Defense drops claim Jackson swallowed propofol himself

Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:02pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A cardiologist testified on Wednesday that Michael Jackson's physician made major mistakes in giving the singer the anesthetic propofol to help him sleep and the doctor's lawyers made an adjustment in their strategy.

Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray told the judge in his manslaughter trial that they were dropping their claim that Jackson swallowed propofol when Murray was out of the room. The defense still is arguing that the singer could have injected himself with an extra, fatal dose on June 25, 2009.

"We are not going to assert at any point in time in this trial that Michael Jackson orally ingested propofol," Murray's attorney J. Michael Flanagan told the judge.

Murray has admitted giving the 50-year-old Jackson 25 milligrams of propofol.

With the jury out of the courtroom on Wednesday, Murray's attorneys and prosecutors presented medical studies to the judge that have shown propofol has no major effects on a person when swallowed.

Dr. Alon Steinberg, a cardiologist who reviewed Murray's treatment of Jackson for the California medical board, said even if the singer administered propofol to himself, the physician still would be responsible for his death.

"It's like leaving a baby that's sleeping on your kitchen countertop," Steinberg said. "You look at it and it's probably going to be OK and you're just going to go grab some diapers or go to the bathroom but you would never do it."

Steinberg said Murray displayed six "extreme deviations" from the generally accepted standard of care.   Continued...