Medical testimony winding down in Jackson doc case

Attorneys on both sides of the case say they have only a few questions for the remaining witnesses, two of whom are dueling anesthesia experts who have spent days on the stand explaining the powerful drug that killed Jackson.

Defense attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray also plan to call an unexpected witness — a researcher who prepared the computer simulations that a defense expert used to support his claim that Jackson must have given himself the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.

Murray did not rule out that he would take the stand, telling a judge that he had not made a final decision about whether he would testify.

“At this time, I have not made a final decision,” Murray said after testimony concluded Monday. When Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked Murray when he would decide, the cardiologist said in a soft voice, “It depends on how the case progresses, sir.”

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted.

Murray’s statements came after hours of intense grilling by a prosecutor of Dr. Paul White, an anesthesia expert who has said he believes Jackson injected himself with the fatal dose of propofol when Murray left his bedside on June 25, 2009.

After asking only eight questions Monday morning, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren had gotten White to acknowledge that Murray had repeatedly violated the physician’s standard of care.

Throughout the day, White also told jurors that he would have never done what Murray was doing — giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid.

“I wouldn’t even consider it,” White said. “It’s something no amount of money could convince me to take on.”

The retired professor and researcher had a bad day outside the presence of jurors, with a judge warning him not to mention his conversations with Murray since being hired as a consultant on the case.

When White told the jury that there were things he would like to tell the jury but the judge wouldn’t allow it, Pastor threatened to fine him $1,000 and told the doctor he would consider the punishment during a contempt hearing on Nov. 16. White said he had already been paid $11,000 and was unsure how much more he would receive.

White also distanced himself from medical simulations that he used to illustrate his conclusions that Jackson self-administered the drug, saying another researcher had crafted them the night before White began testifying.

By the end of the day, White told Walgren that the prosecutor had more time to review the charts and how they were created than he did.

Walgren said he will likely call his own expert, Dr. Steven Shafer, as a rebuttal witness. The Columbia University professor spent portions of five days on the stand and laid out his theory on how Jackson died — Murray had left the singer on a propofol drip and left the room after Jackson appeared to be asleep.

Shafer and White’s dueling theories have left their longtime friendship strained, and the two are likely to both be on the witness stand on Tuesday if testimony concludes as expected.

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