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Michael Jackson's onetime physician asks for delay in trial; feels 'sandbagged' by new theories

April 29, 2011 |  6:44 pm

Murray Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray asked a judge on Friday for a delay in the physician’s trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, saying that they had been “sandbagged” with new scientific theories by prosecution witnesses on the eve of the trial.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said he would hold a hearing on the motion for a continuance Monday, but noted the time and expense the high-profile trial has already taken. The judge said the preparations have cost “funds in excess of six figures,” and that about two dozen cases have had to be rescheduled.

Defense attorneys said they needed the additional time because of new medical expert reports turned over by prosecutors.

In one of those reports, Dr. Steven Shafer, an anesthesiologist, concluded that it was impossible for Michael Jackson to have swallowed the fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, attorneys told the judge.

The opinion contradicts the defense’s contention that the singer was desperate for sleep so that he could be ready for rehearsals for his comeback tour and drank or injected himself with the drug while Murray was out of the room.

“Dr. Shafer says categorically, it’s not possible Michael Jackson orally ingested propofol, based on the science,” Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren told Pastor on Friday. Attorneys during the hearing did not go into detail about why the expert reached that conclusion or what the science behind the opinion was.

--Victoria Kim

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray Credit: Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times