Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Lawyers drop Jackson drug claim

Lawyers have dropped their claim that Michael Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of drugs
Lawyers have dropped their claim that Michael Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of drugs

Lawyers for the doctor charged over Michael Jackson's death have dropped their claim that the pop star swallowed a fatal dose of the anaesthetic propofol while his physician was not looking.

The allegation had been a key tactic in the defence of Dr Conrad Murray.

Lawyer J Michael Flanagan told the judge at the Los Angeles trial that he had commissioned a study about the effects of propofol if swallowed. Findings showed that any effect from swallowing propofol would be "trivial", he said.

"We are not going to assert at any time during this trial that Michael Jackson orally administered propofol," Mr Flanagan added. It was unclear if the defence planned to argue that the singer might have injected himself with the fatal dose.

In recent days, Mr Flanagan has focused his questions to prosecution witnesses on the effect that the sedative lorazepam might have had on Jackson. Lorazepam was detected in his stomach contents after he died.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren and Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor appeared surprised by the disclosure, which was not made in front of jurors.

Lead defence lawyer Ed Chernoff said during opening statements on September 27 that his team would try to show that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose of propofol.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors are in the final stages of their case against Murray, with three expert witnesses set to testify about their impressions of Murray's actions in the days and hours before Jackson's death and his efforts to revive him.

Dr Alon Steinberg, a cardiologist, told jurors on Wednesday that Murray's conduct violated the standard of care in several ways. He said Murray lacked the propofol monitoring or life-saving equipment when he was giving Jackson the anaesthetic and other sedatives as a sleep aid.

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