News

Testimony ends without Jackson doctor taking stand

Michael Jackson's doctor finally made a decision he had long delayed, telling a judge Tuesday he would not testify in his involuntary manslaughter trial.

Minutes later, the defense rested its case and the prosecution, after presenting brief rebuttal testimony, closed its presentation of evidence in the six-week trial. That set the stage for closing arguments to begin Thursday.

Dr. Conrad Murray's announcement came while jurors were out of the room and he was not asked to repeat it for them.

Spectators, including Jackson's mother, father, brother Randy and sister LaToya, seemed to hold their breath before Murray answered one of the biggest remaining questions of his trial, saying he would stay away from the witness stand.

The doctor held his hands together over his mouth in a prayerful pose before Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked the cardiologist whether he intended to take the stand.

The judge lectured Murray as he had before on how the decision to testify was his alone and that he also had the right to remain silent.

"Have you made up your mind?" Pastor asked.

Murray paused, looked at all his lawyers, seemed to sigh and said, "My decision is I will not testify in this matter."

The judge asked lead attorney Ed Chernoff if he had conferred with Murray about his rights and Chernoff said "yes."

"The court finds the defendant has knowingly, freely and explicitly waived his right to testify," the judge said. "I certainly will respect that decision."

Murray had left open the possibility of testifying on Monday, when he told the judge that he had not made a final decision.

The judge had warned him that testifying brought with it the prospect of tough cross-examination by the prosecution. That may have swayed him along with the fact that the jury already had a chance to hear him tell his story on a recording of a police interview.

When jurors returned to the courtroom, Chernoff announced that the defense had no further witnesses after calling 16 people to testify. A total of 49 witnesses testified for both sides over 22 days of trial.

Prosecutors contend Murray gave Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the bedroom of the singer's mansion. Defense attorneys claim Jackson self-administered the dose when Murray left the room.

  • Slideshow Photos

    AP

    MICHAEL JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    During his brilliant career, Michael Jackson changed not only music, but also his appearance. See how his looks evolved over the course of his fame.

  • MICHAEL JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1972 -

    Michael Jackson, 13, was the youngest member of the Jackson 5.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1977 -

    Michael Jackson of the Jackson 5 during the 1977 American Music Awards.

    AP / AP
  • Watchf Associated Press Domestic News  California United States APHS57308 NICOLETTE LARSON WITH MICHAEL JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1980 -

    Michael Jackson won three American Music Awards in 1980.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1984 -

    Michael Jackson is seen backstage at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1984.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1987 -

    Michael Jackson appears at the American Cinema Award gala on Jan. 9, 1987, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

    AP / AP
  • JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1992 -

    Michael Jackson as seen in New York in 1992.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1993 -

    Michael Jackson performs during a show at the National Stadium in Singapore during his 1993 "Dangerous" tour.

    C.F. Tham / AP / C.F. Tham / AP
  • MICHAEL JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1995 -

    Michael Jackson smiles for cameras at the announcement of nominations for the 1995 MTV Video Awards in New York City on July 25, 1995.

    AP / AP
  • JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    1998 -

    Michael Jackson gives an interview to the Associated Press in Detroit on July 8, 1998.

    AP / AP
  • JACKSON RICH

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2000 -

    Michael Jackson arrives at the G & P Foundation for Cancer Research's Angel Ball on Nov. 30, 2000, in New York.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2001 -

    Michael Jackson arrives at the University of Oxford Union in Oxford, England, on March 6, 2001.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2002 -

    Michael Jackson appeared at Al Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York on July 9, 2002.

    AP / AP
  • JACKSON

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2004 -

    Michael Jackson speaks at a news conference after his arraignment in his child molestation case at the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse, on April 30, 2004.

    AP / AP
  • The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2005 -

    Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County courthouse in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 27, 2005.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2007 -

    Michael Jackson poses in Los Angeles on Nov. 8, 2007.

    AP / AP
  • Michael Jackson

    The changing face of Michael Jackson

    of

    2009 -

    Michael Jackson at a press conference in London on March 5, 2009.

    AP / AP

The last witness was propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer, who was re-called by prosecutors as a rebuttal witness to address a few points raised by his former colleague Dr. Paul White.

In the final moments of testimony by White, he was asked by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan to differentiate between the "standard of care" and the "standard of practice" by physicians. Prosecution expert witnesses have said Murray's treatment of Jackson was an extreme deviation from the accepted standard of care.

"The standard of care is the ideal," White said. "It is what we would look for for every patient."

But he suggested there are unique situations in which the standard must be adjusted to circumstances and may not reach the highest level.

White has testified for the defense that Jackson caused his own death. But White also said he would not have followed the same procedures that Murray did.

Addressing the standard of care issue, Shafer said that in special cases such as that of Jackson, where a patient is treated in a remote location, the precautions should be above the standard of care, not below.

Noting that Jackson was given the drug propofol in his bedroom, he said, "If there was such a thing as bedroom-based anesthesia, the standard guidelines would be a minimum. There's no tolerance for error because you have no backup."

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. He could face up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted.

Should Dr. Murray have testified, or is there nothing he could say to clear himself? Tell us on Facebook.

0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP