Jackson trial focuses on singer's Demerol use

Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:25pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A sleep medicine expert testified on Thursday that Michael Jackson's reliance on the painkiller Demerol could have led to insomnia, but said the singer's doctor still erred by giving him propofol to sleep.

Dr Conrad Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the "Thriller" singer's 2009 death from an overdose of sedatives and the anesthetic propofol.

Prosecutors say Murray was negligent in his care, but defense attorneys hope to shift some blame onto another doctor who gave Jackson Demerol, which they say ultimately caused the insomnia Murray was treating.

Murray told police he gave Jackson propofol as a sleep aid on the day he died at the singer's Los Angeles mansion. His attorneys say Jackson gave himself an extra, fatal dose of the drug he called his "milk" due to insomnia.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan, sleep medicine expert Dr Nader Kamangar testified that his review of Jackson's records showed the singer received Demerol from Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Arnold Klein.

"I usually avoid using Demerol" on patients, Kamangar said on the witness stand. "It can actually activate someone, make them more hyper or excited, create more stimulation."

Flanagan asked, "Can that cause insomnia?"

"It certainly can," Kamangar said.   Continued...