Jackson claimed drip was safe - nurse

2011-10-26 08:37

Los Angeles - Michael Jackson begged to be given a propofol drip to help him sleep two months before he died, saying medics had assured him it was safe, a nurse told his doctor's manslaughter trial on Tuesday.

The King of Pop told nurse Cherilyn Lee, a holistic expert, that doctors had told him he could take the drug - a surgical anaesthetic - intravenously as long as he was monitored.

"'The only medication that really helps me fall off to sleep right away is Diprivan'," she quoted Jackson as saying, using a brand name for propofol, the drug which killed the singer.

The singer's doctor Conrad Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for allegedly giving Jackson a cocktail of drugs including propofol on June 25 2009, to help him sleep, but abandoning him at the crucial moment.

Murray had been hired for $150 000 a month to look after Jackson at his Los Angeles mansion while he rehearsed for a series of ill-fated This is It comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena.

'A lot of work'

Lee told how she went to Jackson's home on April 19, when the singer asked her to treat him with propofol by intravenous (IV) drip because other treatments were not working.

"He told me, 'Doctors have told me that it's safe, I just need to be monitored'," she told the Los Angeles Superior Court, adding that she refused to treat him with the drug, after learning that it was a surgical anaesthetic.

Murray, 58, told police that he had been treating Jackson with propofol via IV for two months, but had begun to wean him off of it three days before his death.

In a police interview played earlier during the five-week trial, Murray told how he tried to get Jackson to sleep from around 01:00, but failed and finally gave him 25mg of propofol at 10:40.

At some point after that he said he left for two minutes to go to the bathroom, and returned to the bedroom to find Jackson not breathing.

Lee said the singer told her on April 19 that he knew about propofol because he had been given it as an anaesthetic for surgery in the past.

"'I want to be able to fall asleep easily so that I can get enough rest because I'm in the midst of doing a lot of work right now (...) as soon as it gets into my vein I'm knocked out and I'm asleep'," she quoted him as saying.

'Pastoral country vibe'

In other developments on Tuesday, the trial judge banned defence lawyers from asking about Jackson's multimillion-dollar contract for his final concert series.

"This is not a contractual dispute, this is a homicide case. We are not going to get into accounting and going into a host of other materials that distract from the case," said judge Michael Pastor.

Randy Phillips, head of tour promoter AEG Live, meanwhile told the court that Jackson had agreed to do 50 shows in London - as opposed to up to 31, as initially agreed - only on two conditions.

One was for Phillips to arrange for Guinness World Records to attend the 50th show "because he knew this was a feat that no performer would ever be able to beat", the AEG executive said.

The other was to find "an estate for him that I could lease outside of London and he was very specific - he wanted 16-plus acres, running streams, horses", said AEG Live boss Randy Phillips.

"Basically what he explained to me was, he didn't want to be trapped in a hotel suite, no matter how beautiful, in the heart of London and not be able to leave, and have the kids and be cloistered.

"He wanted to give them a pastoral country vibe."