- Associated Press - Thursday, December 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Attorneys for the doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death asked a judge on Wednesday to order testing on two syringes and an IV bag found in the pop singer’s home that they say are rapidly deteriorating.

The request comes after more than a month of private meetings between defense attorneys, prosecutors and the judge to try to reach an agreement about the testing.

Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense team has expressed urgency, saying fluids in the items are deteriorating rapidly and have become “salt” in one of the syringes.

The tests they are seeking may determine the quantities of drugs in the items, which the cardiologist’s lawyers say could be crucial information during trial. It is also expected to destroy the substances and not enough remains for multiple attempts, according to transcripts of the meetings obtained by The Associated Press.

Attorney J. Michael Flanagan told the AP that he submitted a motion Wednesday asking a judge to order the testing after being unable to reach an agreement with prosecutors about the testing. No hearing date has been set, he said.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death in June 2009 at age 50. Authorities say he gave the singer a lethal dose of sedatives, including the anesthetic propofol and painkiller lidocaine.

“We are running out of time,” Flanagan said.

An e-mail message left for district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Prosecutors have refused to agree to a testing plan. “We don’t think it is relevant,” prosecutor David Walgren said during a Dec. 16 meeting, according to a transcript.

Court transcripts obtained by the AP show that Murray’s defense attorneys, prosecutors and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor have spoken in chambers three times about the syringes and testing.

Transcripts from the meetings show Murray’s defense team is willing to have the items tested by the Los Angeles coroner’s office. The fluids have degraded and it remained unknown whether the proposed testing will yield useful information, according to the transcripts.

Murray’s attorneys contend testing, which would establish the quantities of the drugs, should have been done along with other tests after the singer’s death.

Flanagan said he had been trying to get the testing done for more than five months to no avail.

The results of the tests are not expected to be used during Murray’s preliminary hearing, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 4. At that hearing, Pastor will determine whether there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Walgren said during a meeting with the judge last week the hearing may be delayed a few days because of scheduling problems with witnesses. The prosecutor said he could call as many as 35 witnesses during the hearing, which is expected to last two to three weeks, according to a transcript of the in-chambers meeting.

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