Jackson doc says he won't testify in own defense

LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's doctor told a judge Tuesday that he will not testify in his own defense, as testimony in his involuntary manslaughter trial neared an end.

Dr. Conrad Murray held his hands over his mouth as if he was praying in the moments before Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked the cardiologist whether he intended to take the stand.

The judge also asked if he understood the decision was his alone to make.

"Have you made up your mind," Pastor asked.

Murray paused, looked at all his lawyers, seemed to sigh and said, "My decision is I will not testify in this matter."

The judge asked lead attorney Ed Chernoff whether he had conferred with Murray about his rights and Chernoff said yes.

"The court finds the defendant has knowingly, freely and explicitly waived his right to testify," the judge said. "I certainly will respect that decision."

Murray had left open the possibility of testifying on Monday, when he told Pastor that he had not made a final decision.

Defense attorneys told Pastor that they will call no more witnesses in their case.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. He could face up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted.

Prosecutors were considering whether to call any rebuttal witnesses, but testimony appeared near its end after 22 days of trial.

Murray's decision came after hours of intense grilling by a prosecutor of Dr. Paul White, an anesthesia expert who has said he believes Jackson injected himself with the fatal dose of propofol when Murray left his bedside.

After asking only eight questions, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren had gotten White to acknowledge that Murray had repeatedly violated the physician's standard of care.

Throughout the day, White also told jurors that he would have never done what Murray was doing -- giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid.

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AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

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McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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