LOS ANGELES?"Gruesome" photos of Michael Jackson's dead body should not be seen in court as they may unfairly sway jurors, lawyers for the pop icon's doctor said in legal documents released Thursday.
The warning came after doctor Conrad Murray's attorneys renewed their claim that Jackson accidentally killed himself with an overdose of a powerful sedative in June 2009, saying he was desperate due to financial problems.
In the latest documents, released as both sides prepare for the trial starting on May 9, the lawyers argued that jurors seeing the pictures of Jackson's corpse would prejudice the medic's chances of a fair trial.
"These photographs are graphic, gruesome and highly prejudicial," said Murray's lawyers Edward Chernoff and Nareg Gourjian, in a motion filed this week.
"Admission of these photographs to the jurors will jeopardize Dr Murray's right to a fair trial because of the significant risk that the jury will base their decision not on the evidence presented, but on emotional grounds which play no part in a criminal action," they added.
Prosecutors allege that Murray, 58, "abandoned his patient" after administering the sedative propofol to help Jackson sleep, and then tried to cover it up after the singer's death.
Murray acknowledged that he had used propofol, but insisted that on the day of the 50-year-old singer's death he administered only a small amount of the drug that should not have been fatal.
His defense team has suggested that Jackson could have effectively killed himself by administering an extra dose of propofol while Murray was out of the room.
Chernoff reiterated that argument in court on Wednesday, saying: "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."
"We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs," he told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor.
Jackson's death shocked the entertainment world and triggered intense debate over the performer's health in the run-up to London concerts, known as the "This is It" tour.
Murray could face up to four years in jail and permanently lose his doctor's license if convicted.