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Michael Jackson Manslaughter Trial Begins as Morbidly as Possible

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In television courtroom dramas, the prosecution often shows the jury a grotesque photo of the murder victim so the image haunts them when they're deliberating the fate of the accused. It's a fairly routine and surprisingly effective trial strategy that Los Angeles DAs used today as the manslaughter trial against Michael Jackson's physician Conrad Murray began.

To kick off their opening statement, prosecutors showed -- for the first time -- a photo of the King of Pop lying dead on a hospital gurney, looking pale and gaunt with his mouth agape. TMZ reports that the Jackson death photo presented in court was actually retouched by the prosecution: A green tint was added to give the picture a sickly hue, and the word "Homicide" was typed out above Jackson's body for dramatic effect. You can see the photo here, but be warned, it's a picture of a dead Michael Jackson. It's a gruesome start to a trial that will only get more morbid from this point on.

The opening statements also included actual statements: The prosecution said that Murray acted with "gross negligence and incompetence" while treating Jackson and enabling the singer's addiction to sedatives. The defense, as expected, claimed that Michael killed himself by self-administering a deadly dose of Propofol. The defense revealed they would also argue that Jackson had a sleeping problem that was far more severe than insomnia, and that Jackson's friend Dr. Arnold Klein was responsible for his addiction.

[Photo: Pool/Getty Images]

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