LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A nurse practitioner who treated Michael Jackson testified Thursday about the singer’s desire to use propofol in the months before he was administered a fatal overdose of the drug.
Cherilyn Lee told jurors Jackson was desperate for sleep on the last day she treated him for fatigue and insomnia in April 2009 while he was rehearsing for his ill-fated This Is It tour.
Lee testified she tried to convince him to stay away from the powerful anesthetic, also known as Diprivan, and the day she refused was the last day she worked for the late King of Pop.
“I said, ‘I understand what you want… You want to be knocked out to go to sleep but what if you don’t wake up,'” Lee testified she told Jackson.
“How did he respond to that?” AEG attorney Kathryn Cahan asked the witness.
“He continued to tell me… ‘You don’t understand… I will be safe as long as I’m monitored,” she said.
Lee testified Jackson asked her to stay to watch him sleep inside his bedroom in the his Carolwood mansion.
She testified he startled her when he suddenly stood up on top of the bed at 4:30 in the morning.
“(He) stared at me with those nice big round eyes… he said, ‘I told you I cannot sleep all night. All I need is something to sleep, I just need Diprivan to go to sleep,'” she testified Jackson pleaded.
“When I said it is only used by anesthesiologists (he said), ‘Why don’t you bring one, you can bring an anesthesiologist and you can come too… so I could be monitored.’ He wanted me to know that he was going to be safe,” she continued.
Lee testified she did not give propofol to Jackson, who died in June 2009 following an overdose of the drug administered by Dr. Conrad Murray.
Murray is currently serving a four-year sentence at a L.A. County jail following his 2011 conviction for involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death.
Katherine Jackson is suing AEG, the concert promoters of her son’s ill-fated This Is It comeback concert series, claiming executives were negligent in hiring and supervising Murray.
AEG denies any wrongdoing.
The firm’s lawyer, Marvin Putnam, told KCAL9’s Randy Paige outside of court Thursday using the drug was Jackson’s choice and denied the assertion AEG executives pushed him to do so.
“They’ve tried to say in their complaint and otherwise that Mr. Jackson was forced to take propofol by AEG Live and a doctor of their choosing… We see that’s not true,” Putnam said.
Jackson family attorney Ryan Panish disputed the claims in an interview with Paige.
“AEG agreed to pay Dr. Murray $150,000 a month. They didn’t have to do that. The only doctor that killed Michael Jackson or that he ever had any issue with the quality of the care was the doctor that met and spoke with AEG and their top principles,” Panish said.
Jackson would have turned 55 Thursday.