Defense challenges Jackson crime scene investigation

Thu Oct 6, 2011 5:04pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An attorney for Michael Jackson's in-house doctor challenged a crime scene investigator on Thursday and suggested she conducted a shoddy examination of the bedroom where the "Thriller" singer stopped breathing in 2009.

The testimony of coroner's investigator Elissa Fleak came midway through prosecutors' presentation of their case in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, mounted the defense team's most forceful challenge since the trial began in Los Angeles on September 27.

Murray has admitted to giving Jackson the powerful anesthetic propofol, through an intravenous infusion, as a sleep aid on June 25, 2009. His attorneys claim Jackson gave himself an extra, fatal dose of the drug once Murray was out of the room.

Fleak combed through Jackson's bedroom with police after the singer's death.

"Would you agree with me that you made a substantial number of mistakes in your investigation?" Chernoff asked her.

Fleak denied that suggestion, but acknowledged that her original hand-written notes were destroyed when they were transferred into an official report. "I do that in all my cases," she added.

Chernoff questioned Fleak on her assertion that a bottle of propofol was found inside an IV bag.   Continued...