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Michael Jackson's insomnia problems went way back, doctor says

September 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson's former physician took the witness stand on Thursday, a day after his video deposition was shown to the court.

It was in 1996 during the HIStory tour that Jackson's struggle with insomnia became abundantly clear, according to his longtime physician, Dr. Allan Metzger. The entertainer was so adrenalized, it was days before he could sleep.

Metzger says Jackson was in a similar creative frenzy when he wrote "We Are the World," the song that raised millions to fight famine. Metzger told jurors that under his care in earlier years, Jackson was able to sleep with traditional sleep medications, but then other doctors overprescribed for the star.

Katherine Jackson alleges that Jackson's tour promoters, AEG Live, negligently supervised Conrad Murray, who is now serving time for causing Jackson's death. The defense says Jackson's use of meds was his personal choice.

Jackson's habit with pain meds was spotlighted in a video deposition presented by the AEG defense on Wednesday. Metzger said he heard Jackson "was doctor shopping and took pain medication that the average person wouldn't." He said he heard that from four sources, including Jackson's wife Debbie Rowe and two other doctors.

On Thursday, Metzger testified that "doctor shopping" to him meant Jackson shopped for the best qualified doctors when he was traveling outside Los Angeles.

Metzger testified that he advised Jackson two months before his death that use of the anesthetic propofol was potentially life-threatening.

But Metzger said he couldn't remember a previous instance when he allegedly prescribed propofol himself. Rowe testified that in 1997, Metzger enlisted two doctors in Germany to administer propofol to Jackson in a hotel room, where they came equipped with monitoring equipment. The defense displayed a signed letter indicating Metzger ordered it.

The Jackson attorneys planned to have Metzger offer an explanation, but the judge ruled that the Jackson attorneys violated court rules by improperly sharing information with the doctor. They were barred from inquiring about it.

Metzger returns to the stand on Friday. Closing arguments are planned for next week.


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