It was another day of harsh criticism in the involuntary manslaughter case against Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray on Thursday (October 13). After nearly two weeks of the prosecution attempting to paint cardiologist Murray as a negligent, sloppy physician who did not take the proper precautions in safeguarding the health of the 50-year-old pop icon, the final two witnesses took the stand to wrap up the state's case.
» Dr. Nader Kamangar, sleep expert
» Dr. Steven Shafer, propofol expert
» UCLA sleep expert Kamangar told the court that Jackson appeared to suffer from insomnia caused by anxiety about performing and a possible drug problem that Murray should have evaluated before he began treating the singer with the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol, according to the Los Angeles Times. He referred to Murray's decision to give Jackson propofol and two other sedatives on the morning of June 25, 2009, a "recipe for disaster."
» A defense attorney asked whether some of the decisions Kamangar called "extreme deviations" from standard care could have directly caused Jackson's death. "The fact that he didn't write down his [Jackson's] vital signs ... that didn't kill Michael Jackson did it?" lawyer Michael Flanagan asked. "The failure to chart was not a cause of death, was it?" Kamangar replied that the charting itself was not, but that keeping proper records of how much and which kinds of medicine Jackson had received, as well as his level of hydration and blood pressure, were all crucial bits of data that were missing. "It's one of many factors," he concluded.
» In abbreviated testimony, leading propofol expert Shafer said he was hired 20 years ago by the company that makes the drug to help them figure out the correct dosages for the anesthetic.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter. He faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license. The prosecution was close to finishing the presentation of its case before the judge unexpectedly called for a weekend recess Thursday afternoon due to a scheduling conflict. The final prosecution witness will continue his testimony Monday before the defense begins calling its witnesses.
After suggesting in opening statements that they would argue that Jackson either swallowed or somehow dosed himself with propofol, Murray's defense team pivoted away from that tactic Wednesday when it became clear from expert testimony that it was not a viable line of defense.