"He got emotional a couple of times and had to walk off the stand, we really felt bad for him, but he was also a man who put in so much work and so much effort and did everything he could, we felt, to try to help Michael," Barden said.
Several jurors, including Barden, applauded at the end of Ortega's dramatic testimony.
"It was just the absolute honesty of what he was doing," Barden said. "All of the sudden the jurors sitting there for all those months, we watched all these other guys get up there and we were asking 'Is that the truth or is that a lie?' Now all of a sudden we didn't have to do that. We could just relax and listen because everything he said was the truth. That's why he got applauded."
Fit and competent, but unethical?
Barden suggested jurors were boxed in by the wording of the second question on their verdict form: "Was Dr. Conrad Murray unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired?"
Jurors interpreted "the work" to be as a "general practitioner" who was expected to treat Jackson and his children for routine illnesses -- not to infuse him with profopol to put him to sleep every night, Barden said.
"Conrad Murray had a license, he graduated from an accredited college and we felt he was competent to do the job of being a general practitioner," Barden said. "Now, that doesn't mean that we felt he was ethical, and maybe had the word ethical been in the question, it could have been a different outcome. But because it was for the job he was hired to do, that was what we had to focus on."
Jackson lawyers argued that one reason Murray was unfit was because he had a conflict of interest. His deep financial debt made him conflicted to the point that he took dangerous risks with his patient because he feared losing the $150,000 monthly salary that AEG Live agreed to pay him to treat Jackson, they argued.
Jurors apparently did not see medical ethics as an essential element for a fit and competent physician.
HLN's Nancy Grace asked Barden if he believed Murray was unethical. "You betcha!" he answered. "Because he went way beyond what he was supposed to do."
Juror: AEG was 'in the dark'
Interviews with Barden and another juror indicate that even if they had decided Murray was unfit and incompetent, the jury still might not have held AEG Live responsible for the doctor giving Jackson the dangerous nightly infusions of propofol that eventually killed him.
"There was not one shred of evidence presented over five months to back up the fact that AEG could have known that Dr. Murray was doing that," Barden said.
Juror Kevin White agreed. "If AEG had known what was going on behind closed doors, it probably would have made a world of difference, but they didn't," White said.
AEG Live lawyers were apparently effective with their strategy of calling several of Jackson's former doctors to testify about how the singer developed close friendships with them. Jackson was talented at "doctor shopping" and keeping his various physicians in the dark about each other, they argued.
"Michael Jackson was pretty used to getting his own way," White said. "He was a big star. He had all these doctors who wanted to be his doctor and he could pretty much get what he wanted. If anybody said 'No,' well, they were out of the mix and he'd find somebody else."
Murray treated Jackson in an upstairs bedroom at his mansion, where no one else could see, White said. "How could AEG have done anything about it when they were kept in the dark?"
Murray's lawyer: 'This is huge'
No one seemed more surprised in courtroom when the verdict was read than Murray's lawyers. Valerie Wass, who had sat in on much of the trial so she could give personal reports to her jailed client, let out an audible gasp when the court clerk read the jury's "No" to the question "Was Dr. Conrad Murray unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired?"
Murray was "very, very emotional" when Wass visited him in jail to discuss the verdict Wednesday evening, Wass said.