Michael Jackson Gave Himself Propofol, Expert Testifies
Final defense witness says Dr. Conrad Murray’s care was substandard, but not involuntary manslaughter.
By Gil Kaufman
Propofol expert Dr. Paul White testifies in court Frida
Photo: Getty Images
The final day of testimony in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s former doctor, Conrad Murray, was devoted to a defense witness who has reportedly pieced together a new explanation for how the King of Pop died. And if Dr. Paul White can convince the jury that Murray gave substandard care but that it didn’t rise to the level of involuntary manslaughter, he could turn the tide for the beleaguered defense team.
» Dr. Paul White, propofol expert
» Anesthesiologist White readily admitted to defense attorneys Thursday that Murray’s decision to dose Jackson with the surgical anesthetic propofol and then leave the room was not proper medical procedure. Returning to the stand Friday (October 28), he testified that he believes the singer killed himself by self-injecting a fatal dose of propofol. According to CBS News, White testified that he can’t find proof to support the prosecution theory that Jackson’s doctor was giving Jackson an infusion of the drug through an IV before the King of Pop’s demise. He said that theory isn’t supported by evidence found at the scene or in Murray’s statements to police.
» White said the evidence found in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented L.A. mansion is more consistent with him receiving an injection of the anesthetic. Earlier, prosecution witness Dr. Steven Shafer told jurors he believed Murray used an IV drop of propofol, which was the only way to explain the high levels of the drug found in Jackson’s body.
» White also testified that Jackson could have swallowed up to eight tablets of the sedative Lorazepam on the morning of June 25, 2009, when he died. The Los Angeles Coroner’s office determined that Jackson died of an overdose of propofol, with Lorazepam playing a contributing role.
» Cross-examination of White will take place Monday, which will give prosecutors time to review a new defense analysis of samples taken during Jackson’s autopsy. Murray is not expected to take the stand in his defense.
Murray, who was being paid $150,000 a month to care for Jackson, has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter and is now facing four years in prison. But new sentencing laws in California aimed at mandatorily reducing state prison overcrowding mean that, as a nonviolent offender with no prior record, he could be sentenced to county jail instead. If that is the case, his sentence could be reduced to two years and, because of overcrowding in the Los Angeles County jail, he may be allowed to serve the majority of his time under supervised house arrest.