The trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician

Tough Day for Defense's Final Witness in Murray Trial

Witness Dr. Paul White admits that Dr. Conrad Murray deviated from the standard of care.

By Olsen Ebright
|  Monday, Oct 31, 2011  |  Updated 8:02 PM PDT
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A heated day in court with  prosecutors grilling the defense's star witness. And, at one point, the judge sent the jury out of the room. NBC4's Patrick Healy reports.

Patrick Healy

A heated day in court with prosecutors grilling the defense's star witness. And, at one point, the judge sent the jury out of the room. NBC4's Patrick Healy reports.

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Scathing Cross-Examination for Medical Expert

Prosecutors go after the defense's final witness, repeatedly getting him to acknowledge he would not have cared for Michael Jackson the way Dr. Conrad Murray did.
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Monday marked another blistering day in the Dr. Conrad Murray trial with the prosecution ripping into a key witness for the defense, getting him to admit that Dr. Conrad Murray deviated from the standard of care.

Special Section: The Conrad Murray Trial

Defense expert Dr. Paul White returned to the stand Monday to defend his theory that the fatal dose for Michael Jackson came from Jackson himself, and was not due to the treatment by Murray.

But Deputy District Attorney David Walgren attempted to portray White as a mercenary for the defense, paid $11,000 so far. More damaging for Murray, Walgren repeatedly got White to acknowledge he would not have cared for Jackson the way Murray did.

"Have you ever administered propofol in someone's bedroom?" Walgren said.

"No, I have not," White said.

"Have you ever heard of someone doing that prior to this case?" Walgren said.

"No, I have not," White said.

Later, White said Murray's treatment of Jackson was different from how propofol is supposed to be used -- as an anesthetic used in hospital or clinical settings.

"This was an unusual case because the doctor was trying to allow the patient to achieve a sleep state," White said.

Walgren pushed White on Murray's failure to tell paramedics and doctors about the propofol he gave Jackson. White said perhaps Murray just overlooked it.

"It was obviously overlooked. He didn't tell them…," White said.

"Well, not obviously. It could also be a lie, correct?" Walgren said. "Correct? That's another option."

"If you say so, I guess. Ya," White said.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled White is not permitted to testify about his conversations with Murray. At one point, the judge had to interrupt testimony and admonish White after the researcher repeatedly referenced such conversations. The judge has excluded testimony about those discussions.

"Dr. White is trying to offer a response he thinks is helpful," Pastor said of White's comments.

Pastor warned White not to try to bring up the conversations or other excluded information again.

"It's deliberate and I don't like it," Pastor said. "It's not going to happen again."

White retired last year after conducting research on propofol before it was approved for use in the United States. He told jurors that he has been paid $11,000 for his work on the case so far.

White's testimony has put him at odds with his colleague and longtime friend, Dr. Steven Shafer, who testified for the prosecutor. Shafer said White's self-administration theory is not supported by the evidence in the case, in his view, and he called the theory "crazy" during his testimony earlier this month.

White and Shafer were colleagues at Stanford University and conducted research on propofol before it was approved for use in U.S. operating rooms in 1989. Both help edit a leading anesthesia journal. Until White's retirement last year, both were practicing anesthesiologists.

At the end of the day, Judge Pastor reminded the accused Dr. Murray that it's his decision whether or not he wants to testify. Murray did not rule it out and said he still wants to talk to his lawyers  further.

"Dr. Murray may be a little coy when he says to the judge he still hasn't decided," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes. "If I had a lot of spare money lying around, I would got to Vegas and put it all on no that he will not testify."

Apart from White, the defense decided they need to call another last-minute witness and the judge granted them permission to call the USC post-doc, who did the urine analysis of propofol.

The seven-man, five- woman jury could feasibly be given the case to begin deliberating late this week.

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