Michael Jackson Trial: A Key Prosecution Assertion Challenged, While Defense Expert Charged with Contempt
The week ended with Dr. Shaffer’s testimony, but Dr. Shaffer’s testimony did not end with the week. Dr. Steven Shaffer will be back on the stand Monday, as expert witness for those trying to prosecute Dr. Conrad Murray, who either was or was not responsible for Michael Jackson’s fatal 2009 drug overdose.
There’s now drama in this trial that goes beyond Murray and Jackson. The drama makes its way to the witnesses, to Shaffer and an expert for the defense, a Dr. Paul White. The two of them used to be colleagues and close collaborators, even writing research papers together. Theirs is a relationship that reaches all the way back to 1978, when Shafer was a student of White’s at Stanford.
Now you have White talking outside the courtroom, to E! News, about how “I was his teacher as a medical student. The truth will come out. It always does.” White didn’t deny making the remark, although he did deny calling Shaffer “a scumbag,” as was also reported. The judge doesn’t care. The judge told White he isn’t to say anything else outside the courtroom “regarding the state of the evidence, witnesses, or your views as to any counsel in this case.” A contempt-of-court hearing has even been scheduled for White, for next month.
But the trial still has to be about Jackson and Murray, if Shaffer and White are even to matter. Shaffer believes Murray had set up for Jackson a propofol drip that ran continuously, with no supervision or human manipulation. He can’t prove it, though—proving it is impossible—and when Shaffer was cornered into conceding as much, he tacked around the issue by insisting that even if Jackson did have control, “It doesn’t change things at all. It would still be considered abandonment.”
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