Nightly News   |  October 27, 2011

Defense in Murray trial: Jackson a secret drug addict

The defense is wrapping up its case Thursday in the trial of Michael Jackson’s former doctor, Conrad Murray, and they’re trying to prove Jackson had major drug problems. NBC’s Jeff Rossen is in Los Angeles with the story.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We're back now with the trial of Michael Jackson 's physician Conrad Murray . His defense team is nearly done presenting the case they hope will sway the jury to come back with a verdict of not guilty on manslaughter charges. Today, there were two final witnesses, both medical experts and the defense presented a portrait of Michael Jackson very different than the star we all saw on stage. Our report tonight from NBC 's Jeff Rossen in Los Angeles .

JEFF ROSSEN reporting: It is Dr. Conrad Murray 's final push and today science was the star. The defense presenting its strongest evidence yet. Dr. Paul White on the stand, the self-described father of propofol. He literally wrote the book on it.

Dr. PAUL WHITE: If, in fact, Murray had administered the drugs that he described in his conversations with the police department and in the doses that he described, I would not have expected Michael Jackson to have died.

ROSSEN: The defense argument that Michael Jackson , a worldwide superstar, was actually a secret drug addict, not only hooked on propofol but painkillers, too, and Dr. Murray had no idea.

Dr. ROBERT WALDMAN (Addiction Specialist): I believe there is evidence that he was dependent upon Demerol .

ROSSEN: And Murray 's lawyers blame another doctor for his addiction, Jackson 's dermatologist Arnold Klein . According to Dr. Klein 's medical records , Jackson received more than 20 injections of Demerol from April to June of 2009 , often getting several shots in a single week, one just three days before his death.

Unidentified Attorney #1: And you would consider this very high use?

Dr. WALDMAN: Very high.

ROSSEN: Dr. Klein has denied the allegations. On cross-examination, the prosecutor fought back.

Unidentified Attorney #2: Are you board certified in addiction medicine ?

Dr. WALDMAN: No.

ROSSEN: They sparred for more than an hour.

Attorney #2: Let me try again. Dr. Waldman , would you diagnose Michael Jackson as addicted to Demerol based strictly on these documents in my hand? Yes or no.

Dr. WALDMAN: Probably not.

ROSSEN: The defense could rest as early as tomorrow with closing arguments Monday. The fate of Dr. Conrad Murray , the legacy of Michael Jackson sitting in the hands of seven men and five women. Jeff Rossen , NBC News, Los Angeles .