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Drug Expert Called a 'Scumbag?' Steven Shafer Criticized by Witness

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 27, 2011 6:34 PM

Conrad Murray's trial has taken a strange turn. Defense witness and medical expert Dr. Paul White reportedly called one of his former colleagues a "scumbag." Dr. Steven Shafer, the prosecution witness who was insulted, used to be one of White's colleagues.

White and Shafer worked on books together in the past. Shafer even nominated him for an award in 2009.

The two formerly amicable colleagues are now on opposite sides of the courtroom. Shafer is considered a key prosecution witness. He is an expert on propofol, the anesthesia that killed Michael Jackson. White is a vital defense witness. He prepared a report stating it was possible Jackson could have taken the deadly dose of propofol when Dr. Murray wasn't looking.

Shafer's report says this scenario impossible.

And apparently, White was so upset with his former colleague's assessment that he couldn't contain himself. He allegedly muttered "scumbag" in the middle of Shafer's testimony to a reporter for E! Entertainment Television, reports the New York Daily News.

White could face contempt charges over this.

Contempt charges can either be civil or criminal. They are generally brought if someone does something that defies or disrespects the authority of the court. Muttering that a key witness is a "scumbag" to a reporter could qualify. A conviction could result in jail time, monetary penalties, or both.

In fact, the judge in Jackson's case mentioned in court that he was considering contempt charges against Dr. Paul White. White denied muttering the insult. As for the alleged "scumbag" himself: Steven Shafer has also belittled Dr. White's findings. He's testified that he is "disappointed" with White's conclusions.

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