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Prosecutors finishing up in trial of Michael Jackson doctor
LOS ANGELES (AP) ' The trial of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death resumed Wednesday after days of delay, with jurors hearing from a leading expert on the powerful anesthetic propofol that authorities say killed the King of Pop.
Expert Steven Shafer's testimony focused on his lengthy credentials, including his work crafting guidelines and warnings that are included with every bottle of propofol.
Prosecutors claim Dr. Conrad Murray ignored those warnings by giving Jackson the anesthetic to fight insomnia.
Shafer told jurors he wants to restore public confidence in the medication and in doctors.
"I am asked every day in the operating room, 'Are you going to give me the drug that killed Michael Jackson?'" Shafer said. "This is a fear that patients do not need to have."
Shafer is the prosecution's final witness in its case against Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecution witnesses have repeatedly faulted Murray for his care of Jackson, noting that his use of propofol as a sleep aid was outside the drug's intended use. They have also faulted Murray for not calling for help sooner, for botching resuscitation efforts and for lying to paramedics and emergency room doctors about the drugs he had given Jackson.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor canceled testimony Tuesday to give defense attorneys time to research new test results conducted by coroner's officials on the level of the sedative lorazepam in Jackson's body.
Murray's attorneys have claimed lorazepam levels in the singer's stomach contents suggested he may have taken several pills without his doctor's knowledge in the hours before his death.
Murray has acknowledged giving Jackson doses of propofol in the superstar's bedroom as a sleep aid. However, his attorneys have said that the amount of propofol given to Jackson on the day he died was too small to cause his sudden death in 2009 at age 50.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the new results from the coroner's office show that levels of lorazepam in Jackson's body were lower than the defense claimed.
Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff said he was seeking additional testing from an independent lab to confirm or disprove the coroner's results.
Murray's attorneys will begin calling witnesses Friday, including Randy Phillips, the promoter of Jackson's planned series of comeback concerts.
Chernoff said the defense should rest its case by Wednesday.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP