- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors have rested their case at a preliminary hearing for a doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death, and both sides are awaiting a judge’s ruling on whether Dr. Conrad Murray will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.

Los Angeles Superior Judge Michael Pastor concluded the hearing Tuesday after six days of testimony from more than 20 witnesses who mostly detailed Murray’s actions during Jackson’s final hours.

Pastor must decide if there is enough evidence to merit a trial.

Prosecutors have contended the Houston-based cardiologist was on the phone and distracted after administering a powerful anesthetic to Jackson. They also presented evidence the singer was dead by the time Murray summoned help.

Murray is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of propofol mixed with other sedatives. He has pleaded not guilty.

His lawyers did not call any witnesses during the hearing.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A coroner who performed the autopsy on Michael Jackson testified Tuesday that the pop star’s death would have been classified a homicide even if the singer gave himself the final dose of the anesthetic propofol.

Dr. Christopher Rogers, chief of forensic medicine for the Los Angeles County coroner, was questioned by a lawyer for Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with causing Jackson’s death by administering a lethal dose of propofol and other sedatives and failing to provide proper care.

Attorney J. Michael Flanagan suggested Jackson could have swallowed the drug, which is meant to be administered intravenously. While Rogers said that seemed unlikely, he said it would not have made a difference in his finding of homicide because of inadequate care by Murray.

Flanagan’s inquiry was the first disclosure of how the defense plans to counter the involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray. The lawyer has suggested Jackson could have injected himself intravenously while Murray was out of the room.

The testimony came during an ongoing preliminary hearing after which Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor will decide if there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial.

Murray has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys have said he didn’t give Jackson anything that should have killed him.

In court, Flanagan displayed a chart showing the drug levels in Jackson’s blood at the time of the autopsy.

Flanagan asked Rogers, “If the ingestion (of propofol) is by the decedent (and) led to these blood levels, it would not be a homicide?”

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