Judge bars testimony from longtime Jackson doctor

Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:13pm EDT
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's dermatologist will not testify in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, a judge ruled on Monday, in a blow to defense plans to portray the singer as a drug addict who may have given himself the substance that caused his death.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor also barred witnesses in the case from testifying about Jackson's 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial is slated to begin next month over the "Thriller" singer's June 25, 2009, death from what authorities said was an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and other drugs.

Murray has admitted giving Jackson, 50, propofol as a sleep aid, even though it is normally used in a hospital setting. Murray's lawyers have suggested the pop star could have given himself a further dose when his physician was out of the room.

In court papers, Murray's attorneys said they wanted to call Jackson's longtime dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, to the witness stand.

The papers said Klein gave frequent injections of the painkiller Demerol to Jackson for "no valid medical purpose" and that "Jackson became physiologically and psychologically dependent on Demerol."

"I do not think it is relevant," Pastor ruled on Monday. Pastor also barred the testimony of five other doctors, but said he would allow defense attorneys to call two other physicians -- Allen Metzger and David Adams.

Murray was hired as the singer prepared for a series of comeback concerts which had been scheduled to begin in London in July 2009.   Continued...