Michael Jackson likely helped himself to extra doses of two potent drugs while his personal physician Conrad Murray's back was turned, the defense's final witness told jurors on Friday.
Murray's lawyers long have asserted that Jackson caused his own death, although the expert, Dr. Paul White, says he had backed away from an earlier theory that Jackson drank the anesthesia propofol after determining that orally consumed propofol has little effect.
Instead, White told the jury, in Jackson's last minutes of consciousness, the sleepless superstar took several pills of the powerful sedative lorezepan and then injected the propofol.
"You think it was a self-injection of propofol between 11:30 and 12?'' defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan asked.
"In my opinion, yes," White responded.
Murray's involuntary manslaughter case should go to the jury next week, after the prosecution cross-examines White who, like the prosecution's star witness, Dr. Steven Shafer
, is an anesthesiologist and propofol expert.
But Jackson's family, which has attended trial every day, wasted no time denying that Michael was responsible for his own death. His sister La Toya Tweeted: "MICHAEL DID NOT KILL HIMSELF!!! HE WOULD NEVER DO THAT!!!!!!"
Prosecution witnesses say Murray not only gave too much propofol, he also failed to properly monitor Jackson, botched CPR and waited too long to call 911 – issues White did not address.
Legal analyst Stan Goldman says he believes the prosecution has proven Murray was negligent, but still might not win a conviction if at least some jurors believe White may be right.
"I think getting a not guilty is an incredible long-shot and even a hung jury is unlikely, but if White can survive cross-examination, it gives the defense some hope that didn’t exist before," says Goldman, a Loyola Law School professor who has been in the courtroom.
"Even though the defense won't persuade the jury that Murray wasn’t negligent, if the jury thinks Jackson may have taken the drugs himself, Murray has a chance of not being convicted."