Conrad Murray faces up to four years in jail and the loss of his medical license if convicted.
LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s doctor ended months of speculation Tuesday by telling a judge he will not testify in his own defense.
Murray, who has been stoically silent during his five-week trial for involuntary manslaughter, was holding his hands over his mouth before Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked him to pipe up.
“Have you made up your mind?” Pastor asked, explaining to the Houston cardiologist that the decision was his alone to make.
Murray paused, searched with his eyes for the faces of his defense lawyers, and finally spoke.
My decision is I will not testify in this matter, he said, one day after hinting he was conflicted about whether to take the stand.
The court finds the defendant has knowingly, freely and explicitly waived his right to testify, the judge followed.
I certainly will respect that decision.
The defense then rested its case. Prosecutors quickly called a medical expert as a rebuttal witness.
Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted.
Jackson died June 25, 2009 after falling unconscious in a bedroom of his rented mansion while under Murray s care. He died of an overdose of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol, which medical experts have testified is normally administered only in a hospital setting.
Murray told cops he gave Jackson the milky intravenous drug to treat the singer's chronic insomnia.
Propofol, which can suppress breathing, has no established use as an at-home sleep aid, multiple prosecution witnesses testified.
Prosecutors claim Murray crossed the line when he pumped Jackson with propofol in a home setting and then diverted his attention to personal phone calls, emails and a bathroom break, as Jackson s life began to slip away.
They contend Murray left Jackson without proper vital-sign monitoring equipment and then tried to conceal medical evidence instead of immediately calling 911.
Murray s defense has argued Jackson gave himself the fatal dose of the medication. A propofol expert testifying in Murray s defense said it's possible Jackson woke while Murray was out of the room, found a leftover syringe and self-administered the fatal dose.
Jurors were excused by Pastor Tuesday and asked to return on Thursday, possibly to hear closing arguments in the trial, which began Sept. 27.