The doctor charged over Michael Jackson’s death told a judge he had not yet decided whether he will testify in his own defence.
Dr Conrad Murray, when asked whether he understood his options to testify or remain silent, told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor he would let the judge know his decision today.
“I will still need more time to talk to my counsel about it,” he said.
His comments outside the jury’s presence came with his trial nearing completion and at the end of a day when he heard his own expert witness say that he would not have accepted payment to do what Murray did for Michael Jackson - administering a hospital anaesthetic in the star’s bedroom.
“I wouldn’t even consider it,” Dr Paul White said. “It’s something no amount of money could convince me to take on.”
The use of the drug propofol to treat Jackson’s insomnia was “a complete off-label use of the drug”, he said. Dr White also acknowledged that the drug should never be given outside a medical facility because of the need for proper lifesaving equipment.
Dr White, a highly regarded and now-retired anaesthesiologist, is sometimes referred to as “the father of propofol” for his early research on the drug.
But in court he drew criticism from the prosecutor and censure from the judge who threatened to fine him $1,000 for contempt of court.
Dr White came under a bruising cross-examination by prosecutor David Walgren, who attacked the expert’s recent claim that Jackson caused his own death.
Mr Walgren questioned Dr White’s scientific calculations and noted he once led the defence to think Jackson drank an extra dose of propofol.
Dr White acknowledged he had done no research on that theory when he posed it. A study later showed the theory to be unsupportable, he said.
While stopping short of blaming Murray for the singer’s death, Dr White blurted out during cross-examination that he believed Murray had loaded a syringe with the drug propofol and left it where Jackson could have gained access to it.
That scenario had not been offered before and it could explain how a groggy Jackson could have awakened from sedation, grabbed the syringe and injected the drug into his IV line.
Defence lawyer J. Michael Flanagan tried to repair some of the damage by having Dr White justify Murray’s delay in calling emergency services for help when he found Jackson not breathing.
Dr White suggested by that time, Jackson was probably dead and it would not have mattered if paramedics were called quickly.
Murray has said he delayed calling emergency services while trying to give Jackson CPR.
Dr White also said it would not have helped if Murray had disclosed to paramedics or hospital workers that he had given Jackson propofol.
Murray did not mention the drug until two days after Jackson’s death, when he was interviewed by police.