The defense rested today in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's physician Dr. Conrad Murray without calling their most important witness to the stand: Dr. Murray himself. The physician could have lent some credence to his claims that Jackson injected himself with a deadly dose of Propofol by testifying about his experiences the night of June 25, 2009, but he instead opted, as is his right, to not take the stand. Murray's lawyers opened up the possibility of their client testifying yesterday, but today they informed the judge that they would rest their case with Propofol expert Dr. Paul White.
If this was a Hollywood courtroom drama, Murray would have taken the witness stand for what no doubt would have been the climax of the trial. Here in reality though, the doctor's two lawyers, Ed Chernoff and J. Michael Flanagan, argued over whether the defendant should testify. According to TMZ, Chernoff was adamant that Murray not testify, since the doc risked getting annihilated on cross-examination by the prosecution, who would love nothing more than to question Murray.
However, Flanagan has been watching the trial like all of us, and he knows that Murray stands a slim chance of acquittal unless he explains his side of the story. The jury has seen Murray cry during the trial, but they don't know much more about him other than he likes wearing beige suits to his trial (and that he's a terrible doctor). However, Chernoff won out, and the defense rested. Whatever Murray had to say in his own defense, he'll save it for the inevitable book deal that is coming his way.
At press time, the prosecution had concluded the rebuttal phase by recalling their own anesthesia expert Dr. Steven Shafer. The jurors are off tomorrow as the prosecution and defense will discuss "jury instructions," and closing arguments will begin on Thursday.
- Conrad Murray