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Conrad Murray trial delayed because of death in witness’ family

October 17, 2011 |  8:43 am

Dr. Steven Shafer at the Conrad Murray trial

No testimony will be heard Monday in the trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the pop star's death.

The prosecution's main medical witness, Dr. Steven Shafer, has been on the stand, but a death in his family has led to a brief delay in the trial.

Shafer, a professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University, is considered a top expert on propofol, the surgical anesthetic that led to the singer's death. Shafer conducted the research that established dosing guidelines for the drug that were issued when it was introduced in the early 1990s for sedation and are still in use.

Full coverage: Trial of Michael Jackson's doctor

Shafer testified last week that propofol must be used very carefully. Even being "off by just a little" could result in a patient taking hours rather than minutes to wake up from sedation, he said.

Shafer is a longtime friend and colleague of Dr. Paul White, slated to be the defense's main medical expert.

Prosecutors said they expect to wrap up their case early this week after Shafer, their final witness, finishes his testimony.

Defense attorneys have said they expect to put on about 15 witnesses, including police officers, experts and character witnesses.


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Sleep doctor: Treating Michael Jackson with propofol "inconceivable"

-- Victoria Kim and Kimi Yoshino

Photo: Dr. Steven Shafer testifying last week in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. Credit: Robyn Beck / Pool