Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Michael Jackson during the pop star's final hours, pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson's June death.

Jackson parents Joe and Katherine, brothers Randy, Jackie, Jermaine and Tito, and sister LaToya were in attendance at the LAX courthouse for the hearing Monday afternoon. Fans across the street held banners that stated “The King of Pop: Michael Jackson Gone Too Soon,” and “Conrad Murray is a murderer.”

Search warrant affidavits and court papers indicate that Murray defended his actions on that June day: He told authorities he feared Jackson was becoming addicted to propofol — the powerful sedative cited by coroner's investigators as a factor in the King of Pop's death — and that he tried to get him off the drug.

On the day Jackson died, Murray stated, the pop star demanded the drug after other remedies failed to get him to sleep, and the doctor finally gave in and administered a 25 milligram dose. (Experts have said that propofol should only be given in proper medical facilities).

Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, told reporters after Monday's hearing that “this has been a nightmare for him (Murray) for many different reasons, and one of the reasons is that he lost a friend, and I'm sure that he'll speak to that when the time comes.”

Murray was released in lieu of $75,000 bail. His next hearing is in April.

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