Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Nurse to recount Jackson drug pleas

Nurse Cherilyn Lee said Michael Jackson repeatedly asked her for propofol (AP)

Jurors hearing the case against the doctor charged over Michael Jackson's death are being offered another look at the singer's life as defence lawyers try to portray him as desperate for sleep and eager to obtain the powerful anaesthetic that authorities say killed him.

The court is to hear more from Cherilyn Lee, a nurse who has said Jackson repeatedly asked her for propofol to help him sleep, but she refused.

Ms Lee is the sixth witness that Dr Conrad Murray's lawyers have called to try to shift the blame for Jackson's death to the singer himself.

Murray's team plans to call other witnesses who they think may support that theory, including Randy Phillips, the president and chief executive of concert promoter AEG Live, and Jackson's make-up artist and hairstylist Karen Faye.

They will also call several expert witnesses who will try to rebut the testimony of prosecution experts who said Murray was reckless and at fault in Jackson's unexpected death on June 25 2009.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The defence's case now appears to hinge on the claim that Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of propofol. In a court filing, Murray's lawyers argued that they should be allowed to show jurors the agreement between Jackson and AEG Live to show that Jackson had much to lose if he could not perform 50 comeback concerts planned for London's O2 Arena.

AEG would have been allowed to recoup its investment in the shows and advances paid to Jackson if he could not perform, the filing states.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor in Los Angeles will consider whether to allow the agreement and testimony about it by Mr Phillips, although he has previously excluded any evidence of Jackson's financial hardships.

"This evidence directly supports the defence theory of the case - that Mr Jackson self-administered propofol due to the enormous pressure and stress placed on him pursuant to the agreement," the defence filing states. "Mr Jackson's mental state on June 25 2009, is highly relevant to the defence in this case."

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