- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Defense attorneys for the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson began their case Monday after prosecutors presented a portrait of the physician as the inept, distracted engineer of the King of Pop’s death.

Among the first defense witnesses were Dan Myers and Orlando Martinez _ two Los Angeles police detectives who worked on the Jackson case.

Defense attorney Nareg Gourjian asked both about statements given by Jackson’s bodyguard Alberto Alvarez, who previously testified that defendant Dr. Conrad Murray told him to place some medical equipment and vials in a bag before calling 911.

The defense has contended that Alvarez may have changed his story to fit details released by coroner’s officials.

The lawyers also noted previously that the bodyguard did not mention that Murray told him to place the items in a bag until more than two months after Jackson’s death.

The first defense witness was Dona Norris, a records custodian for the Beverly Hills Police Department, who identified time stamps on records of the 911 call received on the day Jackson died.

The lawyers also questioned Alexander Supall, a Los Angeles Police Department surveillance expert who retrieved grainy surveillance footage shot outside Jackson’s home on the day of his death.

Supall, told jurors he only collected a few minutes of footage taken around the time Jackson arrived home after a June 25, 2009, rehearsal for his comeback concerts.

The defense, in a conference at the judge’s bench, made a routine motion for a directed verdict of acquittal for Murray, but it was not argued and the judge rejected it, saying he would allow the jury to decide the case.

Defense lawyers have said they will have 15 witnesses but have not publicly revealed whether they will call Murray to testify.

Jurors have heard from the doctor through a more than two-hour interview with police, and it seems unlikely his attorneys would subject their client to what would be blistering questioning from prosecutors.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier in the day after four weeks of testimony from 33 witnesses.

The defense then began its effort to counter damaging testimony that cast Murray as an opportunistic doctor who broke legal, ethical and professional guidelines to satisfy a patient who was paying him $150,000 a month.

Murray, a Houston-based cardiologist, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Dr. Steven Shafer, an expert on the anesthetic propofol who wove a net of scientific evidence around Murray, was the final prosecution witness. The defense has said it will present testimony from its own propofol expert to counter Shafer’s opinions.

Story Continues →