Murray lawyer misses contempt hearing

2011-11-16 10:13

Los Angeles - A lawyer who appeared on television to defend Michael Jackson's doctor during his manslaughter trial failed to show up on Tuesday for a possible contempt of court hearing.

Attorney Matthew Alford was reprimanded by the trial judge in September after he went on NBC's Today show and challenged evidence given by prosecution witnesses against Dr Conrad Murray. The incident led the judge to impose a gag order on all parties for the remainder of the six-week trial.

Alford, who works for the law firm headed by Murray's lead attorney, left a message for the Los Angeles judge saying he was involved in a trial in Houston, Texas. The Los Angeles judge postponed the contempt hearing until November 29.

Propofol expert

Murray was convicted last week of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Jackson and will be sentenced on November 29. He could face up to four years in prison.

One of the key defence witnesses, propofol expert Dr Paul White, is facing a court hearing on Wednesday also for possible contempt of court.

White was chastised during the trial for making disparaging comments about the prosecution's expert on the powerful anaesthetic that was deemed the cause of Jackson's death. White was also scolded for repeatedly introducing information in his testimony based on private conversations with Murray.

White could face a fine of $1 000 at Wednesday's contempt hearing.