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Science Of Sleep Takes Center Stage At Jackson Wrongful Death Trial

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —  The science of sleep was the focus of the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial Thursday as an expert witness for the family testified about the drug that killed the pop star.

Jackson died June 25, 2009 after receiving a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. He was 50.

Conrad Murray, the late singer’s former physician, is serving a four-year jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter, convicted of administering the medication.

Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, is suing concert promoters AEG Live, accusing executives of negligence in the hiring and supervision of Murray, who was looking after the pop star as he prepared for his ill-fated comeback concert series.

Thursday the leading expert for the Jackson family in the civil trial spoke about the negative effects propofol could have had on Jackson in the weeks before his death.

“If you are put to sleep using the anesthetic propofol are you getting the same rest that you would receive if you were to fall asleep naturally?” he was asked.

CBS2/KCAL9’s Randy Paige reports the expert witness said, “No.”

According to the expert, propofol tricks the body into feeling refreshed when it actually did not get any sleep at all.

Jackson family lead attorney Brian Panish told Paige outside of court he’s getting close to wrapping up the case.

He plans to call Katherine Jackson to the stand Friday when testimony resumes.

The lawyer is anticipating an emotional day in court.

“I think it will be hard. I mean, obviously there were tears throughout the trial,” Panish said.

“She is a strong woman,” he added of Katherine Jackson, now co-guardian of Michael Jackson’s three children with their uncle, TJ Jackson.

“She’s been through a lot. Raising her family, dealing with the death of Michael, raising her grandchildren. She is strong. It will be hard. She will get through it. She will do great.”

Panish also said Katherine will bring jurors back to the more “human element” of the case.

“Katherine wants the world to know what a great son she had in Michael. The tremendous parent he was to his children and the tremendous parent that his children had, and what a great entertainer and world humanitarian we have all lost,” he said.

Testimony is scheduled to resume at the downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday at 9:30 a.m.

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