Man who declared Jackson's death a homicide says it's highly unlikely that the singer could have self-administered the fatal propofol dose
The involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray provided plenty of accusations all around Tuesday. Dr. Christopher Rogers, who initially deemed Michael Jackson's death a homicide, questioned Murray's assertion that Jackson could have dosed himself with propofol while under the influence of an anesthetic. Meanwhile, the court heard the conclusion of Conrad Murray's interview with cops, during which Murray told police that Jackson visited Dr. Arnold Klein three times a week, and would emerge from the visits "basically wasted."
Lots of pointed fingers, but where is it all heading? Time will tell. Until then, point your finger toward your mouse, scroll down, and read our full account of Tuesday's court proceedings.
Update, 12:21 PT:
Dr. Christopher Rogers, the deputy medical examiner of the Los Angeles Coroner's Office who deemed Michael Jackson's death a homicide, took the stand during Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial Tuesday and questioned Murray's account of the events that preceded Jackson's death.
Rogers (pictured) called into question Murray's statement to police that Jackson administered the fatal dose of propofol to himself and stopped breathing during a two-minute bathroom break that Murray took after administering an initial dose of the drug to the singer.
"In order for Mr. Jackson to administer the propofol to himself, you would have to assume that Mr. Jackson woke up, although he was at least to some extent under the influence [of propofol and other sedatives], he was somehow able to administer propofol to himself," Rogers told the court.
Combined with the amount of time it would take for the propofol to circulate to Jackson's brain, "all of this in two minutes," Roger's noted, Murray's explanation of events is unlikely.
"To me, that scenario seems less reasonable" than other explanations, Rogers said.
Rogers also questioned the wisdom of Murray administering propofol to treat Jackson's insomnia.
"The problem that Mr. Jackson was having was that he couldn't sleep, and it's not appropriate to give a patient propofol in that situation," Rogers testified. "The risk outweighs the benefit."
The coroner's office employee also noted that the home setting for the administering of propofol — with no EKG monitor, no precision dosing device, and inadequate resuscitation equipment — was far from ideal.
Regarding Jackson's overall heath, Rogers testified that the singer appeared to be in good shape, with a body-mass index within the normal range (albeit on the thin side), no signs of heart disease, and no atherosclerosis in his coronary arteries despite that being a common condition for people Jackson's age.
Rogers also noted that there was no white, milky substance in Jackson's esophagus or stomach — suggesting that, even if Jackson did manage to self-administer the fatal dose of proposal, he didn't do so orally.
Update 10:50 p.m.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff is interviewing Los Angeles police detective Scott Smith about the investigation at Michael Jackson's house after MJ's death. Just before Judge Michael Pastor called for the morning break, Chernoff questioned Smith about how the house was left open, meaning anyone could have gone in and disturbed potential evidence.
Day 10 of the trial kicked off with the rest of the tape of Conrad Murray's interview with cops, taped two days after Jackson's death.
Among the revelations in the approximately 45-minute long playback:
- Murray had been told by various members of Jackson's production team that after Jackson made thrice-weekly visits to Dr. Arnold Klein's office in Beverly Hills, he would be "basically wasted" and need 24 hours to recover.
- Murray had treated many health conditions for Jackson, including painful foot callouses that had built up from years of Jackson's dance performances, and an eye condition which left Murray wondering if Jackson was "legally blind."
- Murray on how Paris Jackson, MJ's daughter, reacted to her father's death: "I will wake up in the morning, and I won't be able to see my daddy."
- Murray was concerned about how Jackson's mother, Katherine, would take the news of her son's death, especially because she has a heart condition.
- Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, did not show up at the hospital with the rest of the family after MJ had been taken to the emergency room.
- Jackson's children asked to see their father's body after being told he died; Murray said he asked hospital staff to make the body as presentable as possible so as to disturb the children as little as possible.
As Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial begins its third week today, jurors will hear Murray tell police about another doctor he says was giving Michael Jackson drugs and about how devastated Jackson's children were after the singer's death.
The tape of the final 45 minutes of Murray's two-hour interview with Los Angeles police investigators is expected at the start of the proceedings on Tuesday. The interview took place on June 27, 2009, two days after Jackson's death.
CNN.com reports that Tuesday's portion of the interview will include Murray's assertion that he didn't know Jackson was taking medications from other doctors, but that he had "heard" Jackson was seeing Beverly Hills dermatologist Arnold Klein three times a week.
Murray said he'd been told Jackson would return from those visits to Klein "basically wasted" and requiring "24 hours for recovery."
Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, suggested in his opening statement that Jackson was addicted to the pain reliever Demerol, and that it was given to him by Klein. The defense theory is that Jackson had trouble sleeping because he was experiencing withdrawal from the Demerol, and that Murray gave the singer propofol to help him sleep and be ready to rehearse for his planned comeback concert performances.
The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication," and that sedatives were also a factor. Prosecutors contend Murray is criminally liable for Jackson's death because he recklessly administered the propofol, a potent surgical anesthetic drug, and did not properly monitoring Jackson.
Also in Tuesday's recording — which will likely be the only time jurors hear Murray's version of events, since his lawyers do not plan to put him on the witness stand — Murray will talk about how Jackson's children reacted to his death.
"After they cried and cried and cried, then his daughter uttered a lot of words of unhappiness and, you know, she will live alone without her dad and she didn't want to be an orphan," Murray said of Jackson's daughter, Paris.
"She asked me, 'Dr. Murray, you said you save a lot of patients. You know, you save people with heart attacks, and you couldn't save my dad,'" Murray said in the interview. "I said, 'I tried my best.' And she said, 'I know that, Dr. Murray. At least I know. I know you tried your best. I know you tried your best, but I'm really sad. You know, I will wake up in the morning, and I won't be able to see my daddy.'"
On Friday, jurors heard the first portion of the interview, in which Murray said he left Jackson for just two minutes before returning to find his client wasn't breathing. Cell phone records and previous testimony indicate Murray was making calls and sending and receiving e-mails and text messages for at least 30 minutes before Jackson died.
Jurors also heard Murray explain that he didn't immediately call 911 because he was trying to resuscitate the superstar.
Murray faces up to four years in prison and loss of his medical license if convicted.
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