LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Testimony was expected to wrap up today in the trial of Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live over the death of her pop superstar son, Michael Jackson.
Dr. Allan Metzger, who treated the singer, was expected to be called back to the stand to conclude his testimony. Once testimony is completed, attorneys will argue some lingering motions and prepare for jury instructions, which are expected to be given Monday, followed by three days of closing arguments beginning Tuesday.
Katherine Jackson alleges that AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray to care for the singer and failed to supervise him properly.
AEG Live attorneys maintain that Jackson hired Murray in 2006 as his personal physician as part of an independent contractor arrangement, choosing him to be his doctor during 50 sold-out concert dates scheduled at London’s O2 Arena.
Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s June 25, 2009, drug overdose death and sentenced to four years in jail. The doctor intravenously administered the anesthetic propofol to the 50-year-old singer, who was living in a rented Holmby Hills home while rehearsing for the tour.
On the stand Thursday, Metzger said he believed AEG Live’s contract with Murray to be the singer’s personal physician on the never-realized “This Is It” tour created a conflict of interest for the cardiologist. Metzger said he was particularly disturbed by a cancellation clause in the contract that allowed AEG Live to terminate the agreement if the tour could not go forward.
“This to me is unethical,” Metzger said.
Metzger’s live testimony came a day after his video deposition was shown to jurors in the trial of the negligence and wrongful death lawsuit that Katherine Jackson filed in September 2010 against the “This Is It” tour promoter on behalf of herself and her late son’s three children.
Judge Yvette Palazuelos allowed attorneys for the Jackson family to re- open their case on a limited basis, using Metzger’s live testimony to bolster some of their theories. Metzger is a dermatologist who said he treated Jackson for nearly 30 years and considered him a friend as well as a patient.
Although AEG Live lawyers presented testimony claiming Jackson “shopped” for doctors in order to obtain access to propofol and other prescription drugs, Metzger said the only examples he saw occurred when the singer was on tour and had to look for physicians in locations outside Los Angeles.
However, he said he was concerned whether Jackson was getting medication that was safe from other doctors.
Metzger said Jackson never asked him about access to propofol or any other strong prescription medications.
“I don’t believe I ever gave him (the pain medication) Demerol or any hard narcotics ever,” he said.
The doctor testified he also never remembered Jackson appearing over- medicated.
Metzger said Jackson had sleep problems during the “Dangerous” and “HIStory” tours in the 1990s. He said Jackson was upset because of his insomnia.
“He was very frustrated and felt he was not performing to his normal capabilities,” Metzger said.
Metzger testified he accompanied Jackson on the first leg of the “HIStory tour” and said he considered himself fortunate to be back stage during the concerts in Sydney, Australia.
Metzger said Jackson was beset by pain for many years, including the effects of burns from an accident involving fireworks during filming of a 1984 Pepsi commercial. But he said that as late as two months before his death, Jackson never requested any opioids from him as he prepared for the “This Is It” tour.
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