- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors plan to wrap up their case against the doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death by calling three experts intended to help jurors make sense of the complex medical evidence they have been presented.

Prosecutors told a judge overseeing the involuntary manslaughter case against Dr. Conrad Murray that their remaining witnesses will include experts in cardiology, pulmonary and sleep issues and a leading researcher on the anesthetic propofol, which is blamed in the pop star’s death, a transcript shows.

The government’s case against Murray may conclude late this week or early next, although an exact timetable remains unclear. Murray’s defense attorneys are likely to vigorously challenge the experts, especially Dr. Steven Shafer, a researcher and Columbia University professor who will be called upon to explain propofol and its effects.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told a judge he plans to call Shafer as his final witness.

Murray’s attorneys are expected to present a defense case that includes their own witness on propofol.

Authorities say Murray gave Jackson a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic in June 2009. Murray has pleaded not guilty in the case. The Houston-based cardiologist’s lawyers say that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose.

The other experts are Dr. Elon Steinberg, a cardiologist, and Nader Kamanger, an expert in pulmonary and sleep issues.

Prosecutors hope the trio’s testimony will support their contentions that Murray acted recklessly by giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid in the singer’s bedroom.

The outside experts’ testimony comes a day after a medical examiner told jurors that it was unreasonable to believe that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose of propofol when Murray left the room for only two minutes.

Dr. Christopher Rogers, who conducted the autopsy on Jackson, testified Tuesday it was more likely that Murray overdosed the singer when he incorrectly estimated how much of the drug he was giving Jackson to induce sleep to fight insomnia. He said Murray had no precision dosing device available in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented mansion.

“The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self-administration of propofol,” said Rogers, chief of forensic medicine in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

Rogers analyzed two possible scenarios for Jackson’s death. The first was the defense theory that while Murray stepped away to go to the bathroom, Jackson gave himself an extra dose of the drug he called his “milk.”

“In order for Mr. Jackson to have administered the propofol to himself, you would have to assume he woke up and although he was under the influence of … propofol and other sedatives, he was somehow able to administer propofol to himself,” Rogers testified.

“Then he stops breathing and all of this takes place in a two-minute period of time,” Rogers said. “To me, that scenario seems less reasonable.”

“Less reasonable than what?” Walgren asked.

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