Michael Jackson's children told a Los Angeles court today that they lost their "father, best friend, and playmate" when the singer died, but stressed they were not seeking "revenge."
The children were not present in the courtroom and their statement was read by lawyer and Jackson family friend Brian Panish before Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray was sentenced for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.
The statement asked the judge to "impose a sentence that reminds physicians they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder."
Other members of the Jackson family were present, including Jackson's mother Katherine, his sister LaToya and brothers Jermaine and Randy. The statement was read by Panish on behalf of the entire Jackson family.
"As Michael's parents, we never imagined we would live to witness his passing," Panish read, on behalf of his parents Katherine and Joe Jackson. "There is no way to describe the loss of our beloved brother, son, father and friend."
Judge Michael Pastor began the proceeding by rejecting a motion by Dr. Conrad Murray that cameras be evicted from the courtroom during his sentencing.
The district attorney asked for the maximum sentence of four years as well as $100 million -- the singer's projected earnings from the 50-show "This Is It" tour -- payable to the Jackson estate. The prosecution also asked Murray to pay $1.8 million in costs associated with Jackson's memorial service and funeral.
Lawyers for Murray, who has no previous criminal record, will ask that he received a minimum sentence of probation.
Prosecutors painted Murray as a callous physician who knew he was doing wrong by administering the powerful sedative propofol to Jackson, and then took pains to hide the drug when Jackson died.
"The defendant [Murray] acted as a drug dealer and completely corrupted the trust necessary in a proper doctor-patient relationship," a prosecution memo stated.
Murray's attorneys filed a 45-page memo asking that the judge "impose a sentence of probation with substantial community service," taking into account that the doctor has no criminal record, will most likely never practice medicine again and has already been publicly disgraced.
The defense memo highlighted Murray's humble beginnings in Trinidad and stressed his dedication to the medical profession and his love for his family, including his seven children, which has been "strained close to the breaking point." Along with it, the defense provided 56 pages of letters from Murray's former patients, family members and ministers.
The doctor was found responsible for the pop singer's death on June 25, 2009, after he had injected Jackson with propofol, a sedative Jackson had requested to help him sleep during his grueling rehearsals for an upcoming summer 50-show tour.
Lisa Franklin, who was a juror, told Good Morning America that it was clear Murray did not having the necessary safeguards in place when things went wrong.
"The three biggest things for us were the 911 call, not calling 911. That was a big issue, and not having the medical equipment in the room to put somebody under sedation and leaving the room," Franklin said.
"I told them to be prepared for probation," Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman told ABCNews.com before the sentence was handed down.
Brain Oxman, the Jackson family attorney, said the clan has experienced a "whole mixture of terrible emotions." Originally, the family, including matriarch Katherine Jackson, wanted the book thrown at Murray. Now, post-conviction, Katherine and daughter La Toya are saying, "It doesn't change anything," Oxman said.
"He's been serving his sentence since June 25, and it's more powerful than anything the judge can do to him," said Oxman, who first met Murray in UCLA's emergency room where doctors tried but failed to revive Jackson. "I saw a man who's life completely flashed before him. I don't see him as a cold, calculating killer. He did some horribly dumb things."
- Conrad Murray
- Jackson family
- Michael Jackson