The attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death, believes that the singer’s crumbling finances resulted in Jackson putting his own life at risk, according to the Associated Press. “The crux of the defense is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death,” Edward Chernoff told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor at a pretrial hearing. “We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs.”

Chernoff requested access to Jackson’s financial records to support his argument, but Pastor denied it, saying, “I’m not going to turn an involuntary manslaughter trial into some kind of an escapade in analysis of the finances in Michael Jackson’s entire life … Right now this is major deep sea fishing.”

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, meanwhile, dismissed the defense’s strategy as a “irrelevant sideshow” and a “smear.”

The trial’s opening arguments are scheduled for May 9.

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