| 15.7°C Dublin

Jacko begged for drugs claims doctor's defence

DEFENCE lawyers for the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson claim the singer was the architect of his own demise.

The lawyers say Jackson sought to cure his insomnia with an intravenous drug, even when he was warned it was dangerous. With the evidence of a doctor and a nurse practitioner, the lawyers showed that Jackson (50) had been on his quest for at least 15 years, and in the months before he died he began asking for intravenous medication, specifically an anaesthetic.

Jackson would eventually get the drug propofol from Dr Conrad Murray, now on trial for involuntary manslaughter over the death of the superstar.

Defence witnesses told a Los Angeles court that it was Jackson who demanded the drug that eventually killed him.

Dr Allan Metzger, Jackson's friend and confidant over two decades, said he refused the singer's request for an intravenous anaesthetic two months before his death and told the star it would be dangerous.

Exploit

Prosecutors were quick to exploit the testimony to show that other medical professionals rejected any suggestion by the singer that he receive anaesthetics as a sleep aid.

"You explained to him that it was dangerous, life-threatening and should not be done outside a hospital, correct?" prosecutor David Walgren asked on cross-examination. "That's correct," Dr Metzger said.

Dr Metzger added that there was no amount of money that would have prompted him to give Jackson propofol,

The next witness, holistic nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee, said she treated Jackson with vitamin infusions and he felt so much better that he invited her to go with him to London for his concert tour.

Then he reported he could not sleep and asked her to come to his home and watch him sleep, she told the court.

She said she thought his problem was that he had been drinking highly-caffeinated beverages for energy. Once he withdrew from them she was confident his problem would abate. But it did not.

She said she urged him to undergo a sleep study but he said he did not have time.

In mid-April 2009, shortly before he began treatment with Murray, Jackson asked Ms Lee to watch him sleep. She said he slept for five hours but was upset when he awoke.

Juice

"He said: 'You see, I can't stay asleep'," she said.

Dr Metzger also said he had known for at least 15 years that Jackson had trouble sleeping.

When he made a house call to the singer's home in April 2009, Dr Metzger said the singer asked him about intravenous sleep medications and anaesthetics. "I think he used the word 'juice'," he said.

The physician prescribed two oral medications, although he said the singer told him that he did not believe any oral medication would work.

Authorities say Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of propofol as a sleep aid. Murray has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier in the day after evidence from 33 witnesses.

The defence then began its effort to counter damaging testimony that cast Murray as an opportunistic doctor who broke legal, ethical and professional guidelines to satisfy a patient who was paying him $150,000 (¤107,000) a month.