March 24, 2010 / 3:14 AM / 10 years ago

Michael Jackson's doctor faces license suspension

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California’s attorney general asked a court on Tuesday to bar Michael Jackson’s former doctor, Conrad Murray, from practicing medicine while he faces charges in connection with the pop star’s death.

Conrad Murray, the late Michael Jackson's personal physician, sits in court during his arraignment at the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Branch Courthouse February 8, 2010, on one count of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death. REUTERS/Mark Boster/Pool

Jerry Brown filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the California Medical Board asking that a judge restrict the medical license of Murray, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges, as a condition of his bail.

Murray was attending to Jackson, 50, before his sudden death last June 25 and police say he has admitted to investigators that he gave the singer the drug propofol to help him sleep. The powerful anesthetic is typically used on patients undergoing surgery.

“(The) Defendant is alleged to have administered a lethal dose of propofol and other powerful drugs to patient M.J., which resulted in the patient’s death,” Brown said in the 12-page court filing.

“The exercise of such poor professional judgment and placing the life of a patient in jeopardy requires that the (California Medical) Board take measures to protect the public from future harm.”

Murray, a cardiologist who was hired last May to care for Jackson as the entertainer prepared for a series of comeback concerts, has pleaded not guilty. He is free on $75,000 bail and faces four years in prison if convicted.

Murray has been the focus of a police probe since the Los Angeles coroner’s office ruled Jackson’s death was a homicide, caused by propofol and the sedative lorazepam.

Toxicology tests following an autopsy also found painkillers, sedatives and a stimulant in Jackson’s body.

Murray and his legal defense team have insisted he did nothing wrong and Murray told police he was not the first doctor to give Jackson propofol to help him sleep.

Last month, a judge rejected a request by Los Angeles prosecutors to suspend Murray’s license but ordered him not to use anesthesia on his patients.

Brown, a former California governor who announced on March 2 he would seek the Democratic nomination for the governorship, has waged a campaign against doctors who over-prescribe drugs.

Among the cases his office has investigated are the February 2007 death of former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith, 39, of a prescription drug overdose.

Smith’s longtime companion, Howard Stern, and two doctors have been ordered to stand trial in connection with that case, which was brought by Los Angeles prosecutors.

Brown has said his office will also investigate the March 12 death of 38-year-old actor Corey Haim, apparently of a prescription drug overdose.

Editing by Peter Cooney

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