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Witness says Michael Jackson doctor was caring and thorough, not motivated by money
LOS ANGELES (AP) ' A former patient of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death told jurors Wednesday the physician is caring and not motivated by money.
Gerry Causey, of Cedar City, Utah, was called as the first of five character witnesses by attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray. Causey said Murray treated him for a heart attack 11 years ago, and he remains friends with the cardiologist.
Causey said he was not put to sleep at his request while Murray implanted a stent after fully explaining the procedure to him.
"I know his love, his compassion, his feelings for his patients," Causey said. "He's the best doctor I've ever been to."
Murray, 58, last treated Causey in 2008. Causey said the doctor didn't charge him his deductible for office visits.
"I just don't think he did what he's been accused of," said Causey, who described Murray as his best friend.
Another witness, Dennis Hix of Banning, Calif., said Murray performed a stent procedure for him for free.
Murray agreed to become Jackson's personal physician for $150,000 a month but was never paid because the singer died before the contract was signed.
Prosecutors have contended that Murray was heavily in debt and initially sought $5 million to treat Jackson as he prepared for a series of lucrative comeback concerts.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's June, 25, 2009, death. Authorities contend Murray gave Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the singer's bedroom. Defense attorneys claim the singer gave himself the fatal dose.
Another character witness, Andrew Guest, echoed Causey's comments about Murray's skill and care.
"He makes sure you're OK, during the procedure, after the procedure," said Guest, a locksmith at a casino in Las Vegas. "I'm alive today because of that man."
The flurry of witnesses came as defense attorneys wind down their case, which could conclude Thursday. They previously told a judge that after the character witnesses, they will call two experts to try to counter prosecution experts who said Murray acted recklessly by giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid.
They have already called a doctor and nurse practitioner who treated Jackson but refused his requests to help him obtain either an intravenous sleep aid or propofol.
Murray's attorneys contend Jackson was desperate for sleep so he could rehearse for his comeback shows and gave himself the fatal dose of propofol when his doctor left the room.
They attempted to argue that Jackson would have been indebted to concert promoter AEG Live for nearly $40 million if his shows were canceled, but a judge blocked any mention of the figure to the jury.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.
McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP.