*Michael Jackson’s doctor pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death as the case moved rapidly toward a trial that will likely be televised, reports the Associated Press.
“Your honor, I am an innocent man,” Dr. Conrad Murray told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor in a soft voice. “I definitely plead not guilty.” [Scroll down to watch.]
Lawyers for Murray, who is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and other sedatives, said they would be ready to go to trial within the 60-day statutory time limit, which would make for an unusually speedy trial.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the prosecution would be ready to go as well for the trial he estimated would last six weeks. The judge scheduled the trial to begin March 28 and set a pretrial hearing for Feb. 7.
“Dr. Murray is looking forward to finally telling his side of the story,” defense attorney Ed Chernoff said outside court.
Pastor said he was inclined to allow television coverage of the trial and will hear attorneys’ views on that and other issues at a Feb. 7 hearing. District attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said outside court that her office has a policy of not opposing cameras in court. Cameras were allowed at the hearing Tuesday for the first time, marking a shift in Pastor’s previous ban.
If convicted, Murray could face a maximum of four years in prison.