we were talking earlier, jami, about whether that was likely to happen and you were unsure of that? >> yeah, well, now that he's been convicted, i'm not surprised that he's being remanded. the question that dylan raised
earlier of the four years in county jail, not prison, is what he rains. and i guess we had a bit of a agreement with mark geragos. mark seems to think that he'll get the full four years. i'm not so sure that he will, given the prison crowding issue. it's fascinating what the doctor says about this question of regulating the prescription drug -- >> well, if our government was serious about making it harder for doctors and patients to exhibit behavior that i would argue that the conrad murray/michael jackson behavior is one of the more extreme iterations you could conceive of, one of the most wealthy, most famous men in the world paying $150,000 a month to get this, to the point, to the conversation we were just having with the doctor, there is a culture that is permissive around basically excess prescriptions, which is something that it would seem something could be done about, if, in fact, our government was aggressive in trying to deal with that. am i wrong? >> it seems that every single
month, we open the paper and there is some, this is not even talking about the ordinary citizen that you don't read about or hear about. there is some celebrity, clearly not of the level of michael jackson, because no one is, but someone has died from a prescription drug overdose or the interaction of prescription drugs. they get one drug from one doctor, one drug from the other. they interact. we all say, isn't it a shame? can't we do something about this? what about the pharmaceutical companies? what about the pharmacies? what about the doctors. then we go on about our business until the next month when we read about the next death. >> doctor, if i were to say, take advantage of the privilege of my position as a member of the national media to begin to ask more aggressive questions of health care regulators, who is it that i would want to talk to and what would i want to ask them? >> i think you need to talk to the legislators of each state, because this is mostly a state-run type of issue. and say we need to have better laws to get better database.
and we need to have stricter penalties. we need to know that doctors cannot get away with just pill mills, essentially. where anybody who comes in has got some money, they'll write a prescription for. we've got to stop doctor shopping and stop pharmacist shopping. and we need to make penalties so people understand that there's a price to pay. >> just two things, dylan. >> quickly. >> we're learning that the cour1 that are the ones that are the most accessible to this type of behavior. is there a way that you could simply identify by physician the
prescription rate, the top 5%, let's say, of all prescription issuances and simply start by looking in places like that? >> i think that's an excellent suggestion. there's no question that we have the ability, the technological ability to find out how many prescriptions each physician writes, what types of prescription they're writing for, and again, we don't have to say you're guilty, but we say, let's review your practices. why are you using so much of oxycontin, and how many patients do you see a day? >> which they did in the jackson cl case. they looked at arnie klein, were able to look at the number of scrips he wrote to michael jackson for demerol. he said, it wasn't me, just my office. but you can track it. >> if we're serious about breaking this problem, john, there are things that we can be doing, but we are not doing. >> absolutely. >> and i always said, for different reasons, that this was a selective prosecution of dr. murray, but it serves a very
good purpose, just like barry bonds and steroids. it cleans up the athletic industry. this makes all these doctors aware of the perils of prescribing drugs to -- >> there's just one problem, john, and that is that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest in terms of payments to lawmakers in this country. >> and it does -- >> -- a vast amount -- you know better than i do. >> and it seems this all started with the deregulation of the pharmaceuticals, doesn't it? >> let's get back to a legal issue, question for you guys. conrad murray did not testify on his own behalf. >> no, he did not. >> which generally says to a jury and to the court of public opinion that you are guilty and you cannot defend yourself. is that a fair thing to say. do you think that's part of this verdict? >> i'm going to let john take it. i have very strong things about it, john. >> no. the reason this case that conrad murray did not testify is he had made his two-hour statement to
law enforcement right afterwards and he couldn't go back on that. >> two days after michael jackson's death. >> but i think more importantly, no, juries listen to the instructions. they're well prepped before the trial even starts that the defendant has the absolutely right not to testify, and jurors honor that every day. you never hear a jury come out saying, if we had heard him the testify, the result would have been different. that's sort of a cornerstone, a touchstone of our criminal justice system and that's one thing jurors abide by. >> let me take a commercial break. back right after this. [ coughs ] what is this shorty? uh, tissues sir, i'm sick. you don't cough, you don't show defeat. give me your war face! raaah! [ male announcer ] halls. a pep talk in every drop. see? he's taking his vitamins. new one a day vitacraves plus omega-3 dha
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ings dr. howard nearman is still with us from cleveland, says is toure, martin bashir, james kelly, and jami floyd. >> i wonder if dr. conrad murray could have gotten a fair trial in anywhere in america. because from the beginning of this story, he was already the villain in the michael jackson death story. and you couldn't have had a jury that wasn't poisoned anywhere in america, especially in california, where he surely had a lot of fans. and i was shocked to find that there were any michael jackson fans on the jury, but how could you find 12 people in america who were not michael jackson fans. that would be impossible to find.
>> i agree with everything that toure has said this afternoon. i think that one of the things you need to recognize, which is slightly unusual with the case of michael jackson, is that many of his fans regard him of messiahannic. they don't see him as the wonderful composer, music impresario. they seem him has god. and if you tough michael jackson, you are persona non grata for the rest of your life. conrad murray was facing that in addition to his own negligence. >> that's not necessarily a bad thing. the legacy, the story of michael jackson builds on that, the child star who becomes a young adult star, who becomes the biggest star in the world. >> yng there's anybody in the
world who couldn't give credit for "off the wall" as an album and "thriller" for being two of the greatest albums ever produced by a modern musical -- >> but that doesn't mean he has to be dehumanized and turned into -- >> i think all of that is true, but i really, really liked and respected what dylan had to say earlier about the way we turn human beings into products in our culture. it has to do with the commodification of human beings in a consumerist culture. and michael jackson has got to be the best example of that. my father, actually, went to high school with joe jackson. in my house, you can't say anything about joe jackson, michael jackson, any of the jackson clan. but i have real questions about what happened to that young man, how he was turned into a product. and i think it teaches some really important lessons to us, not just about michael jackson, but about the way we treat athletes in this country, the way we treat other pop stars. and especially, when they own the product themselves, what does that do to the psychological of a person? especially if they start that way as a young person. one other thing, the only thing i want to say, i know we're
tight on time, i don't think we can get a fair trial when the victim is a celebrity. but these celebrity cases aren't representative of our criminal justice system. the system works in most cases, i worry about the presumption of guilty in these kinds of cases, but i do believe our system works in most cases, john. >> stipawrip away the personali this verdict will shatter the music world. >> and to that end, what will be heard? >> well, i think what's going to be heard is that you just can't get away with doing stuff like this. you can't be bought. you can't do the wrong thing for patients. and we feed to tighten up the way that we handle drugs, the way we give them out to patients, and we need to weed out the doctors that really aren't practicing very good medicine. >> which is about a database and about 3% to 5% of that database would be worthy of asking a few more questions, and probably less than, you know, 1% of that would actually be wrongdoing, i suspect.
>> absolutely. i think you're absolutely right. >> dr. nearman, thank you. toure, thank you so much. martin, a more, thank. john, jami, thanks to the four of you as well for making my understanding of this and i think our audience's understanding of this better than it would have otherwise been for sure, considering the news of the day. thank you, guys. joining us now is msnbc's al sharpton who delivered the eulogy at michael jackson's memorial service. reverend, this, in its own way, is yet another completion of the story, or yet another chapter in the story of michael jackson's life and death. how do you put today's events in the context of the funeral itself and the career that preceded it? >> well, i think, clearly, me being someone that was friendly with michael and having talked to family members, and i'll be talking at length about it tonight on our show at 6:00. i think that a lot of people that are on the side of dr. murray and think he didn't get a fair trial, i think that i will be arguing about whether or not they were fair to michael.
i think that if michael jackson had not been michael jackson and a doctor did what this doctor did, he would have probably gotten more than this conviction. i think at best, this is a down payment on justice. and i want to debate some of those on the other side on my show tonight. i think that we keep acting as though a victim, even one that is inflicting things on himself, therefore becomes the the blame and a doctor can take highway robbery money to ignore his responsibilities, ignore his oath, and do whatever he wants to do and get paid handsomely for it. that's what the trial was about. the trial was not about the character or the opinions of michael jackson, it was about a doctor getting $150,000 a month and did he break the law sk? and this jury said he did. >> and to that end, we mentioned this with dr. nearman a moment ago, the argument that this verdict is a shot heard around the world for the mental
profession in general that may be attracted to propositions like the one offered up in the case of dr. murray, such that there's more of an inhibition or a disincentive, and that there's a stricter sense of the need to enforce hippocratic oath among all doctors, regardless of what the situation is. do you share that view? >> i do. i do agree with the doctor and i hope it does send that shot, dylan. because with all of this about dr. murray and the good he did and his medical centers in houston and all of that, he closed all that down to get $150,000 a month, and he didn't take care of the patient, this jury has found. so you can try the patient, you can try to dig up all of these whacko-jacko stories all you want. michael jackson and my patient has the right to be protected by the doctor, and doctors do not have the right to bend the rules, break the rules, and then turn around and ask for mercy when something fatal happens. >> which goes to the political
conversation about the undue influence both the medical profession itself and, for that matter, the drug industry, specifically, has in our government, such that the thresholds that we could be demanding from our doctors, in terms of data disclosure, in terms of prescription rate, in terms of a consolidated database, that would reveal to us the 1, 2, 3% of the medical profession that is prescribing, but we can't even get a look at that. and yet we're forced into situations that create all this theater around the tragic victim of michael jackson, which sort of forces the conversation, but doesn't actually give us resolution. you get justice for dr. murray, but you don't get justice or accountability for so many in the medical profession who may be perpetrating similar abuses this to this day. >> and those in the industry that make money off of making sure that they find people that they can corrupt that will enable people in their weaknesses. that's why i said, this is a down payment.
this goes into the whole culture of exploiting people, treating them like their property, and then blaming them when they're no longer of use to you. and we're really going to deal with this. i hope that it will open up a lot more than just a fire, shooting a fire -- firing a shot that's heard around the medical world. i hope it's heard around the entertainment world, the sports world. we shouldn't let it lay here. and we should go from here in michael's name and say, let's talk about all of it. including the weaknesses of some of the artists and athletes, but they should not be exploited, certainly by those who have taken an oath. >> and for that matter, the dehumanization of everybody involved to suggest that because of the economic viability of a performer like michael jackson, because of the economic viability of a performer that may exist in the athletic, universal, or elsewhere, there is a willingness to de-value the humanity of that person and abuse that person in a way that no other human being would tolerate. >> absolutely. it's almost like, because you
have a weakness and because the world perceives you as strange or weird, i have the right to exploit you. that's really what they're saying here. and that is not a right, and that should be stopped and should be punished. >> at the same time, as long as performers, athletes, and others consider their entire identity, their entire reason for being. and i'm not suggesting this was michael jackson's case. i didn't know him, i don't have any point of reference, but as long as our performers and our athletes' entire identity is based exclusively on their ability to perform, they, too, then have the incentive to demand desperately the assistance, so that they can perform, because the suggestion is if they do not perform, that they are not, in some ways a valid person. >> that's right. and that's true. but i think that the facts in this case is that it's like if someone says to someone, well, i am on drugs, and i need the
drugs that you can provide for me illegally in order to do what i do, and then you sell them illegal drugs, you provide them illegal drugs, and then when the person overdoses, your defense is, well, they were a junkie. that has nothing to do with you selling illegal drugs. and i think that the media confused who is on trial here, but i think you're raising a broader issue that we need to really look into. and that is a degree that a lot of people go to the try to live up to the phenomenon and to this kind of image that they have projected, that they can't do on their own. the question is, when people cross the line criminally to help them do that. >> that is it. and i know that you'll be taking it up at 6:00 sharp. al, thank you so much for your time this afternoon. again, catch full coverage of the verdict that came out this afternoon in the michael jackson trial. not only with al sharpton but chris matthews as well, which
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