Testimony: Doctor Gave Jackson Substandard Care

By: ANTHONY McCARTNEY - AP Entertainment Writer
By: ANTHONY McCARTNEY - AP Entertainment Writer

A judge has ordered the personal physician of Michael Jackson to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop superstar.

The ruling against Dr. Conrad Murray came Tuesday after a six-day preliminary hearing in Los Angeles.

Authorities contend the 57-year-old Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol mixed with other sedatives then failed to provide proper care.

The coroner who performed the autopsy on Jackson testified 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.

Christopher Rogers, chief of forensic medicine for the Los Angeles County coroner, was questioned Tuesday by Murray's lawyer.

Attorney J. Michael Flanagan suggested Jackson could have swallowed the drug, which is meant to be administered intravenously. While Rogers said that seemed unlikely despite the amount of it found in the singer's stomach, 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 an involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray.

A coroner's official also testified Jackson was mostly healthy, but the doctor charged in his death provided substandard care.

Dr. Christopher Rogers says Murray was improperly using the powerful anesthetic propofol to treat the musician for insomnia. He also says Murray was wrong to leave Jackson's side while he was under anesthesia.

Rogers says he does not believe the singer injected himself intravenously with propofol while the doctor was out of the room, which Murray's defense attorneys have suggested could have occurred.

The doctor has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys have said he did not give Jackson anything that should have killed him.

Murray could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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