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Witness: Jackson gave himself fatal injection

An anesthesia expert testifying for the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death told jurors Friday he believes the pop superstar gave himself a fatal injection of an anesthetic.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An anesthesia expert testifying for the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death told jurors Friday he believes the pop superstar gave himself a fatal injection of an anesthetic. Dr. Paul White said the self-injection theory is the only one supported by the physician's statement to police and by evidence found at Jackson's rented mansion. White said he saw no evidence supporting the prosecution theory that Jackson's doctor was infusing the singer with propofol using an IV. The researcher said the evidence recovered in Jackson's bedroom was more consistent with the singer receiving the powerful anesthetic through an injection.

A prosecution expert had told jurors he believed Jackson's doctor used an IV drip of propofol and said that was the only way to explain the high levels of the drug found in the singer's body. White noted there were no IV bags or lines found in Jackson's bedroom that showed propofol residue throughout the lines. He also said the levels of propofol found in Jackson's urine did not support the IV theory. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. White's testimony was expected to end Murray's defense case after 16 witnesses. It likely will be vigorously challenged by prosecutors, who spent four weeks laying out their case that Murray is a greedy, inept and reckless doctor who was giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid in the singer's bedroom. Propofol is not intended as a sleep aid and, medical groups say, should be administered only in a hospital or surgical setting with advanced monitoring equipment. Cross-examination of White has been delayed until Monday to give prosecutors more time to review a new analysis prepared by the defense based on recently conducted tests of samples taken during Jackson's autopsy.

The judge hearing the case, which ends its fifth week Friday, reluctantly agreed to delay the cross examination and said he is concerned about losing jurors. Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, however, noted the panel has remained rapt throughout the trial. "Every single member of that jury and all the alternates are paying extraordinary attention to every witness," Pastor said. White told jurors he saw no evidence that Murray left Jackson on an IV drip of propofol when he left the room and returned to find the singer unresponsive June 25, 2009. White said the singer would have had to lie completely still to keep from disturbing the bottle under that scenario, and he has never heard of anyone using an IV saline bottle to suspend a bottle of propofol for a drip.

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White noted all bottles of the drug come with a tab on the side, which can be used to hang them from an IV stand. Defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan concluded his direct examination of White Friday morning, and the judge recessed the case until Monday. White performed clinical studies of propofol for years before it was approved for usage by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989. White initially was reluctant to become involved in the Jackson case. But he said after reading more than a dozen expert reports, he couldn't figure out how others came to the conclusion that Murray would have had to leave Jackson on a propofol IV drip for the singer to die with the anesthetic still coursing through his body.