April 1, 2010 / 10:59 PM / 8 years ago

Jackson doctor fights to retain Calif. license

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician charged with involuntary manslaughter in pop star Michael Jackson’s death, filed court papers on Thursday seeking to keep his California medical license.

Murray’s attorneys argue that the doctor could be deprived of an adequate legal team if the state suspends his license and he cannot practice medicine and pay his bills.

“He is, without fear of overstatement, hanging on by a thread,” his attorneys Ed Chernoff and Joseph Low wrote.

Murray, who has offices in Houston and Las Vegas, is not seeing any patients in California. But the cardiologist’s attorneys said he could face the loss of his license in Nevada and Texas if California suspends him and the other states follow suit.

“His ability to pay for his own defense depends almost entirely on his ability to continue to treat patients in Nevada and Texas,” they said.

The filing came in response to a request by California authorities this month to have a judge suspend Murray’s license.

A representative for California Attorney General Jerry Brown could not be reached for comment. His office has sought the suspension under a law that mentions state agencies’ right to “protect the interests of the public.”

Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter in February, and he pleaded not guilty at a court hearing. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Authorities have ruled the main cause of Jackson’s death was an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, and they accuse Murray of providing that drug to the pop star.

Murray is free after posting bail of $75,000, but a judge barred him from giving any patient an anesthetic, or from leaving the United States.

A hearing in the case is set for Monday, when a judge could set a date for a preliminary hearing at which evidence would be presented in open court.

Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, after losing consciousness at a palatial Los Angeles home where Murray was his personal physician. The singer’s 1982 “Thriller” is the world’s best-selling album.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Xavier Briand

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