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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Conrad Murray Trial: Defense Launches Its Case

Dr. Conrad Murray's defense team will begin calling witnesses to the stand Monday, responding to the strong prosecution case laid out over the last four weeks.

After four weeks of hearing the prosecution's case, the court will turn now to the defense's side in the Conrad Murray trial, as Murray's attorneys are expected to begin their case Monday. 

This marks the fifth week of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. 

Conrad Murray in court (Associated Press)
Conrad Murray in court (Associated Press)

The prosecution has focused on attacking Murray's testimony of how Jackson died, accusing him of gross negligence and repeated lying.  Much of the prosecution's case revolved around Murray's negligent ministrations of the anesthetic propofol, which he gave to the pop star to help him sleep.  

The defense faces the challenge of re-establishing Murray's shredded credibility, a task that some are calling "damage-control."

Murray's attorneys will begin calling witnesses to the stand after they finish cross-examening Dr. Steven Shafer, a key testimony in the prosecution's case.

Shafer accused Murray of being solely responsible for Jackson's death and for committing 17 violations of medical practice, any one of which could have injured or killed Jackson.  To illustrate Murray's negligence, Shafer drank propofol before the trial in an attempt to prove that Murray had to have put the singer on an IV drip of propofol and then left him unattended. 

"Brick by evidentiary brick, Shafer has built a wall of scientific reasons for the jury to conclude that Dr. Murray was criminally negligent," said Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor and trial attorney.  "It allows the prosecution to tell the jury that their case is built on science rather than shifting theories."

Murray's defense team will attempt to establish that there is reasonable doubt by calling a set of witnesses, which includes police detectives ignored by the prosecution, several character witnesses, and Dr. Paul White, a colleague of Murray's and Shafer's. 

Janet Jackson has rescheduled part of her Australian tour to return to Los Angeles to be with family during this portion of the trial. 




Charges against Conrad Murray

Conrad Murray Trial Enters Second Week

Neon Tommy: Michael Jackson's Death Revisited At Conrad Murray Trial


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