Prosecutors Wind Down Case Against Michael Jackson's Doctor
Prosecutors are winding down their case against the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death by calling three experts intended to help jurors make sense of the complex medical evidence they have been presented.
A court transcript released late Tuesday shows prosecutors told a judge overseeing the case against Dr. Conrad Murray that their remaining witnesses include experts in cardiology, pharmacology and the anesthetic propofol.
Murray's defense attorneys are likely to vigorously challenge the experts.
Among the witnesses prosecutors plan to call is Dr. Steven Shafer, a researcher and professor who is a leading expert in propofol, which authorities contend killed Jackson in June 2009.
Shafer is expected to be their final witness.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
On Tuesday, a medical examiner struck a major blow to Murray's defense, saying it is unreasonable to believe Jackson could have given himself a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Dr. Christopher Rogers, who conducted the autopsy on Jackson, testified it was more likely that Murray overdosed the singer when he incorrectly estimated how much of the drug he was giving Jackson to induce sleep to fight insomnia.
Rogers said Murray had no precision dosing device available in the bedroom of Jackson's rented mansion.
"The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self-administration of propofol," said Rogers, chief of forensic medicine in the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.
Rogers analyzed two possible scenarios for Jackson's death. The first was the defense theory that while Murray stepped away to go to the bathroom, Jackson gave himself an extra dose of the drug he called his "milk."
"In order for Mr. Jackson to have administered the propofol to himself, you would have to assume he woke up and although he was under the influence of ... propofol and other sedatives, he was somehow able to administer propofol to himself," Rogers testified.
"Then he stops breathing and all of this takes place in a two-minute period of time," Rogers said. "To me, that scenario seems less reasonable."
"Less reasonable than what?" asked Deputy District Attorney David Walgren.
"The alternate scenario would be in order to keep Mr. Jackson asleep, the doctor would have to give him a little bit every hour, two or three tablespoons an hour," Rogers said, noting that propofol is a short-acting drug that wears off quickly.
"We did not find any precision dosing device, so the doctor would be estimating how much he was giving," the medical examiner said.
Murray told police he gave Jackson only 25 milligrams of the drug, a very small dose that usually would have kept him asleep for no more than five minutes.
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