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Doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death returns to court

When Dr. Conrad Murray returns to a Los Angeles court Monday afternoon, he is likely to be hounded by dozens of Michael Jackson fans angry about the pop star’s death.

Monday’s hearing is expected to be quick. It will set a date for the preliminary hearing in the involuntary manslaughter case against Murray, his lawyer said.

The judge has indicated the preliminary hearing will be in October and is expected to last more than a week.

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled that Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, was from an overdose of propofol, a powerful anesthesia used to put surgical patients to sleep.

// // Murray, hired as Jackson’s personal doctor while the singer rehearsed for his comeback concerts, admits giving him propofol as a sleep aid. But Murray’s lawyer said the amount was much smaller than what was found in Jackson’s body during the autopsy.

“The fact [of the way] that he died was a mystery a year ago, and still is,” Houston attorney Ed Chernoff told CNN in an exclusive interview recently.

Members of Jackson’s family have attended each hearing since Murray’s arrest in February.

When brother Jermaine Jackson left the last hearing in June, he indicated some of them were not satisfied with the case against Murray.

“Dr. Murray’s the fall guy,” Jermaine Jackson said after the hearing.

California authorities announced last month that seven other doctors and a nurse who treated Jackson will not face criminal prosecution in connection with the singer’s death.

Judge Michael Pastor denied a request by the state medical board to order Murray to stop practicing medicine as a condition of his bond while he awaits trial. His lawyer said he has no California patients, although he continues to treat patients in Nevada and Texas.

Jackson fans have organized protests at each hearing, taunting Dr. Murray as he entered and departed the courthouse.

One fan website said they would follow Murray “into the streets” after Monday’s hearing with banners on an overpass of the Hollywood Freeway.

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