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Friday 28 April 2017

Jackson's doctor 'may take the stand'

Murray facing a tough grilling over star's care

Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles

BRUISED and battered after a severe mauling from the prosecution in the Michael Jackson trial yesterday, there was only one question on the mind of the defence: whether to put Dr Conrad Murray on the stand.

The defence has been pummelled by a series of expert witnesses, who claimed that Dr Murray had given Jackson a lethal cocktail of drugs that should never have been prescribed.

After three weeks of often damaging evidence against the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death, legal experts say Dr Murray's version of events is riddled with inconsistencies.

Testifying comes with risks, if Dr Murray is unclear in telling jurors why he failed to have proper equipment on hand when Jackson died, and why he failed to disclose his use of the drug that ultimately caused Jackson's death.

"If I was defending, I would not put Murray on the witness stand. I think he would just get hammered," Beverly Hills defence attorney Mark McBride said.

Jackson died at age 50 of an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol and a cocktail of sedatives on June 25, 2009.

Prosecutors must convince the jury that Dr Murray was so negligent in his care of the 'Thriller' singer that it led to his death, just as he prepared for a series of London concerts. The doctor faces up to four years' prison if convicted.

Dr Murray has admitted giving Jackson a small dose of propofol after the singer begged him for the anaesthetic during a long, sleepless night. His defence says Jackson subsequently injected himself with an extra, fatal dose without Dr Murray's knowledge.

"The trouble is there is no evidence whatsoever that Michael Jackson did that. There are no fingerprints. Unless they have something I am unaware of, it is just a theory," said Los Angeles criminal defence attorney Steve Kron.

Dr Murray's attorneys are expected to call about 22 witnesses starting next week after the prosecution rests its case, which could come as soon as Monday.

Patients

Witnesses are expected to include former patients of the cardiologist, medical experts and Jackson's hairdresser.

They are likely to portray Dr Murray as a kind and conscientious doctor and press claims that Jackson was addicted to propofol and other drugs, making him a difficult patient.

Yet, Dr Murray faces many hard questions that have been raised in three weeks of the prosecution's withering attacks.

Legal experts say the defence must clarify why Dr Murray apparently failed to tell ambulance or hospital staff he had given the singer propofol and why, as alleged, he tried to hide vials of the anaesthetic when paramedics arrived to help Jackson.

Irish Independent

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