The prosecution will likely rest its case Friday in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, and the defense could then call its first witness.
The start of court will be delayed Friday; it will begin at 12:45 pm PDT because a funeral will be held in the morning for the father of Dr. Steven Shafer, the prosecution’s final witness whose damning testimony has taken center stage this week. As always, RadarOnline.com will live stream coverage of the trial as soon as it starts today.
As the prosecution winds down its case, the defense will have its shot to cross-examine Dr. Shafer, a propofol expert, who has testified that Murray committed 17 “unconscionable” acts that could have resulted in Jackson’s death.
The crucial cross-examination will be handled by lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff. In the past, defense attorney Michael Flanagan has handled the previous medical experts, and it’s not known why the defense switched lawyers to handle Shafer’s cross.
Meanwhile, during testimony on Thursday, Shafer said it was “extremely unlikely” Jackson would have caused his own death by swallowing propofol.
(Coroner’s officials have determined the singer died from acute propofol intoxication and also noted there was anti-anxiety drug lorazepam in Michael’s system).
Shafer told jurors that the drug cannot enter the bloodstream in a sizeable quantity if it is swallowed and said based on Murray’s timeline of events, where he says he was away from the pop star for just two minutes, there would not have been sufficient time for Michael to inject himself.
He explained: “The possibility of a direct self-injection seems extremely unlikely.”
Shafer reminded the jury that injecting propofol is a complicated process and showed them various formulas and diagrams on a large screen.
He said the defense’s argument that Michael gave himself the powerful anesthetic was also unlikely because he would’ve been groggy from other drugs administered throughout the night.
He explained: “He can’t give himself an injection if he’s asleep.
“People don’t just wake up from anesthesia hell bent to pick up a syringe and pump it into the IV. It’s a crazy scenario.”
Shafer said it was more likely that Murray gave the singer a higher dose of propofol than he told police and he also explained the defense’s own testing showed Michael hadn’t swallowed any lorazepam pills in the four hours before his death.
Murray’s attorneys have previously argued Michael gave himself extra doses of propofol and lorazepam without the doctor knowing – but the anesthesiologist said those doses would’ve amounted to just 10 per cent of the drug found in his body at the autopsy based on the timings Murray has given.
He said: “It’s only 10 percent of what was measured, so this did not happen.”
Prosecutor David Walgren asked Shafer: “The blood levels proved that there is more than four milligrams of lorazepam administered to Michael Jackson?”
And Shafer replied: “Absolutely.”
Murray — who has pleaded not guilty — could face four years in prison if convicted.
The trial, in its fourth week, is expected to conclude with the start of jury deliberations near the end of next week.