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    Judge to Conrad Murray: Doctor Has "Absolute Right" to Testify in Michael Jackson Manslaughter Trial

    Conrad Murray Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images

    UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: After powering through several character witnesses, including Gerry Causey, a former patient of Murray's who was treated by the doctor 11 years and who has remained friends with him since. He declared Murray "the best doctor I've ever seen...I just don't think he did what he's been accused of."

    The court took an early recess for the day due to a pressing yet unforeseen scheduling conflict, but not before Judge Michael Pastor reminded Murray of his rights: "You have absolute right under the constitution of the United States and the state of California to testify. If you want to testify, you will testify. It's your decision, your right, if you want to testify, you will, period. That decision is yours and yours alone."

    Testimony of the three remaining defense witnesses will resume tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m. PT.

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    The Michael Jackson manslaughter trial hasn't been kind to Conrad Murray. But today, if the doctor's defense does their job right, that will change.

    His attorneys, who are blowing through their witnesses at record speed, are expected to call five character witnesses to the stand today who will attempt to paint the doctor as a caring physician who was doing the best he could for his patient—who, incidentally, was just named Forbes' No. 1 top earning dead celebrity, with an estimated intake of $170 million last year. In any case, it's safe to say those witnesses have their work cut out for them.

    Should the defense power through the five witnesses planned for today, just two will remain in their case and take the stand tomorrow.

    As always, E! Online will be livestreaming all the courthouse proceedings, which kick off today slightly later than usual, at 9 a.m. PT.

    —Reporting by Baker Machado  

    (Originally published on Oct. 26, 2011 at 8:55 a.m. PT)

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