Addiction expert Dr. Robert Waldman was first up on the stand, and was immediately asked about the addictive powers of the sedatives given to Jackson. “I don’t recall ever seeing a Demerol addiction,” he told the defense, adding that if someone was withdrawing from the drug, they would suffer “dire sweating, increased heart rate, muscular aches and pains, nausea, restlessness and insomnia.”
After looking at the dermatological records of Dr. Arnold Klein, Waldman said that the pop star had been receiving “above average dosages” of Demerol, which implied “that he is no longer getting the therapeutic effect from the prior dosages…There is evidence he was dependent on Demerol. He was probably addicted to the opiods.”
During cross-examination, the prosecutionn said that Demerol was not present in Jackson’s toxicology results and when pressed by D.A. David Walgren repeatedly to answer whether he would diagnose Jackson as addicted to Demerol based on those results, he finally relented, “probably no.”
“If a patient asks you to administer a dangerous drug, a drug that could be harmful,” Walgren asked, “would you refuse to administer that drug to the patient?”
To which Waldman replied, “Absolutely.”
During cross-examination, tensions between Waldman and Walgren reached a peak, with the D.A. finally barking out (to the amusement of the smiling Jackson family, again sitting in the front row of the courtroom), “Is there a reason why it’s so hard for you to answer my questions, but it’s so easy for you to answer Mr. Chernoff’s?”
He then denied that he had any knowledge that Murray was Jackson’s private physician in the month of his death, repeatedly stating that he did not pay attention to what was happening in the public arena. The response resulted in the frustrated prosecutor blasting the doctor, reminding him that in his earlier testimony, he had no problem diagnosing Jackson as an addict, a conclusion that could only have come from a close study of what was happening in the same public arena he claims to have no knowledge of.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Paul White, said to be the defense’s star witness, took the stand to kick off the afternoon session. He testified that he started researching propofol in 1983, six years before it was approved by the FDA, and that he has known prosecution witness Dr. Steve Shafer for 30 years.
“My thoughts were, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved in a high-profile case involving the death of an icon,” White said. “I am not a public person, I don’t enjoy all the attention. I agreed to review materials for [the defense]. I was kind of perplexed that Dr. Murray was infusing propofol. It wasn’t obvious to me.”
The dosage that Murray said he gave Jackson should not have killed the singer, White said.
As for the use of propofol, White said it “could be the best possible agent for monitored anesthesia care.”