Jackson trial: No clear answer on whether pop star was addict - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jackson trial: No clear answer on whether pop star was addict

LOS ANGELES (RNN) - A specialist in addiction acknowledged Thursday that he didn't have enough records to indicate without a doubt that Michael Jackson had been addicted to the pain killer Demerol.

Records from Jackson's former dermatologist show he was taking a dose that was occasionally six times the normal amount of Demerol while he was getting Botox.

According to Dr. Robert Waldman, an expert in treating addiction, records showed the pop star taking anywhere from 200 to 300 milligrams of the medication, indicating that Jackson may have been an addict. Taking into account the public appearance of Jackson, Waldman told the defense that Jackson was probably an addict.

The statement falls in line with the defense's argument that Jackson was desperate for sleep on the night he died and may have dosed himself, as fitting with an addictive personality.

In a tense interview with the prosecution, however, Waldman admitted that he did not have the proper records to indicate that Jackson had, without a doubt, been an addict.

There was no trace of Demerol found in Jackson during his autopsy.

It was also revealed that Waldman was not certified by the California Medical Board.

The defense called its final witness to the stand Thursday as well. Dr. Paul White, a retired anesthesiologist who used to work with prosecution witness Dr. Steven Shafer, is expected to address Shafer's statements from earlier this week.

Shafer used to work for White.

Wednesday's testimony

Five of Murray's former patients testified today that the doctor was incredibly attentive and caring while they were seeing him.

All five testified that he was the best doctor they had ever been to. They also insisted that he was not a greedy doctor, as has been suggested since the jury heard that he asked for $5 million to work as Jackson's personal physician.

"I'm 66, I've gone to a lot of doctors," said Dennis Hix, a former patient of Murray's who came to him after it became clear that he had heart problems. "I've never had one who gave me the care that he did."

Murray became emotional as Ruby Mosley, a senior citizen living in Texas, testified before the court. She lived in a community made up predominantly of low-income senior citizens that was served by Murray's father. The pair met after his father died, when Murray opened a clinic to serve the community in his honor.

"If this man had been greedy, he never would've come to an area… [Where] 75 percent of them are on welfare and social security," Mosley said. "He was making more in Las Vegas."

Testimony ended early yesterday after scheduling conflicts came up for one of the defense's final witnesses.

Tuesday's testimony

An emotional witness called in the defense of Murray may have done more harm than good to Jackson's former doctor.

Cherilyn Lee, Jackson's former nutritionist, told the court Tuesday that doctors had allegedly told the pop star that the surgical anesthetic propofol was safe to use at home, so long as he was being properly monitored.

The prosecution arguments for the last two weeks have focused on the testimony of experts who have said that Murray had not taken the correct precautions or equipment while administering propofol to the pop star.

Jackson asked for Diprivan, the commercial name for propofol, after complaining to Lee that his sleep was not coming any easier in April 2009. Lee had put Jackson on a nutritional plan to treat his fatigue using natural remedies including intravenous injections of vitamins and cutting energy drinks out of his diet. Similar remedies for insomnia were not helping him sleep as quickly as he wanted to.

Jackson allegedly told Lee that "'the only medication that helps me [Jackson] fall off to sleep is Diprivan,'" according to the nutritionist.

Lee's testimony was emotional as she broke down twice on the stand - once at the beginning of Tuesday's proceedings and again, as the prosecution asked her to confirm quotes from Jackson, stating that he would be safe on propofol if he was being properly monitored.

"This is just very sensitive to me," Lee said.

Murray, Jackson's former doctor, is being charged with involuntary manslaughter after Jackson overdosed on propofol.

Monday's testimony

A doctor who treated Jackson for insomnia in the early 2000s warned the pop star against taking intravenous drugs to treat his sleeping disorder, which were "dangerous" and "should not be given outside the hospital setting."

Dr. Allan Metzger, Jackson's former primary physician, testified Monday that Jackson had dealt with sleeping issues caused by stress for the last 15 or 20 years.

After shows, the king of pop "could not come down," Metzger said.

The doctor testified that Jackson had asked him about what IV medication he could take to help him sleep after Metzger unsuccessfully tried to treat him with Tylenol PM, Xanax, an anti-depressant that also caused sleep and an anti-anxiety medication.

"He did not believe any oral medication would be helpful," Metzger said.

The admission could support Murray's defense, which claims the pop star was desperate for medication that could help him sleep. Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter after Jackson overdosed on the surgical anesthetic propofol.

Metzger was the first of the defense's witnesses to go through an in-depth questioning. After four weeks of testimony from security guards, medical experts and other witnesses, the prosecution rested its case Monday.

Murray's defense team finished cross-examining Dr. Steven Shafer, an anesthesiologist who spent five days on the stand and criticized Murray's use of the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat Michael Jackson's insomnia.

The defense attempted to poke holes in Shafer's assessment that Jackson could not have overdosed on his own, and that Murray administered much more propofol than he claimed.

During his testimony, Shafer said Murray acted more as an employee than a doctor by giving Jackson what he wanted despite the medical risks.

Over the course of the trial, prosecutors argued that Murray is responsible for giving Jackson too much propofol, an anesthetic known to cause breathing problems. According to testimony, the drug can inhibit respiration, making monitoring equipment essential when administering it.

Sufficient monitoring devices were not present at the Jackson estate, witnesses said.

In fact, experts argued that even if Murray did not give the fatal dose to Jackson, he is still responsible for his death because of the lack of monitoring equipment.

Murray also was criticized for the delay between finding Jackson's body and calling emergency services.

The trial continues Thursday, and closing arguments are expected Friday. If Murray is found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.

 


 

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