October 28, 2011 / 2:46 PM / 8 years ago

Michael Jackson Likely Gave Himself Fatal Propofol Dose, Expert Says

During the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray on Friday, anesthesiologist Dr. Paul White testified for the defense that it's most likely Michael Jackson self-administered the dose of propofol that killed him on June 25, 2009.

While on the stand, White — who's expected to be the defense's final witness — contradicted theories presented earlier in the trial by propofol expert and prosecution witness Dr. Steven Shafer, White's close longtime colleague turned courtroom rival.

Also read: Michael Jackson's Fatal Bid for Normal Life Emerges at Trial

Using charts, diagrams and no small number of visual props, White sought to shoot down Shafer's contention that Murray had given Jackson a 1,000-milliliter infusion of propofol. According to White, the fact that there was no infusion set-up found at Jackson's home makes the infusion theory highly likely, and the prospect of infusion is inconsistent with the level of propofol found in the singer's body during his autopsy.

Asked by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan if he thought it was more likely that Jackson had self-injected the fatal dose between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m., White replied, "In my opinion, yes."

White also contended it was unlikely that the propofol had been infused via a bottle of the drug suspended inside a slit saline bag, such as the set-up that was found in Jackson's bedroom. Aside from there being no residual propofol in the bag or in the upper part of the IV line, propping the bottle up in a bag in that manner is unnecessary, since the propofol bottle had a clip for easy suspension from an IV rig.

"It's befuddling to me," White testified. "Why would you go to all the hassle?"

Court adjourned in the late morning so that Judge Michael Pastor ad opposing counsel could review elements of the case. Until Monday, here's a rundown of the day's courtroom proceedings.


Update 10:30 a.m.

Dr. Paul White said he believes after Michael Jackson was given a dose of propofol by Conrad Murray in the early morning hours of the day he died that the pop star took lorazepam pills on his own later that morning.

That would explain the levels of drugs found in Jackson's system in the autopsy, and is at the center of the defense's efforts to show Murray did not administer a fatal dose of drugs to Jackson.

Also of note in the courtroom today, Kathy and Rick Hilton — Paris' parents — are in attendance. Kathy Hilton confirmed to an HLN reporter on her way into the building that she grew up with Michael Jackson.

Previously ...

Anesthesiologist Dr. Paul White, who said he was not convinced Conrad Murray is responsible for Michael Jackson's death, will continue his testimony as the defense team's final witness in the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial today.

"I was somewhat perplexed at how a determination has been made that Dr. Murray was infusing propofol," White (pictured) said on Thursday. "It wasn't obvious to me. I thought there were questions."

The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Michael Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication," and that sedatives were also a factor. Prosecutors contend Murray is criminally liable for Jackson's June 25, 2009 death because he recklessly administered the propofol, a potent surgical anesthetic drug, and was negligent in properly monitoring Jackson.

Murray's defense is winding up its presentation by trying to answer the testimony earlier this month by prosecution propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer. Among Shafer's conclusions was that Murray had used an IV to deliver propofol to Jackson, and when the singer stopped breathing during the IV drip, Murray failed to notice.

CNN reports that White, who is scheduled for a contempt of court hearing for comments he made publicly about Shafer earlier this month, will likely finish his testimony today. The court will recess until Monday morning, when the prosecution will begin its cross-examination of White.

Closing arguments could happen as soon as Tuesday, and the trial that began on Sept. 27 should be in the hands of the jury by the middle of next week.

During Thursday's proceedings, defense addiction specialist Dr. Robert Waldman testified that the "stiff doses" of Demerol Jackson had received from Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein in the last months of his life could have left him dependent on the drug.

The defense was trying to illustrate that withdrawal from the Demerol could have caused Jackson's insomnia, leading Murray to treat it with propofol.

Read more: Conrad Murray Trial: Propofol Expert 'Only Suggested' Jackson Ingested the Drug

Murray faces up to four years in prison and loss of his medical license if convicted, though a new California law could mean his sentence would be reduced to two years and be served in a county jail.

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