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Jackson family in court as doctor accused over death

Jackson family in court as doctor accused over death

Jackson family in court to hear testimony accusing doctor of Jackson's murder.

Los Angeles: Jermaine and LaToya Jackson today appeared in court to hear testimony accusing a doctor of killing their pop icon brother Michael by administering an overdose of powerful sedative drugs.

Jackson's mother Katherine also turned up for a pre-trial hearing into the role of Dr Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter over the singer's shock June 2009 death.

His father Joe Jackson, while not here for the start of the expected two-week hearings, was meanwhile cited as dismissing claims that the King of Pop killed himself by self-administering the drugs.

"He's a Jackson. He doesn't think like that. One month before he died he told Katherine THEY were going to kill him for his publishing catalogue," he told the X17online.com celebrity news website, without saying who "they" were.

"He said THEY were going to kill him. Why would he kill himself?" added Joe Jackson, who X17online said was in Las Vegas.

It was unclear whether any of the Jackson family would testify at the hearings in the Los Angeles Superior Court, or simply watch the proceedings.

At the preliminary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor will decide whether there is enough evidence to try Murray, 57, on charges of involuntary manslaughter-essentially, a killing done without malice.

Murray, a cardiologist, is accused of administering a powerful cocktail of sedatives and painkillers to help Jackson sleep. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jackson, the biggest pop star of his generation, died at age 50 from drug-induced respiratory arrest on June 25,2009.

His demise shocked the entertainment world and triggered intense debate over the performer's health in the run up to a series of comeback concerts in London.

first published:January 05, 2011, 11:48 IST