As if Dr. Conrad Murray's defense team didn't have its work cut out for it already, the legal ensemble is starting to fracture amid reports of persistent infighting.
Ed Chernoff, Dr. Murray's lead attorney, is from Houston and had been staying with another member of the team, J. Michael Flanagan, to save Murray money.
But he moved out from Flanagan's digs a week and a half ago. "Ed didn't like the way Michael was handling the prosecution witnesses," says a close source.
Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.
"Ed felt that Michael was too abrasive and caustic with his questioning, and that Michael allowed witnesses to clarify points that only helped the prosecution."
"Things were getting very tense, and he's moved into a hotel in Santa Monica," a source close to Dr. Conrad Murray said, after the final straw this month.
Courtroom onlookers were stunned as Chernoff decided he was going to be handling the questioning of the DA's expert medical witness, Dr. Steven Shafer.
"Flanagan had prepared for approximately four months to cross examine Dr. Shafer," the insider said. "Michael was thoroughly prepared and ready.""When Ed told Michael that he would be handling Dr. Shafer, he felt like the rug was pulled out from under him. There is nothing Michael can do about it."
"Ed is the lead attorney in the case, but Michael was specifically brought on board to handle the medical aspects of the case, along with the witnesses."
"Ed and Michael are barely talking to each other... Michael, whose area of expertise is Propofol, has essentially been frozen out for the time being."
There is also the matter of a defense witness possibly being held in contempt of court for calling Deputy DA David Walgren a "scumbag" in a TV interview.
"Chernoff was LIVID that Dr. White, the defense's anesthesia expert, made those comments to the press, but his entire case essentially rests with him."
"Flanagan is still under the assumption that he will be handling questioning of Dr. White, but Ed could very likely commandeer the questioning of him also."
"Nareg Gourjian, the third lawyer on the team, is just keeping his head down, and staying out of the drama. Nareg will question several defense witnesses."
Read the full report at Radar Online.