As we digest the verdict in the Conrad Murray trial it’s worth bearing in mind that being on trial is something of a negotiation – albeit with an umpire. You need to be able to persuade the Judge or jury to go along with your point of view rather than the other side’s.

As in any negotiation you need to make the most of your bargaining power and in this sense I feel that Dr Murray has had to deal with two crucial elements which were not in his favour.

One source of bargaining power is “authority”. This can come from your reputation or your position in the hierarchy. In this case an enormous amount of bargaining power vested in the Prosecution by dint of the fact that, in effect, they represented one of America’s greatest icons of popular culture. It is difficult to have more authority than that in the US. This will have weighed against Dr Murray – there must have been a small voice in the heads of a number of the jurors that revered Jackson’s status and told them that America needs someone to blame for the loss of one of its greatest stars.

Secondly, Dr Murray has declined to testify. You always have your personal power in any negotiation and that can be a potent source of bargaining power. However, by not testifying Dr Murray chose to give away that personal power – any skills he had as a negotiator he chose not to use. Moreover, when one party doesn’t explain its position in a negotiation, it is not uncommon for other parties to fantasise about the motivations for that and assume the worst.

So, Dr Murray faced a large deficit in bargaining power – part of it to do with the identity of his victim and partly self-inflicted…