The seven-man, five-woman jury hearing the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the pop superstar’s death from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Jurors got the day off Wednesday to allow attorneys time to prepare their final arguments after 22 days of testimony from 49 witnesses.
Just before the defense rested its case Tuesday morning, Murray told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor outside the jury’s presence that he would not testify in his own defense.
The 58-year-old cardiologist faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the felony charge stemming from Jackson’s death at age 50 on June 25, 2009.
Prosecutors allege Murray gave the singer a fatal intravenous dose of propofol, then spent about 45 minutes on the phone or sending emails instead of monitoring him.
Jackson, who was in Los Angeles rehearsing for the “This Is It,” concert tour, died from acute propofol intoxication.
In his opening statement, lead defense attorney Edward Chernoff said the evidence would show Jackson self-administered a dose of propofol after Murray left the bedroom at Jackson’s rented Holmby Hills estate, which created a perfect storm and killed him instantly.
Murray told police he only left Jackson’s side for about two minutes to use the bathroom after giving the singer a 25-milligram dose of propofol that was slowly infused over three to five minutes beginning at about 10:40 a.m.
The prosecution presented telephone records showing telephone calls from Murray’s two cellular phones in the hours leading up to Jackson’s death.
The calls included a 32-minute call made from one of Murray’s cell phones to his Las Vegas office and an 11-minute call to Sade Anding, a Texas cocktail waitress who prosecutors believe was talking with Murray when he discovered Jackson was not breathing.
One of the prosecution’s key witnesses, Dr. Steven Shafer, told jurors during the trial that he believes Jackson died while being given a “drip” of propofol that ran until all 1,000 milligrams in the bottle had been infused into the singer. The prominent anesthesiologist also testified that Murray committed 17 “egregious” violations during his treatment of Jackson.
His counterpart on the defense, Dr. Paul White, told jurors that he believes Jackson self-administered a fatal dose of 25 milligrams of propofol between 11:30 a.m. and noon that day. He also agreed with the defense’s theory that the singer had given himself eight 2-milligram tablets of the sedative lorazepam in the hours leading up to his death.
While Murray did not testify, jurors heard his tape-recorded interview with Los Angeles police conducted two days after Jackson’s death.
During the interview at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, Murray told detectives that the singer had pleaded with him to give him the medication he called “milk” so he could fall asleep and not have to cancel the day’s rehearsal.
Murray told police he had been administering 50-milligram doses of propofol to Jackson but was trying to wean him off the medication and only gave him 25 milligrams the day the entertainer died — in part because of other medications he had already given him.
Two other health care professionals testified that they refused Jackson’s request for intravenous sleep medication just over two months before his death.
Dr. Allan Metzger, who had periodically treated Jackson for years, told jurors that he explained to Jackson on April 18, 2009, that intravenous sleep medication was dangerous, life-threatening and should not be done outside a hospital.
Metzger, called to the stand by the defense, said he never gave Jackson propofol and that no amount of money would have convinced him to give the powerful anesthetic to the singer, who he said had issues with sleep for years.
Nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee testified that Jackson asked her for Diprivan — a brand name for propofol — on April 19, 2009, one day after Metzger’s visit to the entertainer’s rented home.
She said she told him that it was not a medication to be used to treat insomnia and not safe to be used at home, but that Jackson told her that doctors have told him that it was safe as long as a physician monitored him while he slept.