Prosecutors wrapping up Michael Jackson death case

Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:30pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prosecutors were close to wrapping up their case in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor after a top state witness on Thursday slammed the physician's treatment of the late pop star.

Prosecutors, who called their last witness on Thursday, claim that Dr. Conrad Murray was negligent in caring for Jackson and is responsible for his death, which medical examiners said resulted from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and sedatives.

Murray has admitted giving Jackson propofol on June 25, 2009, the day the singer died, but maintains he is innocent, and his attorneys have said Jackson gave himself an extra, fatal dose of the drug he called his "milk" due to insomnia.

Prosecution witness Dr. Nader Kamangar, a sleep medicine expert, said Murray was reckless to give Jackson infusions of propofol and sedatives to get the singer to sleep after a strenuous rehearsal for a series of concerts in London.

"Mr. Jackson was receiving very inappropriate therapy in the home setting, receiving very potent sedatives including propofol, midazolam and lorazepam without appropriate monitoring by Dr. Murray, and ultimately this cocktail was a recipe for disaster in a patient that had underlying dehydration," Kamangar said in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Several doctors have criticized Murray's decision to give Jackson propofol, which can stop a patient from breathing, at home where there was not enough medical staff or life-saving equipment on hand.

But under cross examination, Kamangar, who was among a number of witnesses to slam Murray's treatment of Jackson, said a reliance on the painkiller Demerol could have led to insomnia, which Murray was trying to treat.

Kamangar also said his review of Jackson's records showed the singer received Demerol from Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein. The defense wants to show Jackson was dependent on drugs to help him sleep and Murray was simply dealing with problems caused by other doctors.   Continued...