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Jacko 'injected killer drug himself'

2011-10-29 11:37
Los Angeles - Michael Jackson likely injected himself with a fatal dose of propofol without his doctor's knowledge, a star witness said on Friday as lawyers for accused medic Conrad Murray wrapped up their case.

The King of Pop probably also took a number of pills of the sedative lorazepam in the hours before his death in 2009, said Dr Paul White, the final witness at the manslaughter trial.

"So you think it was self-injection of propofol .. between 11:30 and 12 o'clock that did it?" Murray's defence attorney Michael Flanagan asked White, after complex testimony about what exactly Jackson could have taken and when.

"In my opinion, yes," said the respected anaesthesiologist, who over two days refuted a string of arguments made by the prosecution about how Murray allegedly gave Jackson an overdose of cocktail of medicines.

Jackson was found to have died of "acute propofol intoxication," combined with sedatives lorazepam and midazolam on June 25, 2009 at his Los Angeles mansion, where Murray was treating him for insomnia.

Extra lorazepam

In a police interview played during the trial, Murray said he gave Jackson two doses of lorazepam and two of midazolam by intravenous (IV) injection, before relenting and giving him 25mg of propofol after a sleepless night.

Murray said he only left the star for two minutes to go to the bathroom, and returned to find him lifeless.

Defence lawyers said at the start of the trial on September 27 that they would argue that Jackson took more propofol himself, as well as eight two-milligram lorazepam pills - enough to put six people to sleep.

White, after being questioned about complex theories to do with levels of drugs in urine and blood, said on Friday that he believed Jackson took extra lorazepam while Murray was out of the room.

The fact that traces of lorazepam were found in his stomach "tells me that Mr Jackson had taken oral lorazepam at some time prior to his demise," he told the court.

White also disputed the findings of a key prosecution witness, Dr Steven Shafer, who told the court last week that he believed Jackson died while being given propofol via an IV drip.

"Do you reject this as being a possibility of occurring on the night Michael Jackson died?" Flanagan asked him.

"Yes, I do," the anaesthesiologist replied, adding that he could not understand how it would be possible for Jackson to have received a three-hour infusion of propofol.

'Caring' attitude

White was the last witness presented by the defence, which began its case on Monday after four weeks of prosecution testimony heavily implicating Murray over Jackson's death at the age of 50.

On Tuesday, a nurse who treated the singer told how he begged to be given a propofol drip two months before he died, saying medics had assured him it was safe.

On Wednesday, a string of former patients of Murray praised his "caring" attitude and denied he was greedy for the $150 000 a month salary he was being paid by Jackson.

On Thursday, addiction specialist Robert Waldman told the court that Jackson was probably addicted to the painkiller Demerol, prescribed by a Beverly Hills dermatologist for months before his death.

After White's appearance on Friday morning, the court adjourned early for the weekend, to give the prosecution time to consider his complex testimony before they cross-examine him on Monday.

The 58-year-old Murray faces four years in jail if found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a seven-man, five-woman jury. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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