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Conrad Murray trial: Expert says Michael Jackson gave himself fatal dose

October 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
During day 20 of the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial, the defense's propofol expert told the jury he believed Michael Jackson gave himself a fatal injection of the anaesthetic.

Dr. Paul White resumed his testimony on Friday. He was expected to be the final witness to testify in the case.

Get complete coverage of the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

White has reviewed Jackson's medical records on behalf of the defense, and he said he doesn't believe Murray is responsible for the singer's death.

The propofol expert refuted the reports created by the prosecution's expert witness, Dr. Steven Shafer.

Investigators believe Jackson's death in 2009 was caused by acute propofol intoxication, and that sedatives were also a factor. Prosecutors argue that Murray is criminally liable because he recklessly administered the drug.

Follow @abc7MurrayTrial on Twitter to get the latest updates on the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

But White challenged Shafer's reports, especially when it came to sedative injections.

"I'd just like to point out a couple things that to me are bothersome. Specifically these last few injections, where the patient would have been given (a) large dose of lorazepam, 4 milligrams, at a time when they are at a high-blood level and would be expected to be asleep," White said.

White said some of scenarios and theories created by Shafer were absurd.

"It would mean putting Michael Jackson at deep sedation, or even approaching unconsciousness, waiting until he barely wakes up, and then slamming him down again repeatedly. I don't understand the rationale for the simulation," White testified.

White took Murray at his word that the doctor gave Jackson a safe amount of the agent: 25 milligrams.

"In essence, it would produce a reduction in anxiety, and a mild level of sedation or sleepiness," White said.

The defense proposed Jackson acted on his own, taking the sedative lorazepam. An empty pill bottle was found under his bed.

The reason high levels were not found in Jackson's stomach at autopsy was that they were taken and digested much earlier, White testified.

"My guess, if you will, that rather than taking eight pills at the same time, that Mr. Jackson may well have taken three or four pills at a couple of different times," White said.

In White's scenario, there was no IV setup to deliver a long infusion of propofol. No evidence of a infusion system was found in Jackson's bedroom.

White testified that if a vial of the agent was rigged in a hanging saline bag slit open, "I would imagine that if Mr. Jackson was sleeping in his bed with an IV in his leg, and he rolled over or moved his leg, that this could easily just come right out of the bag."

But what could explain the high level of propofol found in Jackson's body? The prosecution says there must have been a flow streaming into his body even after he died.

But the defense alleges Jackson could given himself a fast dose into the IV port inserted in his leg, so fast that it stopped his breathing and his heart.

"So you think it was the self injection of propofol ... between 11:30 and 12 that did it?" defense attorney Michael Flanagan asked.

"In my opinion, yes," White testified.

Kathy and Richard Hilton, Paris Hilton's parents, showed up at the courthouse to support the Michael Jackson family.

Kathy Hilton went to private school with Michael Jackson and has been a longtime family friend. Also in court were Janet Jackson, Randy Jackson and Joe Jackson.

Proceedings in the Conrad Murray trial took a twist late Thursday when the defense made an 11th-hour disclosure that White, devised a new computer simulation shedding light on what killed Jackson. Prosecutors told the judge they were surprised by the new development and needed time to study the software program, so they were given the weekend.

Prosecutors will cross examine White on Monday when the trial resumes at 9 a.m. PT.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Prosecutors allege Murray tried to hide the fact that he had been giving propofol to Jackson.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

View photos from the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray.


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