Jackson's doctor released from jail after 2 years
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson was released from jail Monday after serving nearly two years of a four-year sentence.
Conrad Murray was released from a downtown Los Angeles jail at 12:01 a.m., according to the sheriff's office. A change in California law allowed his incarceration time to be significantly cut down.
The former cardiologist was convicted in 2011 of causing Jackson's death in June 2009 by providing the superstar with an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. Jackson was in the midst of preparations for a series of comeback concerts and Murray was serving as his personal physician.
Murray's prospects are uncertain: At age 60 his license to practice medicine has been suspended or revoked in three states and his face and name are well known due to his association with Jackson and his highly publicized involuntary manslaughter trial.
The former doctor is appealing his conviction, although an appeals court has questioned whether it needs to hear the case. His attorney Valerie Wass has argued that the court shouldn't dismiss the appeal because it could alter his overall sentence and reduce some of the stigma his conviction has caused.
Despite being jailed, Murray hasn't been entirely silent. Audio recordings of his calls have been posted on celebrity website TMZ and the ex-doctor told the Today show that he cried tears of joy after a civil jury recently determined that the promoters of Jackson's comeback shows did not negligently hire Murray.
He did not, however, testify in the civil case or take the stand during his criminal trial.
Murray previously maintained clinics in Houston and Las Vegas and frequently complained about conditions in jail after his conviction. He was allowed to serve his entire sentence in a Los Angeles jail rather than a state prison due to a law aimed at easing overcrowding by shifting nonviolent offenders to local lockups.
"Dr. Murray has not received any special treatment in jail and in fact has many less privileges than most inmates because of his notoriety," Wass said in a statement earlier this year. She said he "is very much looking forward to his release and getting on with his life. However, the fact of his incarceration is increasingly difficult for him."
Jurors in a lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live LLC determined that the doctor was not unfit or incompetent to serve as Jackson's tour doctor earlier this month. The panel heard testimony about Jackson and Murray's relationship throughout the five-month trial, but the panel said it did not condone the physician's conduct.
"That doesn't mean we felt he was ethical," jury foreman Gregg Barden said of Murray after the AEG Live verdict.
No doctor or medical expert has condoned Murray's treatments of Jackson during either the ex-doctor's criminal case or the civil litigation. The former cardiologist told police he gave the superstar nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep but lacked the proper medical or monitoring equipment that's required to administer anesthesia.
Although widely used, propofol is intended only for surgical settings and experts have noted that its effects are not actually sleep.
NY To Judge: Unseal Documents On '71 Attica Riot
by Jaired Crofut
New York's attorney general has asked a state judge to unseal documents about the 1971 riot and retaking of Attica state prison, the nation's bloodiest inmate rebellion.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the court in Wyoming County to open hundreds of detailed pages about the five September days when inmates took control of the maximum-security prison in rural western New York until state troopers and guards stormed the facility.
Schneiderman says it's time to bring transparency to what he referred to as one of state government's darkest chapters. The sealed documents are part of a 1975 report by a special commission that examined New York's efforts to investigate the riot and its aftermath.
In all, 11 staff and 32 inmates died — all but four shot by authorities.
Macy's joins Barneys in NYC 'shop-and-frisk' scandal
New York civil rights leaders on Saturday decried the city's brewing "shop-and-frisk" scandal, in which major retailers Barneys and Macy's are accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items.
Also on Saturday, rap star Shawn "Jay Z" Carter defended his partnership with Barneys after coming under pressure to cut ties with the company.
"We've gone from stop-and-frisk to shop-and-frisk," said the Reverend Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, alluding to a police crime-fighting tactic that critics say amounts to racial profiling.
A representative of Sharpton's group is set to meet next week with Mark Lee, the chief executive of Barneys New York, following allegations from two black shoppers that they were detained by New York police and accused of fraud after buying luxury items at Barneys.
In a third such allegation this week, actor Rob Brown of HBO's "Treme" told New York's Daily News on Friday he had been "paraded" through a Midtown Manhattan Macy's in handcuffs in June, and held for an hour, after purchasing a $1,350 gold Movado watch for his mother.
Brown said he came forward after reading news accounts of others who had similar experiences at Barneys.
He told the newspaper he "implored" police to check his ID, but "they kept telling me, 'Your card is fake. You're going to jail.'"
Retailer Barneys New York publicly apologized this week, and Macy's Inc said late on Friday it was investigating Brown's allegations.
Police officials have said that grand larceny - which includes shoplifting and credit card fraud - are top priorities in Midtown Manhattan's busy retail districts. An NYPD spokesman was not immediately available to comment on Saturday.
Grand larceny accounts for more than 75 percent of all crime in the precincts that cover the two retailers, according to New York Police Department crime statistics.
Brooklyn nursing student Kayla Phillips, 21, said this week she was surrounded by four undercover police officers in February after leaving Barneys with a $2,500 Celine handbag she had purchased. She plans to sue, said her lawyer, Kareem Vessup.
Trayon Christian, 19, said he was detained for two hours and questioned by New York police in April after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys.
Christian filed a lawsuit against the store and the NYPD this week, court records show. Brown filed a similar lawsuit against Macy's on Friday, according to the Daily News.
Neither Brown nor his attorney returned calls for comment on Saturday.
'WHY AM I BEING DEMONIZED?'
Barneys posted an apology on its Facebook page late on Thursday and said it was hiring civil rights attorney Michael Yaki of San Francisco, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to review the store's practices and procedures.
At a weekly gathering of his National Action Network headquarters on Saturday, Sharpton said racially profiling shoppers was intolerable.
"We are not going to live in a town where our money is considered suspect and everybody else's money is respected," he said.
Jay Z has a forthcoming collection of holiday items to be offered at Barneys, including a watch designed by Swiss firm Hublot that according to media reports would sell for $33,900.
A petition at the website Change.org has gathered over 13,000 signatures from people calling on him to end his partnership with Barneys because of the profiling scandal.
Jay Z said in a statement posted on his website on Saturday he was "not making a dime" from the collection and that instead 25 percent of all sales would go to his charitable foundation to help fund the education of disadvantaged students.
"Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?" he said.
He added that "making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project" would not hurt Barneys or himself but "all the people that stand a chance at higher education."
In 2005, Macy's paid $600,000 to settle similar allegations that many of the chain's New York stores had targeted blacks and Latinos for particular scrutiny of theft, according to the New York Attorney General's office.
Grand larceny has risen 31.6 percent over the past two years in the NYPD's Midtown North precinct, which includes Macy's flagship store in Herald Square. It is up nearly 4 percent in the Upper East Side's 19th precinct, which includes Barneys New York.