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Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Testimony wraps up

September 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Testimony finally wrapped up in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. On Friday, jurors heard from a doctor who told the singer propofol was dangerous.

A key question in the case centers on "foreseeability." Attorneys for Katherine Jackson say that AEG Live knew or should have known that the star for the This Is It tour had a history of prescription drug dependency and should have monitored Conrad Murray, the physician who provided him nightly infusions of the anesthetic propofol.

"The evidence is clear that Michael Jackson was on a decline for 60 days as written in internal emails that AEG did nothing in supervising Dr. Murray or taking action to stop that," said Jackson attorney Brian Panish.

Attorneys for AEG say Jackson's longtime habit caught up with him.

"Michael Jackson was a grown man who kept all of his addiction -- including his biggest addiction, propofol -- secret. Therefore, I think one has to look to personal responsibility here," said AEG attorney Marvin Putnam.

The final doctor to testify, Allan Metzger, treated Jackson for 27 years. Metzger testified in a video deposition that Jackson was "secretive about medicine, secretive about procedures, secretive about all kinds of stuff."

The doctor says that during the HIStory tour in 1997, he prescribed regular sleep aids for Jackson and that his close aides knew about his insomnia.

One of the directors on that tour was Paul Gongaware, who later became an AEG executive.

"Mr. Gongaware knew and everyone knew," said Panish.

Dr. Metzger's recollection on the stand was not clear about Gongaware. The AEG defense says either way, there was no sign Jackson would pursue propofol as a sleep aid.

"If it did happen two tours ago, 20 years before this one, he was told that Michael Jackson had problems sleeping, I don't think that says anything but that Michael Jackson had problems sleeping," said Putnam.

Opposing attorneys are similarly polarized on the relevance of Murray's independent contractor agreement drawn up by AEG. The Jackson attorneys say through it AEG pressured Murray to do what Jackson wanted.

"They are right. It is about responsibility. They just don't want to accept any," said Panish.

The defense says the tour promoters only facilitated what Jackson wanted.

"AEG Live never hired Dr. Conrad Murray," said Putnam.

Meantime, there was a legal victory for Katherine Jackson on Friday. The judge ruled she was a dependant of her son for basic necessities and will therefore be allowed to seek compensation from AEG should the jury rule in her favor.


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