Jackson doctor's defence challenges propofol expert
The lead attorney for the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death challenged a key prosecution expert Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom about his contention that the physician was responsible for the death of the singer.
Attorney Ed Chernoff cross-examined Dr. Steven Shafer, who previously testified that the only plausible explanation for the death was that Jackson had been hooked up to an IV drip of the anesthetic propofol then left alone by Dr. Conrad Murray.
Contempt hearing set for expert in Jackson case
A judge says comments made to a reporter by a key expert who will testify for the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death may be a violation of a court order.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor on Friday set a Nov. 16 hearing to consider whether Dr. Paul White should be found in contempt for talking to a reporter from E! Entertainment Television.
E! reported Thursday that White called the prosecutor a "scumbag" and spoke about prosecution expert Dr. Steven Shafer, who is still testifying. White said in court that he didn't recall making the statement.
—The Associated Press
"That's a bold claim, isn't it," Chernoff asked.
"It's an honest statement," Shafer replied.
The defence attorney suggested Shafer had drawn conclusions that weren't necessarily supported by the evidence. Chernoff said the type of IV line that Shafer used in the demonstration was never found at Jackson's house.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He could face up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical licence if convicted.
Shafer was expected to be the last witness called by the prosecution. After Shafer's testimony ends, defence attorneys will begin presenting their case.
Shafer, an expert on propofol, told jurors Thursday that his explanation was supported by items found in Jackson's bedroom, the singer's autopsy results and Murray's lengthy statement to police.
Using charts and his own experience, Shafer said Jackson likely stopped breathing because of the propofol and without someone to clear his airway, he died. The propofol would have kept dripping into the IV tube, with gravity carrying it into the singer's body, he said.
Shafer said Murray committed 17 violations of the standard of care that could have led to Jackson's serious injury or death.
Murray's actions in setting up the IV stand in Jackson's bedroom — similar to the one Shafer set up in front of the jury box Thursday — led to the singer's demise and his Murray alone to blame, Shafer said.
"He is responsible for every drop of propofol in that room, every drop of lorazepam in that room," Shafer said.
He rejected any theory that Jackson could have given himself the fatal dose of the anesthetic or sedatives.