Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense received yet another blow Monday when his most important witness was held in contempt of court and fined $1,000.
Charged with involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of Michael Jackson, Murray sought the help of Dr. Paul White, an expert in anesthesia.
White repeatedly violated court orders to by testifying about his private conversations with Murray, however, and the judge came down on him hard.
“Quite frankly, this constitutes direct contempt of court,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor told White, the defense team’s final witness.
White told the jury he believes that Jackson took extra doses of two drugs, including the powerful anesthetic Propofol, while Murray’s back was turned.
White suggested on Monday that while he thinks Michael Jackson killed himself, it wasn’t a suicide attempt and MJ didn’t know the “potential danger.”
Monday marked the second time Pastor held White in contempt – the first was October 21, when White called a member of the prosecution a vulgarity.
Yesterday’s sanction was ordered after an intense exchange between White and D.A. David Walgren, who grilled him about Murray’s medical decisions.
White conceded that it was unheard of for Murray to administer Propofol in a home setting, that Dr. Murray lacked sufficient monitoring equipment.
He was also forced to admit that Murray failed to write notes about his treatment of the pop singer, and that Murray should have called 911 sooner.
But White refused to call these “egregious” errors … despite prosecution witnesses rattling off 17 ways in which his care likely led to MJ’s passing.
When Walgren asked if it was true that Murray supplied Propofol, White countered that he understood that MJ procured his own Propofol stash as well.
He also said that he believed Jackson could have injected Propofol from a partially-filled syringe that Murray may have left in Jackson’s bedroom.
Pastor then sent the jury outside and complained that White was basing that on private conversations with Murray, rather than his statements to police.
Later in the day, White testified that he had additional information to share with the jury but the judge told him he couldn’t, holding him in contempt.
Closing arguments are expected to take place this week. It’s not looking good for the doc, who faces up to four years in prison if he’s convicted.