Jacksons v AEG Timeline Legal

Murray trial expert ordered to pay $250 for disobeying judge’s rules

By | Published on Friday 18 November 2011

Conrad Murray

One of the defence’s key witnesses in the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial has been fined $250 for violating a court order during his testimony.

Murray, of course, was found guilty of causing Michael Jackson’s death last week, and will be sentenced later this month. His conviction centred on the administration of the surgical anaesthetic propofol in a domestic environment.

The defence claimed that Murray was trying to wean Jackson off the prescription drug, which the singer was using as a cure for insomnia, and that he only gave the late king of pop a tiny dose on the day of his death, and that Jackson must have therefore self-administered the fatal shot.

Dr Paul White was the only expert presented to back up that theory. The propofol expert’s testimony, coming at the end of the proceedings, was fiery, and included some tough cross-examination from the prosecution. White tried to discuss information Murray had given him during conversations before the trial but, with the doctor having chosen not to testify himself, Judge Michael Pastor banned White from mentioning the content of those chats with the defendant.

At one point White complained, in front of the jury, that there was information he was banned from discussing in court, leading to the witness being admonished by the judge and ordered to attend a separate hearing to consider whether those remarks put him in contempt of court.

That happened this week and both White himself and Murray’s defence lawyers insisted that the expert witness – not experienced in giving testimonies in court – didn’t realise he was disobeying the judge’s rules when he made the remarks about his conversations with the defendant. White said: “I had no idea your honour had told me not to go into this area. I apologise profusely”.

But Pastor was adamant that his instructions had been clear on the day White testified, and that ignorance should not therefore be a defence. Meanwhile a rep for the prosecution in the Murray case accused White of purposely trying to sabotage the case.

Nevertheless, the judge decided not to find the expert witness in contempt of court, instead issuing a lesser civil sanction and ordering the doctor to pay a $250 by 16 Dec.