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Doctor: Murray's guilty even if Michael Jackson injected himself
2011-10-12
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Prosecutors have just three more witnesses to call in their effort to prove Dr. Conrad Murray should be held criminally responsible for the death of Michael Jackson.

A cardiologist, an anesthesiologist and a sleep expert are lined up to testify starting Wednesday morning about the treatment Murray gave Jackson in his last days medical care the prosecution contends was recklessly negligent.

With about three days of defense testimony expected, closing arguments could be just a week away in Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial.

The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Jackson testified Tuesday that while it was physically possible Jackson could have given himself the overdose that killed him, Murray is still guilty of causing his death because he gave him access to the dangerous drugs.

If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Murray could spend four years in a California prison and lose his medical license.

The closing days of the prosecution case should be filled with science, a contrast to the girlfriends' testimony, dramatic audio recordings and shocking death photos that highlighted the first 10 days of testimony.

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled that Jackson's June 25, 2009, death was from "acute propofol intoxication" in combination with several sedatives.

The prosecution contends Murray's negligence led to Jackson's overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol and his effort to conceal his actions caused delays in efforts to resuscitate him.

The defense claims Jackson caused his own death by swallowing eight lorazepam pills and drinking or injecting propofol into his body in a desperate search for sleep while Murray was briefly away from him.

Murray was hired as Jackson's personal physician while he prepared for his "This Is It" comeback concerts in London, planned to start in July 2009.

A stark photo of Michael Jackson's naked corpse lying on the autopsy table a day after he died was displayed on a large screen in front of the jury Tuesday.

A Jackson fan who won a lottery for a seat in court became so upset she fled, while other fans quietly wept and hugged each other.

Jackson matriarch Katherine Jackson, who was forewarned by the prosecutor, chose to leave the courtroom during the mid-morning break, before the pathologist who autopsied her son took the witness stand.

The photograph was shown during the testimony of Dr. Christopher Rogers, the Los Angeles County deputy medical examiner who conducted the autopsy and ruled Jackson's death a homicide.

Rogers said Murray's admission in a police interview that he used propofol to treat Jackson's insomnia was a factor in his conclusion it was a homicide, not an accidental death.

He said Murray's use of propofol in Jackson's home without proper monitoring and resuscitation equipment or a "precision dosing device" contributed to the singer's propofol overdose and subsequent death.

"Essentially, the doctor would be estimating how much propofol he would be giving," Rogers testified. "I think it would be easy under those circumstances for the doctor to estimate wrong and give too much propofol."

Murray, in the interview played for the jury over the past two days of testimony, told detectives he gave Jackson a series of three sedatives -- Valium, lorazepam and midazolam -- over a 10-hour period before finally giving in to Jackson's plea for propofol.

"I've got to sleep, Dr. Conrad," Murray said Jackson pleaded to him. "I have these rehearsals to perform. I must be ready for the show in England. Tomorrow, I will have to cancel my performance, because you know I cannot function if I don't get to sleep."

Murray said he injected a small dose of propofol using a syringe, but the prosecution contends he also used a makeshift IV setup to keep Jackson medicated and asleep. That drip may have malfunctioned while the doctor was not monitoring his patient, they contend.

The propofol bottle that prosecutors say Murray used for the IV drip had a slit in the rubber top, which Rogers said is evidence it was part of the drip system.

On the recording, Murray insisted he kept a close watch on Jackson after he finally fell asleep. The physician never mentioned the long list of e-mails and calls that cell phone records later revealed.

Rogers testified it was unlikely that Jackson self-administered the deadly dose of propofol in the two minutes Murray said he was away from him, but he conceded under defense questioning that it was physically possible.

Jackson could have reached the IV port near his left knee to self-inject propofol, he said. If Jackson pushed the drug in quickly, it could have made his heart stop immediately, Rogers said.

Rogers later added, under questioning by the prosecutor, that he would still consider it a homicide even if Jackson administered the fatal overdose to himself since the doctor would have been negligent in leaving the drugs nearby.

His testimony also gave some support to the defense theory that Jackson orally ingested an overdose of lorazepam from a pill bottle next to his deathbed.

A toxicology study of Jackson's stomach contents, conducted in recent months, showed a level of lorazepam four times higher in the stomach that in his blood.

"There would have to be some oral lorazepam taken somewhere along the line," Rogers testified, after taking a moment to do some quick math while on the witness stand.

Earlier Tuesday, jurors heard the last 45 minutes of the police interview in which Murray pointed the finger away from himself to other doctors.

"I was not aware of any other medications that he was taking, but I heard that he was seeing a Dr. Klein three times a week in Beverly Hills," Murray told police. "And he never disclosed that to me."

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff contended at the start of the trial that Dr. Arnold Klein had addicted Jackson to Demerol, a narcotic pain reliever, during the singer's regular visits to his Beverly Hills dermatology clinic in the weeks before his death.

His inability to sleep the day he died was a side effect of his withdrawal from Demerol, a factor Murray was unaware of, Chernoff contended.

Toxicology tests did not find Demerol in Jackson's blood at the time of his death, but the defense contention is his inability to sleep the day he died was a side effect of his withdrawal from Demerol, a factor Murray was unaware of.

Lt. Scott Smith, the Los Angeles Police Department's lead investigator in the case, acknowledged there was "head-butting" between Los Angeles Police and the coroner's office over who would interview Klein in the weeks after Jackson's death.

An LAPD lieutenant called the assistant chief coroner and demanded they not interview Klein "because we had other entities, if you will, that were looking into Dr. Klein and his dealings, so there would be some, perhaps, head-butting over that," Smith said.

Investigators from California's Drug Enforcement Agency were designated to probe Klein, Smith said. He was never prosecuted or disciplined for his treatment of Jackson.

Murray's police interview also including a description of the reaction of her 11-year-old Paris Jackson to the news that her father was dead.

"I will wake up in the morning, and I won't be able to see my daddy," Paris said, according to Murray.

Source CNN
 





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