LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California court on Monday assigned a judge to preside over the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor on an involuntary manslaughter charge relating to the pop singer’s death last year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, named as the judge in the trial, set a June 14 date to determine when to hold a preliminary hearing in the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, who has pleaded not guilty.
At the June 14 hearing, Pastor also is expected to rule on a request by California’s attorney general to suspend Murray’s medical license. Murray, who resides in Las Vegas and Houston, is a cardiologist, and his lawyers have argued that if he were to lose his California license, Nevada and Texas may follow.
The preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence against Murray to proceed to a criminal trial.
Fans of Jackson waved signs and chanted slogans outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. Several Jackson family members appeared in the courtroom, including his mother and father and his sister Janet Jackson.
Murray was charged on February 8 with involuntary manslaughter related to Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of prescription drugs, principally the anesthetic propofol. By charging him with involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors asserted that the doctor killed Jackson but without malice.
Murray, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, was hired in May 2009 to care for Jackson as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Will Dunham