After taking the day off Friday just as the prosecution was preparing to wrap up its case, the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is on hold due to the death of the father of the prosecution's final witness.
According to CNN, the Los Angeles Court public information office sent out a notice Sunday explaining that details on the resumption of the trial will be sent out "when further information is available." After two weeks of evidence attempting to portray Murray as negligent and reckless in his care for Jackson, the prosecution was close to wrapping up its part of the case when testimony was suspended Friday to allow final witness Dr. Steven Shafer to travel to a previously scheduled anesthesiology conference in Chicago.
But, en route to the conference, Shafer learned that his father had died, and he never made it to the event. Shafer, described as a highly respected anesthesiologist and pharmacologist, was expected to testify about the effects of the surgical anesthetic propofol on the human body. Jackson died as a result of propofol intoxication, and the case against Murray hinges on the prosecution's theory that the cardiologist gave the pop icon a lethal dose of the drug and then provided substandard care when Jackson went into cardiac arrest as a result.
The Associated Press reported that the trial will resume Wednesday, after the judge in the case agreed to give the defense more time to prepare their response to tests the coroner's office conducted last week on the level of the sedative lorazepam in Jackson's system.
Shafer is also expected to give a key piece of evidence to counter the defense's claim that Jackson self-administered the fatal 25mg dose of propofol through an IV catheter in his leg.
After pursuing a strategy in which the defense intended to portray Jackson as having taken the deadly dose of propofol by himself when Murray was out of the room, the doctor's legal team pivoted last week and appeared set on focusing on an allegedly self-administered overdose of lorazepam instead.
Once Shafer gives his testimony, the defense will present its case and call an estimated 15 witnesses, which could take the testimony through Friday or next Monday.