M.J. Trial Week End Review: The Prosecution Rests & Week 4
In the Courtroom
The prosecutors concluded their case on Monday of week 5 because week 4 was another shortened trial week due to the sudden death of Dr. Steven Shafer’s father. The prosecution questioned 33 witnesses, including their final three experts who said that Dr. Conrad Murray committed many inexcusable violations of medical practices that made him solely responsible for the Michael Jackson’s death.
Dr. Shafer was an unpaid expert for the prosecution. Shafer is considered by many, the leading expert on the powerful anesthetic, propofol, that is considered the primary cause of Michael Jackson’s death. Dr. Shafer is a Columbia University researcher and professor. He was contracted by the FDA to assist in testing propofol prior to its distribution and use on the market. Dr. Shafer worked pro bono because he felt compelled to explain to the world that propofol is a safe drug if administered properly. He also stated that physicians’ reputations were being tarnished due to the deviant actions of Dr. Murray.
Dr. Shafer came to many of his conclusions based on the statements Dr. Murray gave to the police two days after Michael Jackson’s death. According to Dr. Murray’s statement, he had been giving Michael propofol almost every night for more than two months. Dr. Shafer testified that it is his opinion that a propofol overdose killed Jackson. However, in light of the fact that Dr. Murray had been giving Michael so many different drugs, and he kept no records on how much or how frequently he gave the drugs, it was difficult to determine the exact effect of each drug. Dr. Shafer displayed graphs and offered numerous demonstrations to explain propofol; the various ways that it can be given intravenously and how propofol should “properly” be administered.
In preparation for this trial, Dr. Shafer conducted experiments that proved orally ingesting propofol will not kill a human. (It should be noted, that prior to Dr. Shafer’s testimony, the defense informed the judge and the prosecution that they would not forward the theory that Michael Jackson drank propofol as inferred in their opening statement). Dr. Shafer testified that the only possible explanation for Michael’s death, based on the evidence, was that Dr. Murray put Michael on an IV drip of propofol, then left the room after Michael fell asleep, and at some point he stopped breathing. Dr. Shafer testified that Murray could have saved Michael had he been at his side and had the proper monitoring and life-saving equipment in the room.
Dr. Shafer passionately stated that Dr. Murray committed 17 “egregious violations” of medical practices, each of which could have led to Michael’s serious injury or death. During cross examination, the defense tried to show that Dr. Shafer’s testimony is only “opinion” and not “fact”. They also attempted to the show that Dr. Shafer is an overtly bias witness for the prosecution. The defense expert witness, Dr. Paul White, who was once a friend and colleague of Dr. Shafer, sat behind the defense table feverishly taking notes and handing them to the defense attorney.
Despite the very scientific nature of the Dr. Shafer’s testimony, the jurors were very engaged, took many notes and seemed to like Dr. Shafer. The jurors laughed at his jokes, and followed his demonstrations very closely by sitting at the edge of their seats to gain a better perspective. Shafer was the final prosecution’s witness and immediately thereafter, the defense began its case. The defense case is expected to include 15 witnesses and last three to four days.
Outside the Courtroom
The scene outside of the courtroom is still filled with only Michael Jackson supporters. Although Dr. Murray has supporters on the streets, I haven’t encountered one supporter on the 9th floor sitting outside of the courtroom. Michael Jackson supporters don’t necessarily agree why or how Michael Jackson died, but they agree that Dr. Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. As the supporters watch the trial on their Smartphones or iPads, they are joined by journalists who are doing the same. Whereas the supporters talk amongst themselves about the testimony, the journalists are silent, ears straining to hear every word, while typing rapidly.
The supporters continue to stand when the the Jackson family enters and leaves the courtroom. Randy and Rebba Jackson have been the most constant Jacksons in court daily. Mrs. Katherine Jackson is clearly the glue that holds the family together and the children always support her by holding her hand or wrapping their arm around her shoulder as she walks down the hallway. She is not frail, she is stately and graciously acknowledges Michael’s fans with a smile. Janet Jackson has not been in court over the past week due to concert commitments in Australia. She has indicated that she is cancelling upcoming concerts so that she can return to Los Angeles and resume her seat on the second row in the involuntarily manslaughter trial against Dr. Conrad Murray.
On the Streets
The supporters for Michael Jackson and Conrad Murray have begun to engage in contentious arguments and shouting matches. As the intensity of the trial has increased inside, so to has the tenor of the supporters on the streets. There is yelling, name calling, and even a brief tussle. Dr. Murray’s most vocal supporter, who arrives daily with her posters, is Beatrice Fakhrian. Beatrice is a very outspoken and strong-willed woman who has learned over the past three weeks how to stand alone in support of Dr. Murray. She yells to the Jackson family upon their arrival that Dr. Murray is a “good man”. She is not be intimidated by the taunts by Michael Jackson fans or the bevy of posters, pictures and creative memorabilia.
Michael Jackson was arguably the most famous performer in the world and his support has been worldwide. There have been fans who have traveled from around the world, to stand with banners they made in their homeland, flown across the waters, to display in front of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center courthouse. I had the opportunity to meet with Zahra El Boukhari from Paris, France. Zahra and her traveling companion traveled to Los Angeles last week and are planning to stay for three weeks. Zahra has been watching the trial daily in Paris via the internet. She says that “trials in France are taken very seriously” and many people are following the Dr. Conrad Murray trial. Zahra is a travel agent, and her trip will cost her in excess of $4,000. She has 2 adult children and has left 2 young children with her mother during her visit to the States. Zahra has been a fan of Michael Jackson since the early 1980′s. She is also the president of a non-profit organization called “Les Minis Michael”. The organization teaches its 30 young participants Michael Jackson dances, Michael Jackson philanthropic philosophies, as well as, English and Science. Yearly, the students perform a recital of Michael’s dances and donate the proceeds to hospitals. “We teach the children to love like Michael, not just dance like Michael” says Zahra.
Behind Zahra, with four huge signs, stood Laura Messina. Laura is a very stylish, confident, Italian 30 something women. She has loved Michael since she was seven. Laura runs a 2000 member Michael Jackson fan website in Italy, called, TRUTH4MICHAELJACKSON.com. She traveled for 22 hours to hold her banners high in support of Michael Jackson. Laura came to Los Angeles for the sole purpose of supporting the Jackson family and telling the world what she believes really happened to Michael Jackson. She will stay in Los Angeles for two weeks and spend over $4,500 on her trip.
Laura is very angry with Dr. Murray and refuses to call him “doctor” She stated that Dr. Murray was the “fall guy” for AEG, nevertheless, he is guilty because “Doctors can’t kill their patients, they have to take care of their patients.” Laura showed me the purses she designed with Michael Jackson’s face imprinted on them. I read her very lengthy signs outlining why she thinks Michael Jackson was killed and who the responsible parties are. She believes that she has a soul connection with Michael because they both live to teach the world about “Love, peace and truth and that, will make a better world.” Laura hopes to gain entry into the courtroom through the lottery process. She wants to tell her family, who is concerned that she traveled so far alone, that her presence made a difference and that the Jackson family knows that Michael Jackson fans in Italy are the best in the world.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Tanya Young Williams on November 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|