Nurse says Jackson sought anesthetic for sleep

Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:19pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A nurse said on Tuesday that Michael Jackson sought her help to get the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid, but she could not persuade the pop star to avoid the drug that ultimately led to his death in 2009.

Nurse Cherilyn Lee, a nutritionist who worked with Jackson, testified for the defense in the widely watched trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who has been accused of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death.

Earlier Tuesday, defense attorneys told the judge they would not call Murray to the stand to testify on his own behalf, preferring to use witnesses such as Lee to show Jackson was drug dependent and highly motivated to obtain propofol.

Lee told jurors she tried to give Jackson natural remedies to deal with his insomnia. But in April 2009, just over two months before Jackson died of an overdose of propofol and sedatives on June 25, he asked her about the surgical anesthetic and said it was the only thing that helped him sleep.

"'I know this will knock me out, as soon as it gets into my vein I am knocked out and I am asleep,'" Lee quoted Jackson as telling her on that date.

Lee said she researched propofol and learned of its significant side effects, and that it was only supposed to be administered for surgery or in a hospital setting.

She told Jackson the drug could lead to him forgetting his singing lines, and that it was not to be administered in a home setting, but that the singer seemed unpersuaded.

Lee broke down in tears when she related how Jackson responded to her warnings about the drug.   Continued...

<p>Judge Michael E. Pastor presides over the Dr. Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles, California October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Buck/Pool</p>