Michael Jackson's former doctor was accused of trying to cover up the cause of his death in court today (04.01.11)

Dr Conrad Murray appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court as the preliminary hearing into the cause of the singer's death opened, which was also attended by the late 'Thriller' singer's mother Katherine, brother Jermaine and sister Latoya.

Michael died of acute Propofol intoxication on 25 June 2009, while in the same house as Dr. Murray, who has pled not guilty to the charges against him.

At the start of the hearing prosecutors claimed to the judge that Michael was already dead when Dr. Murray raised The Alarm.

Explaining his case, Prosecutor David Walgren said he felt Murray had tried to conceal the fact he had administered the powerful anaesthetic propofol to the entertainer, ordering a bodyguard to collect medical equipment and other items before the paramedics were finally called.

Mr Walgren said: "The evidence will show through the expert testimony, by all accounts, Michael Jackson was dead In The Bedroom prior to the paramedics arriving."

Mr Walgren then cited how it was felt Dr. Murray had not administered CPR properly when the paramedics had arrived and that he did not tell them he had administered Propofol to the star.

He added: "The court will learn that in the opinion of these medical experts, there were a number of actions displayed by Dr Murray that showed an extreme deviation from standard medical care."

The hearing takes place in front of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor and will determine if the case against Murray should proceed to a full trial. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

The hearing is expected to take weeks and prosecutors are set to call as many as 35 witnesses, far many than the one or two called in most cases.

The first witness called in the hearing was choreographer Kenny Ortega, who was working with Michael on his 'This Is It' comeback shows. He testified that the singer "didn't appear well at all" at a practice on June 19, but that he was "in great form" during his final two rehearsals on June 23 and June 24.

The prosecution has said it believes lawyers for Dr. Murray will attempt to argue Michael awoke and administered the injection of the powerful drug himself, and his death was therefore suicide.