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Michael Jackson trial: Conrad Murray defense attacks prosecution witness

by Nicole
October 23, 2011 at 1:08 am

An attorney defending Michael Jackson’s personal physician in his manslaughter trial attacked the credibility of a key prosecution medical expert on Friday.

Murray’s attorney Ed Chernoff was cross-examining Dr. Steven Shafer, an anesthesiologist affiliated with Columbia University, who previously testified that the only plausible explanation for the death was that Jackson had been hooked up to an IV drip of the anesthetic propofol then left alone by Dr. Conrad Murray.

“That’s a bold claim, isn’t it,” Chernoff asked.

“It’s an honest statement,” Shafer replied.

Shafer also testified that even if MJ were able to start the IV drip on his own, Murray would still be held responsible for the death.

“If Michael Jackson had reached up, seeing the roller clamp, and opened [it] himself, this is a foreseeable consequence of setting up a dangerous way of giving drug [and] is in no way exculpatory for the fact that Dr. Murray was not present and permitted this to happen,” he said.

Based on Shafer’s testimony, the defense questioned whether the anesthesiologist was using medical knowledge or actually doing investigative work beyond his expertise.

“Everything you said in the last two days was your opinion. You do understand that, right? Do you understand that?” defense attorney Ed Chernoff asked Shafer.

“I stated my name, which I think is a matter of fact,” Shafer answered.

Another issue for the defense was Dr. Shafer’s prior testimony in which he mentioned that a Propofol IV drip was set up for Jackson by Murray but was never found in the bedroom of the late singer.

The defense argued that Dr. Shafer based his testimony on former witness Alberto Alvarez, which was called into question.

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