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Expert propofal witness says jury right to convict Jackson doc

by Ryan Torok

November 7, 2011 | 4:07 pm

Dr. Conrad Murray remains expressionless next to his attorney J. Michael Flanagan, left, after the jury returned with a guilty verdict in his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Nov. 7. Photo by REUTERS/Al Seib/Pool

Less than two hours after the guilty verdict against Michael Jackson’s personal physician Conrad Murray was issued, Jewish cardiologist Alon Steinberg, who testified as an expert witness against Murray, praised the jury’s decision.

“Thank God the jury did the right thing,” said Steinberg, who at the time of the phone interview was driving to the CNN building for an interview that will air tonight. Steinberg is based in Ventura County.

Conrad Murray was found guilty of one count of involuntary manslaughter of the iconic pop singer, who died in June 2009. Murray was found guilty for his use of the anesthetic propofol on Jackson, despite Murray’s argument that Jackson might have administered the lethal dose to himself. Murray was Jackson’s personal physician, and he will face sentencing ranging from “probation to four years in prison,” the Huffington Post reported.

Steinberg appeared in court at the request of the Los Angeles County District, one of three medical experts brought in for the trial. Steinberg has made donations to the Jewish Federation of Ventura County and attended services at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue and the Chabads of Ventura County and Malibu.

The jury deliberated for 10 hours before reaching a decision. Judge Michael Pastor ordered Murray “remanded without bail pending sentence until Nov. 29,” according to eonline.com.

Steinberg said he was “extremely surprised” when asked to serve as an expert witness. Before the district attorney’s office officially chose Steinberg, he filled out a report concerning the trial and “they gave me so much material, the ambulance reports, the medical reports, all these interviews and phone reports, and I decided to simplify my report,” Steinberg said. “I decided to make my report just about what Conrad Murray said himself in an investigation with detectives… to use his own words to look at things.”

Steinberg said that Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, who represented the prosecution in the Murray trial—Ed Chernoff served as Murray’s lead attorney - was impressed by Steinberg’s willingness to be open about what he doesn’t know.

“Doctors work very hard sometimes, and there’s a lot of false accusations,” Steinberg said. “I try to be as King Solomon as possible when deciding things.”

Steinberg had never before appeared in a courtroom as an expert medical witness. He was excited to have had the experience—even if many, including his mother, didn’t believe him when he told them he’d been selected to appear.

“I would say, ‘Oh, Mom, I’m going to be expert witness on the Michael Jackson trial, and she said, ‘Oh yeah, sure.’ ”

Jackson had been scheduled to begin a concert tour in July 2009, less than one month after the date of his death. A documentary following Jackson rehearsing for the tour was released later that year. The film, “This is It,” showed Jackson in good health.

Steinberg said that the Medical Board of California will suspend Murray’s medical license – which is something that happens automatically when a guilty verdict is handed down in medical malpractice cases.

Will Murray lose his license for good?

“I don’t know the answer,” Steinberg said. “We’re a forgiving society. And Jews are forgiving too. He made a mistake.

“The answer is I don’t know,” Steinberg said again. “It’s going to be a decision up to the board, and I guess society.”

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