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Michael Jackson Doctor's Trial Delayed Over Drug Test Questions

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Michael Jackson (AP)

A judge delayed resumption of the trial of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death until Wednesday to give defense attorneys time to analyze new testing that coroner's officials recently conducted.

Testimony had been canceled on Monday so that the prosecution's final witness, Dr. Steven Shafer, could deal with family affairs after his father died last week.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor agreed to delay the case against Dr. Conrad Murray for another day after defense attorneys said they needed time to prepare for how to deal with testing the coroner's office conducted last week on the level of the sedative lorazepam in Jackson's system.

Murray's attorneys have suggested that authorities ignored the effects lorazapam may have had on the pop superstar and said their own testing suggested Jackson had taken eight pills before his death.

Coroner's officials determined Jackson died from a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol. Authorities contend Murray gave Jackson the fatal dose and other sedatives in the singer's bedroom to try to help him sleep. Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the defense lab's results combine two numbers to make it seem like there was more lorazepam in Jackson's system than may have been present. He said the coroner's tests show a much smaller amount was actually in Jackson's system and are inconsistent with the theory that he swallowed several pills.

Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff said he had numerous questions about the coroner's testing and had asked the agency to conduct the same test before the trial began but was told it couldn't be done. He said he didn't yet know what impact it will have on how Murray's defense case is presented.

Defense attorneys are expected to begin calling their own witnesses, including experts, later this week.

Pastor agreed it was an issue that defense attorneys needed time to address. He ordered attorneys to give him an update at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

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