Michael Jackson’s doctor has formally pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the popstar’s death.
Conrad Murray entered the plea at Los Angeles Superior Court, where he was ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing of prosecution evidence.
Police say 50-year-old Michael died of an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol in combination with other drugs on June 25, 2009.
“Your honour, I am an innocent man,” the doctor told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor. “I definitely plead not guilty.”
The judge scheduled the trial to begin March 28 and set a pretrial hearing for February 7.
During the preliminary hearing, a portrait emerged of the doctor trying to help the singer overcome debilitating insomnia with the powerful surgical anaesthetic that is not intended for home use.
Murray’s California medical license was suspended pending the outcome of the trial. A conviction on a felony could mean he could never practice medicine again.