Jackson doctor's attorneys challenge drug expert

Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:53pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray on Friday challenged a top anesthesiology expert over assumptions he made in a courtroom demonstration on how Murray could have given Michael Jackson a deadly drug infusion.

The cross examination of Dr. Steven Shafer came a day after the expert prosecution witness gave damaging testimony against Murray at his involuntary manslaughter trial in Jackson's 2009 death from an overdose of the drug propofol and sedatives.

Shafer had set up an IV drip system in court to suggest the way in which Murray might have wrongfully infused the powerful anesthetic propofol into the singer. But defense attorneys on Friday disputed whether such a system was ever used.

"You certainly do consider that what you have claimed occurred in this case is an extraordinary claim?" Ed Chernoff, the lead defense attorney, asked Shafer on the witness stand.

"Not at all," Shafer said.

But Chernoff did manage to get Shafer to admit that investigators did not find in Jackson's bedroom a vented IV tube with a plastic spike such as the one Shafer used in his demonstration for jurors.

Shafer testified Murray still could have used one and easily balled up the tube and pocketed it before leaving Jackson's Los Angeles mansion.

Jurors have heard prior testimony that an IV pole, saline bags and propofol vials were among the items found in Jackson's bedroom and closet after he died on June 25, 2009.   Continued...