Michael Jackson's drug use explored in trial
A nurse who
administered propofol to Michael Jackson
more than a dozen times said the pop star
did not appear to be a drug-seeker.
David Fournier was called as a witness
Thursday by AEG Live in an effort to convince
jurors that Jackson was so deceptive and
secretive about his drug use that its
executives had no way of knowing his health
was in danger as he prepared for his
An economist hired by the concert promoter's
lawyers will testify Friday in an effort to
downplay how much money Jackson might
have earned had he not died at age 50 -- an
important issue if the jury decides AEG Live
is liable in his death.
Michael Jackson's mother and three children
contend the company negligently hired,
retained or supervised the doctor convicted
of involuntary manslaughter in his death --
which the coroner ruled was caused by an
overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.
AEG Live argues that Jackson chose and
controlled Dr. Conrad Murray, who told
investigators he gave Jackson nightly infusions
of propofol to treat his insomnia.
Fournier, a certified nurse
anesthetist, testified about an
incident on June 3, 2003 in
which Jackson stopped
breathing while under sedation
for a procedure with Beverly
Hills dermatologist Dr. Arnold
Klein. After Jackson suffered a
"somewhat bizarre reaction"
during the sedation, Klein told
Fournier it might be because
the singer had an "opioid
antagonist" implant. It was intended to help
treat a dependence on Demerol, he said.
"You expect your clients and doctors be
honest with you and I felt ambushed and was
upset," Fournier testified. The nurse said it
made him angry at both Klein and Jackson.
AEG Live lawyers hope jurors see the incident
as evidence that Jackson was dishonest about
his drug use, which would support their
contention that their executives had no way
of knowing about the dangerous treatments
he was getting from Murray.
Fournier also testified that Jackson failed to
follow his instructions in two instances after
being sedated for procedures. Jackson went
to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant for a
bucket of chicken instead of going home and
eating crackers, he testified. Another time he
went to a rehearsal for a Grammy show
performance and sprained his ankle, he said.
Every instance where Jackson was given
propofol was medically justified, Fournier
said. The 14 times he administered it
between 2000 and 2003 involved plastic
surgeries, dermatological procedures and oral
surgeries, he said.
He first sedated Jackson in 1993 when he
was being treated for serious scalp burns
suffered while filming a Pepsi commercial
several years earlier, he said.
Some of the 25 times he was hired to assist
with Jackson's procedures no drugs were
given, he said. He would just hold his hand
and assure him it would be all right.
Jackson never asked for specific drugs and
never quarreled with him, he said. All of the
doctors who treated him were respected
physicians, he said.
Fournier's friendly relationship with Jackson
ended in November 2003 when he canceled a
procedure because Jackson was "a little
goofy, a little slow to respond." Fournier said
he refused to sedate Jackson because he
suspected he was lying to him about his use
"Despite 10 years of good quality care and
taking good care of him for a long period of
time, he never called me," he said.
AEG Live's lead lawyer has said he would call
as witnesses "many, many, doctors" who
have treated Jackson to make their case that
he was a secretive drug addict.
The trial in a Los Angeles court concludes its
13th week Friday and is expected to last into