MJ trial grinds on (for AM)

UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, and that grim occasion has been commemorated this week with testimony from a sports-medicine expert, who likened Dr. Conrad Murray's treatment of the star—allegedly at AEG Live's behest—to the medication of a star athlete. When a championship and its attendant windfalls are on the line, argued Stanford's Dr. Gordon Matheson (and we're paraphrasing heavily here, we admit), getting that player back on the field can trump minor concerns like the Hippocratic Oath. With the financial pressures faced by Dr. Murray as leverage, the plaintiffs continue to insist, Randy Phillips and team did whatever was necessary to move the planned MJ tour forward; Murray would not be paid if it were canceled. Meanwhile, USA Today took the anniversary as an occasion to ponder the artist's legacy, noting that whatever has been dredged up during the trial, Jackson's legacy ultimately shines. The piece closes with a quote from Syracuse University pop-culture prof Robert Thompson, who declares, "Everyone has about seven asterisks in their mind when it comes to the legend of Michael Jackson. But that legend is intact." We're weeks and weeks into this trial now; when will Michael's ghost finally take the stand? (6/26a)