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Conrad Murray trial expert fined for contempt

November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Dr. Paul White, who was the Conrad Murray defense team's propofol expert, was fined $250 on Wednesday for contempt.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said White had violated a court order when during his testimony, he told Deputy District Attorney David Walgren that he could not answer a question because the judge told him his conversation with Murray was off limits.

Watch video of Dr. White's testimony that got him in trouble.

"Sir, I was asked by the judge not to comment on anything that I learned from speaking with Dr. Murray," White had responded during questioning.

"Well, then you just violated the court's instruction," Walgren responded.

During the contempt hearing, Walgren accused White of "intentionally and deliberately" trying to sabotage the trial.

"People knew going forward that Dr. White wanted to put forth evidence that was not admitted and deny the People their right to a fair trial," Walgren said.

Defense attorney Michael Flanagan, who represented White in the hearing, said the propofol expert had reviewed hundreds of pages of evidence, and it was hard to distinguish where he learned some of the facts in the case.

"He is not a professional witness, this is the second time in his entire career that he testified," Flanagan told the judge.

White also argued that he was just trying to be truthful during his testimony.

"I apologize profusely if I disrespected you," he said.

Despite offering a public apology in court, Pastor fined White $250 and gave him 30 days to pay or appeal his decision. White was originally fined $1,000, but Pastor reduced it to $250 after he heard the arguments in court.

"The D.A. accused me of manipulating the evidence. That's absolutely outrageous," White told reporters after the hearing. "I didn't think I did anything wrong."

He also said he would have advised Murray to testify in his defense.

"There's no question Dr. Murray did some things wrong, but it had to do with the standard of care, not criminal acts," White said.

White was also accused of violating a court order when he spoke with a reporter during the trial, calling Walgren a "scumbag."

Pastor said that after reviewing the incident, he no longer wanted to pursue the violation.

"I don't feel it's appropriate to deal with this issue in this venue," Pastor said.

View photos from courtroom when verdict was read in the Conrad Murray trial.


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