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Conrad Murray judge won't allow new lab tests on evidence in case

November 21, 2011 | 12:54 pm

Judge Michael E. Pastor

A Los Angeles judge refused Monday to allow new laboratory tests on evidence used to convict Michael Jackson’s doctor.

In advance of Dr. Conrad Murray’s sentencing next week, his lawyers filed a motion Friday –- nine days after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter -- for additional analysis on the drug vial believed to have contained the fatal dose of the anesthetic that killed Jackson.

A lawyer for Murray, J. Michael Flanagan, said lab tests on the residue inside the vial might invalidate a theory proposed by a prosecution medical expert on the final day of the trial. That witness, Dr. Steven Shafer, suggested Murray had removed a small amount of the anesthetic propofol from the vial and then added another drug to prevent a burning sensation before hooking Jackson up to an intravenous drip.

FULL COVERAGE: Conrad Murray trial

At a hearing Monday, Flanagan told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor that tests on the ratio of the two drugs “could be material to confirm or negate this hypothesis.”

A prosecutor opposed the testing as “neither here nor there.”

“The trial is done. It was a fair trial,” Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren said.

The judge agreed, saying the defense should have asked to test the vial before the case went to the jury.

“This is not surprising evidence. This exhibit has been around since the inception of the case,” Pastor said, adding: “There is no justification for the court to respond favorably to this type of extraordinary motion.”

Murray, 58, faces a maximum of four years behind bars when he is sentenced Nov. 29. His lawyers have said he plans to appeal and Flanagan urged the court to preserve the vial carefully, suggesting that the defense might seek to test it as part of an appeal.


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Photo: Judge Michael Pastor gestures to defense attorney Edward Chernoff during opening arguments in Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Sept. 27. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times