In one corner for the prosecution, sits Dr. Steven Shafer, world renowned anesthesiologist and pharmacologist.
In the other, for the defense sits... well, another world renowned anesthesiologist and pharmacologist, Dr. Paul White.
The duo will be duking it out in court next week over what really happened to Michael Jackson. Though they're usually accustomed to crossing paths in a much different and friendlier manner.
See, the men first met in 1981 and have been colleagues and friends for close to 30 years. They work on an anesthesiology publication together and will both be attending (and receiving awards at) the conference for the American Society of Anesthesiologists being held this weekend in Chicago. The conference is the reason why court ended early Thursday and will be not be held Friday.
These two are certainly experts in their field, but how will their testimonies play out in the courtroom? They will mostly likely agree on a lot of things... it's what they don't agree on that will be interesting to see.
The most significant issue they're likely split on is how the lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol entered Jackson's body.
Dr. White will likely testify for the defense that the levels of propofol detected in Jackson's blood by the toxicologist indicate Jackson could have quickly injected himself with a single dose of propofol all at once, resulting in his death.
Dr. Shafer is expected to testify those same blood levels of propofol could only be achieved if Jackson was receiving more propofol, likely administered by a constant drip.
The two will likely agree on a study from Chile that the prosecution is using to buttress its case that Jackson did not orally ingest propofol. The study on university students concluded "if you drink propofol, it will have trivial effects on the person," according to prosecutor David Walgren . It's unclear how relevant this issue will be at trial, because the defense has said it’s dropping its theory that Jackson orally self-administered the lethal dose of propofol.
On Monday, Dr. Shafer will continue his testimony. When Dr. Shafer finishes the state is expected to rest its case. At some point during the defense's case Dr. White will be called to the stand.