A doctor hired by the attorneys representing the motorist who was beaten nearly to death by "rogue cops" in an incident of police brutality that has touched off a firestorm said Friday even Saddam Hussein did not treat his prisoners so viciously.

At a news conference attended by attorneys for victim Rodney G. King, 25, orthopedic and neurological specialist Dr. Edmund Chein said the injuries chronicled in a now-notorious videotape made by a witness are worse than first believed."He was pretty close to death. He could have died from this easily," said Chein, who added that the officers "had no reservations for his life."

"It is a horrible, horrible, brutal beating," Chein said. "I don't think Saddam Hussein treated our POWs any worse than this."

The doctor said King is suffering from 14 separate medical conditions as a result of the beating, including: a fractured skull that may leave permanent brain damage, memory lapses and confusion; a fractured right eye socket that has caused blurred vision; nerve damage that is causing partial facial paralysis; and multiple surface burns, burned muscles, and possibly a burned heart from the electrical charges from the Taser gun police used to subdue King.

Chein said King was struck in the face so hard that several fillings were knocked out. A broken cheek bone will likely require plastic surgery, the doctor said, adding that King is in so much pain he cannot even walk on crutches.

Meanwhile, the District Attorney's Office, saying it would not bow to public pressure for "hasty" action, announced Friday it was still probing the incident and will take its case to the county grand jury.

Police Chief Daryl Gates on Thursday had asked the district attorney to file criminal charges against three of his officers, all of them white, involved in the savage beating of King, who is black.