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A defense lawyer for Michael Jackson’s doctor said Wednesday the singer was so anguished about his deteriorating finances in his final days that he took desperate actions that caused his own death.

The statements by attorney Edward Chernoff came during a pretrial hearing in the case of Dr. Conrad Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death. Chernoff was asking to see Jackson’s financial records to prove a key defense theory, reports the AP.

“The crux of the defense is going to be that Michael Jackson engaged in a desperate act and took desperate measures that caused his death,” Chernoff told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor. “We believe at the time Michael Jackson died he was a desperate man in relation to his financial affairs.”

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