Michael Jackson suicide suggested 0
Dr. Conrad Murray (right) confers with his lawyer Edward Chernoff in a Los Angeles courtroom January 25, 2011. (Reuters)
Michael Jackson may have committed suicide over his financial woes, according to lawyers representing the pop superstar's former physician Dr. Conrad Murray.
The sensational claims were made during a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday.
Defence lawyer Ed Chernoff insisted his client, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, was not responsible for the singer's death in 2009.
Instead, Jackson was so upset about the state of his finances he took his own life.
Dr. Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death, has asked to see the late star's financial records to prove his case.
He told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, "The crux of the defence is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death. We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs."
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren has opposed the idea, insisting the defence is simply staging "an irrelevant sideshow" aimed at distracting the jury from the key issue of the trial - the prosecutors have accused Murray of acting with gross negligence and administering the anaesthetic which killed Jackson.
Attorney Howard Weitzman, who was representing the late pop star's estate in court, has opposed the request for financial records. The judge refused to grant the request, calling it "major deep sea fishing".