tonight on "nightline," michael's missed chance. dramatic testimony today on one late, crucial opportunity dr. conrad murray allegedly had and missed to save michael jackson. we're in court. cameron's kingdom. he is the visionary bemind "avatar," "titanic," can the terminator" and tonight for the first time ever, director james can ron invites tv cameras inside his off the grid estate and tells us of a project bigger than any movie he's made. and marvels of the sea. they swim upright. they swap sex roles and celebs covet their company. so, what's the catch? we go swimming with sea horses. >> announcer: from the global
resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," october 12th, 2011. >> good evening, i'm bill weir. the idea that michael jackson did not have to die is at the heart of the manslaughter case against his doctor, conrad murray. but never in that courtroom have the jurors heard it like this. expert witnesses giving a detailed, blow by blow account of how murray allegedly failed his pop star employer. abc's jim avila is in los angeles tonight. jim? >> reporter: bill, the district attorney's office is wrapping up its case, with devastating medical testimony. prosecutors say they could rest as early as tomorrow, with testimony that is severely underculting one of the pillars of the defense case. ach thing tandem of medical reviewers, doctors paid to judge the work of their peers, delivered outright condemnation of dr. conrad murray's conduct the day michael jackson died.
ucla dr. nader came manakaminge. >> using propofol? >> it's inconceivable. >> and unethical? >> that's correct. >> why is that? >> it's kind of beyond a departure of standard of care. >> reporter: and dr. alon steinberg. >> you, in fact, found six separate and distinct extreme dooe yagss from the standard of care. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: in fact the prosecution witnesses claimed dr. murray deviated from standard care in six ways that killed michael jackson. first, using propofol as a sleeping aid. using the dangerous anesthetic at home, with no backup emergency personnel. no backup medical equipment. having no medical records to share with other doctors. and most critically, not calling 911 immediately, which could have saved jackson's life. >> he was definitely saveable at that point.
>> so, in essence, had dr. murray called 911 at 12:00, michael jackson would still be here today. >> yes, sir. >> and there's just no doubt in your mind about that? >> no doubt. >> reporter: dr. murray's 20 minute delay in calling 911 makes him guilty of manslaughter, said the prosecution's medical witnesses, even if it was jackson who delivered the fatal last dose while jackson was out of the room. >> 911 was called at 12:20. so, now from the assumed time that dr. murray found the patient, it's 20 minutes until the time that 911 is called. >> well, that just compounds the underlying affect of lack of adequate circulation and adequate oxygen to the brain. that is really, really critical. and i think at that point, it really becomes irreversible. >> reporter: and in a stunning concession today, dr. murray's defense team told the judge, out of the jury's presence, it will no longer argue that jackson
swallowed the fatal dose of propofol on his own in a desperate effort to sleep. but they still say it was jackson who injected himself while dr. murray was out of the room. a defense today's witnesses attempted to dash by saying, just leaving the room is grossly negligent with extreme deviance from standard of care. >> when you monitor a patient, you never leave their side. especially after giving propofol. it's like leaving a baby that's sleeping on your kitchen countertop. you would never do it. so you, always monitor the patient. >> reporter: and, they say, leaving a known addict with access to the drugs makes dr. murray to blame even if their theory is correct. >> even under a scenario put forth by the defense that michael jackson self-administered either lorazepam or propofol, the risk of that happening would be a
foreseeable thing that a competent doctor should have been aware of. >> oh, absolutely. i mean, you know, here you have a patient that potentially may have substance abuse problems and you're providing this environment where drugs are readily available, they're not locked up, they're within arm's reach. >> reporter: the jackson defense is expected to start next week. the cornerstone of which, abc news has learned, surrounding the testimony of their propofol expert, who will claim contrary to most others that propofol helps patients sleep and is perfectly safe to use. for "nightline," jim avila, abc news, los angeles. >> our thanks to jim. and there another developing story out of southern california tonight. in what is being called the worst mass killing in orange county history. eight people are dead, one hospitalized, after a gunman opened fire in a beauty is a lo salon in seal beach. the suspect reportedly had multiple weapons, was wearing
body armor. police said the shooting is believed to have had a relationship with a woman in that salon. well, just ahead, james cameron, the master mind behind movies from "term nail or the" to "titanic," invites our cameras into his off the grid abode for an exclusive peek at his next project. mary? what are you doing here? it's megan. i'm getting new insurance. marjorie, you've had a policy with us for three years. it's been five years. five years. well, progressive gives megan discounts that you guys didn't. paperless, safe driver, and i get great service. meredith, what's shakin', bacon? they'll figure it out. getting you the discounts you deserve. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> if they ever carve a mt. rushmore of film making, it would be hard to argue against the inclusion of james cameron. using monster budgets, technology of his own invention and sheer force of will, he made "titan "titanic" and "avatar" into the two most successful blockbusters of all time.
updates of both films are in the works, but sequels aren't enough for this man. as he told me on a rare tour of his fortress of solitude. while imagining other planets, he wants to save this one. >> we're in for an adventure. >> reporter: it's hardly shocking that this man has built a breathtaking set for his own life. this is the first time james cameron has ever allowed tv cameras onto his ranch. >> glad to have you here. >> reporter: not a bad driveway, coming up. perched over a gorgeous stretch of the pacific, just north of santa barbara. come down here to write, to think, for inspiration? >> yeah. when i was writing "avatar," i used to run on the beach and watch the sea birds and think about the aerodynamics. >> reporter: the passionate environmentalist is anxious to show how he's lived off the grid for years, with solar energy and a windmill of his own design this is the first time in human history if we can't solve things as a global community, we're not going to make it. >> reporter: so, we jump into a
chevy volt and head up his mountain. >> i used to love fast cars and big four wheel drives and anything, the bigger the engine, the better, you know? and it was hard for me to give that up. >> reporter: while it gets amazing gas mileage, the volt was not really designed to go offroading. come on, volt. >> you can do it, baby. >> reporter: but this is typical cameron. a guy so impatient with progress, he often tries to reinvent the wheel himself. solar people don't seem to mind the way they look. you can put them on roofs and things, makes you look hip. >> reporter: from his first student film -- >> the machines we saw before. only this one is moving. >> reporter: the canadian junior college dropout set out to redefine the way movies are made. and developed a directing style that strikes fear into cast and crew. heard stories about you nail gunning people's cell phones to the wall. >> yeah. that's a little exaggerated. i really only threatened a nail gun. >> reporter: whatever he does, it works. >> i'll be back.
>> reporter: from "terminator" to "aliens" to "titanic," hollywood insiders would scoff at his audacity until he saw the box office records shatter. >> i just watched "titanic" again recently. >> reporter: what did you think? >> you know, it's kind of slow at the beginning. it gets going. it gets going. about halfway through, i said, oh, yeah, i remember how this sucker works now. >> reporter: he will soon rerelease the movie in 3d, while working on the second and third sequels for "avatar." >> yeah! >> reporter: and you will see the oceans of pandora, which we haven't seen at all. that's an ecosystem i'm dying to start designing. but also, again, now it narrows the spotlight instead of just nature in general or the rain forest. it focuses it a little bit more on ocean issues. >> reporter: speaking of which,
he's building a state of the art submarine in his quest to dive deeper than any man before. you have to go back to da vinci to find a renaissance man with this kind of vision. but while leonardo struggled to get his inventions built, cameron seems to just struggle to get his message heard. i'm guessing you didn't sell "avatar" in hollywood as a fable about imperial environmental destruction. did you? >> i think what i tried to do is use the spoonful of sugar approach with the studio guys. but it was very scary before the fact, 20th century fox, before the fact, that i had that much sort of spirituality and environmental consciousness in the film. >> reporter: after "avatar's" release, he heard from groups everywhere who thought that movie was about them. first nation canadians hoping to block those monster trucks digging up their land for oil sands. amazon indians trying to stop a massive dam project. so, the guy who has made a
fortune through modern progress found himself rallying around the most prim tent people, as critics howled. who are we to tell these people who live in rivers, in the amazon, hunt with bow and arrows, that they can't have a flat screen tv. >> yeah. >> reporter: why should we deny them the first world lifestyle to which we've now become accustomed? >> they don't want it. they want what they have but who are we to them them they can't have the people they've lived in for 1,000 years. >> reporter: how would you grade the obama administration on the environment? >> i think their are hamstrung by the divisiveness, the partisan divisiveness over these issues, over energy and, you know, climate change and all that. i think they've tried to make good on their promises. >> reporter: but he is critical of the response to the bp oil spill. after brainstorming with his ocean ocean employering colleagues, he says he gave the government a plan to stop the blown well and was ignored.
you're an enemy of big oil, are you not? >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: you think that hurt the sell? >> well, maybe, maybe. but we were really not trying to be antagonistic. ultimately, cut the two months later that's exactly how the well was shut in. exactly how they turned it off. they did exactly what we said. almost step for step. >> reporter: and while the solyndra scandal has complicated the push to solar, he thinks more big government loans should be given out. not to big companies, but to we the people. >> there should be like an automatic loan program system where you just sign up for solar and eventually it will -- this is one of those few investments that are guaranteed to pay off for you. >> reporter: how do you counter someone who wants to use your hollywood resume against you? oh, there's another hollywood liberal who -- >> yeah, i -- >> reporter: driving an electric car? >> i mean, look. it is easy to criticize people of good will who are kind of earnest. and i think there's -- i think there's a responsibility that comes with celebrity.
you can either stand for nothing or you can stand for something. >> reporter: so, are you a guy that thinks about legacy? >> no, i'm too busy doing cool stuff. >> reporter: understatement of the year. coming up next, we cavort with a creature that might have come from a cameron sketch book, to find that sea horses are every bit as far out as they look. the first thing you got to do is make a car that's worth building... one with character and conviction... that has all the luxury you'd expect. then you put in an 8-speed transmission that gets 31 miles per gallon. that combination of luxury and efficiency only comes from one place in the world. ♪
it has the head of a thorough bred, the tail of a chimp. arm dill lo scales, wings on its cheeks and can change color to match its surroundings. if you think this creature should have a tv show, we agree with you. here's abc's stephanie sy with the sea horse. >> reporter: they are unique sea creatures. upright swimmers with horse-like heads and monkey-like tails. see horse mating and breeding is a delicate dance. largely mon mog mouse, unlike most animals, and the only animal on the planet where the male gets pregnant and gives birth. but there's a problem. sea horses are under threat. more than 20 million sea horses are treated worldwide each year. the vast majority of them for use in traditional chinese
medicine. or as fancy additions to fish tanks. >> i've seen an individual sell for $200 if it has really great color. >> reporter: kim kardashian recently tweeted, "all i want for christmas is a sea horse." the last thing conversationists want is a holiday run on them. >> they live in sea grass beds, on coral reefs, and these are most threatened by everything from coastal development to pollution. and we know of very few examples of populations that are doing well. >> reporter: the man-made natural threats to the population of dwarf sea horses that live in florida mafks spotting one like finding a needle in a hay stack. >> we found one. oh, there it goes. >> all right! >> reporter: sea horses are fish. but they don't have scales. boney plates form an armor around them. but they are fragile. and they aren't great swimmers. not much else is known about
their biology or their numbers. what we do know is that demand for them is outpacing supply. in chinese medicine, concoctions using sea horses are common for treating a variety of ailments, but they are especially prized as a sort of natural viagra for men. >> in hong kong, the most valuable sea horses by weight in the dry trade for medicine are more valuable than silver. >> reporter: in an effort to get sea horse numbers back up, todd gardner works on breeding sea horses in captivity in long island, new york. but note to miss kardashian, sea horses aren't easy to feed. or keep alive in a tank. >> these are giving birth to probably around, between 100 and 200 babies at a time. and there is always some mortality on a really great run. we'll get about 85% surviving. and sometimes they are born prematurely and there is 100%
mortality. >> reporter: one way to keep populations afloat is adopting guidelines that prevent babies from being sold. another is to protect the pregnant ones. and in sea horses, unlike in any other animal, that means saving the males first. a pair has an elaborate twisting of tails for days, and in the finale, eggs are transferred and fertilized. dad carries the babies to terms. once they leave the pouch, they're on their own. >> i think it would be a very sad world in which we could let sea horses go. they're just the most extraordinary and iconic fish in the environment. >> reporter: i'm stephanie sy for "nightline" in new york. >> our thanks to stephanie sy and thanks to you