Calling Dr. Murray

Bench warrant sought for Jackson physician

Wherever he is -- Las Vegas, Houston, or somewhere else -- Conrad Murray, MD does not yet know if he'll be charged in the death of Michael Jackson.

But the Family Law Court in Las Vegas has made it known that Murray may face a bench warrant for failure to appear at a scheduled child support hearing Wednesday.

Credit the Las Vegas Review Journal with breaking the story.  According to the RJ, the warrant was recommended by a family court hearing master, but must first be approved by a Clark County district judge before it can be issued.

The hearing was to deal with ongoing efforts, dating from 2002, to compel Dr. Murray to make child support payments to Nenita Malibiran, a nurse who now lives in the Sacramento suburb of  El Dorado Hills with the child she bore Murray out of wedlock.  The RJ reports Murray owes $13,000. 

It is but one of several Murray debts that have come to light in the scrutiny he has received in the wake of his late patient Michael Jackson's death June 25th.  The mortgage on Murray's house outside Las Vegas is in default.  He also owes $363,000 in yet-to-be-paid legal judgments, and $71,000 in student loans dating from medical school.

This past spring, with Jackson preparing to launch a comeback, Murray was hired to serve as his personal physician at a salary of $150,000/month.  Murray was with Jackson during his final, insomnia-wracked hours in his rental estate off Sunset Blvd.  Authorities believe it was Dr. Murray who administered the powerful anasthetic propofol that Jackson's autopsy identified as the principal cause of his death, which was deemed a homicide.  A police affidavit filed in July for a search of Dr. Murray's Houston office revealed  that investigators were seeking evidence of manslaughter.

That investigation is still ongoing, and has yet to result in any criminal filings.   But if there are charges, NBCLA legal analyst Royal Oakes, of the law firm Barger & Wolen, observes that Murray's financial issues could be raised.

"If there is a criminal filing, the doctor's financial troubles could be important, because his state of mind would be vital.  If in fact he was desperate for money, he might make reckless medical decisions that he wouldn't make otherwise," said Oakes.

Perhaps a more pressing question would be:  Where exactly is Dr. Murray?

His spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.  But it appears Murray will face a Nevada arrest warrant if he does not  quickly present himself to the family court.  Meantime, Clark County District Attorney David Roger told the RJ his office will ask the Nevada Medical Board to revoke Murray's license to practice.

"It's rare that we have to petition to suspend a person's professional license," Roger was quoted as saying.  "But it is an option we have and we'll exercise that option."

Murray's failure to appear in family court raises another question:  will he be around if and when authorities in Los Angeles are ready to proceed with prosecution related to the Jackson death?

Noting there is currently no legal order keeping Murray in any particular jurisdiction, Oakes mused: "The wildcard question is whether Murray is going to pull a Polanski on us."

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