Nurse: I warned Jackson about drug
A tearful nurse told the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor that her efforts to save the singer from the drug he craved for sleep were rebuffed by the star, who insisted he needed the powerful anaesthetic that eventually killed him.
Cherilyn Lee, a nurse practitioner who tried to shift Jackson to holistic sleep aids in the months before he died, said the singer told her Dipravan, a brand name for propofol, was the only thing that would knock him out and induce the sleep he needed.
He told Ms Lee he had experienced the drug once during surgery.
Ms Lee almost did not give evidence, sitting down in the witness box then saying she felt dizzy, before starting to cry. Los Angeles Superior Court judge Michael Pastor had her taken to another room to rest, and she returned 20 minutes later saying she felt better. She became tearful again while saying that she had warned Jackson, 50, not to take the drug.
The day was also marked by poignant evidence from the head of AEG, the concert giant that planned Jackson's ill-fated This Is It shows in London. Randy Phillips, the company president and chief executive officer who first proposed the concert to Jackson, said the star was excited and committed to restarting his career in London, where he could settle down with his children on a country estate "so they wouldn't be living as vagabonds".
Ms Lee told of coming into Jackson's life at the beginning of 2009 and leaving just before Dr Conrad Murray arrived. Murray, who denies involuntary manslaughter, is accused of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the drug Ms Lee would not give him.
Ms Lee recalled a meeting with the superstar at his rented mansion two months before his death in June 2009. "He was sitting very close to me," she said. "He looked at me and said, 'I have a lot of difficulty sleeping. I've tried a lot of things and I need something that will make me fall asleep right away. I need Dipravan."
Ms Lee had never heard of the drug but did research and later told Jackson it was too dangerous to use at home. At one point she asked: "What if you didn't wake up?" Jackson, however, was adamant the drug would be safe if he had a doctor who could monitor him while he slept.
Prosecutors claim Murray abandoned Jackson after administering the fatal dose of propofol and failed to have proper life-saving and monitoring equipment on hand.
Lawyers for Murray, a Houston, Texas-based cardiologist, are trying to show that Jackson was a strong-willed celebrity who became the architect of his own demise when he insisted on getting the intravenous drug. They also say he gave himself the fatal dose after Murray left his bedroom.