Prosecutors ridicule Jackson self-injection scenario

Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:04pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An expert defense witness suggested on Monday that Michael Jackson could have risen from his bed, picked up a syringe left by his doctor and given himself a fatal dose of a powerful anesthetic in 2009.

But the testimony by Dr. Paul White in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray was ridiculed by prosecutors in an aggressive cross-examination of the final witness for the defense.

In a damaging day for Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson, White was forced to acknowledge he would never agree to give propofol to a patient in a bedroom to treat insomnia, as Murray has admitted doing.

Propofol, normally used to sedate patients before surgery, was ruled the chief cause of Jackson's death.

"It's something that no amount of money would convince me to accept or take on as a responsibility," White said.

Administering propofol for insomnia is "a complete off-label use" of the drug that "had not been studied," White said.

White, an expert on propofol, said that after Murray gave Jackson a relatively small dose of 25 milligrams of the drug, he might have walked out of the room and left a syringe with another 25 milligrams of the agent that Jackson called his "milk." Neither side in the case has said where a syringe might have been located.

Murray's attorneys have argued during the five-week-old trial that Jackson may have "self-administered" propofol, but they have until now provided few details.   Continued...

<p>Defense Attorney J. Michael Flanagan and defense witness Dr. Paul White (L) look at evidence during a redirect examination at the final stage of Conrad Murray's defense during his involuntary manslaughter trial in the death of singer Michael Jackson at the Los Angeles Superior Court in California October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/Pool</p>