Defense Begins Case in Michael Jackson Doctor's Trial

Defense attorneys in the Michael Jackson doctor trial are likely to argue the King of Pop self-administered a fatal dose of a powerful sedative

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    AP
    Conrad Murray watches the testimony of paramedic Richard Senneff during Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Al Seib, Pool)

    Michael Jackson's personal physician has been called inept, frantic, distracted, self-serving and irresponsible during testimony from 33 prosecution witnesses in the doctor's involuntary manslaughter trial.

    On Monday, defense attorneys began countering those claims with testimony from their own witnesses. The defense began with testimony from Donna Norris, a member of the Beverly Hills Police Department, after Conrad Murray's attorneys finished questioning a key prosecution drug expert who has been on the stand since late last week.

    Dr. Steve Shafer's scathing criticism of Murray's care for Jackson began late last week. He claimed a series of errors, including Murray's failure to provide proper monitoring equipment at the rented Holmby Hills mansion where he was caring for Jackson, led to the pop superstar's death.

    Shafer is considered a leading expert of the drug blamed in Jackson's death -- propofol. In an interview with Los Angeles Police Department investigators two days after Jackson's June 25, 2009 death, Murray said he gave the superstar the powerful surgical sedative after Jackson pleaded with him for something to help him sleep.

    Rival Experts Take Center Stage in Murray Trial

    [LA] Rival Experts Take Center Stage in Murray Trial
    As trial of Jackson personal doctor Conrad Murray shifts from prosecution to defense, the focus is on longtime medical colleagues and friends turned rivals.

    Prosecutors played that two-hour interview for jurors earlier in the trial, and it's likely that will be the only time jurors hear from Murray -- the Houston-based cardiologist probably will not be called to the stand. Defense attorneys will probably call on police detectives, character witnesses, their own propofol expert and other medical experts to make their case.

    The defense is expected to argue that Jackson self-administered the fatal dose of propofol when Murray was out of the bedroom June 25, 2009. They also might argue that Jackson swallowed several pills of the sedative lorazepam.

    "People don't just wake up hell-bent to grab the next dose in the syringe, draw it and shove it in the IV again. It's a crazy scenario," said Shafer. "(Murray) is responsible for every drop of propofol in that room, every drop of lorazepam in that room.''

    The defense case might wrap up late this week. Attorneys expect to call about 15 witnesses.

    As the trial nears a close, Jackson sister Janet Jackson announced she will reschedule a series of concerts in Australia to be with her family in Los Angeles.

    Murray has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail and loss of his medical license.