Jurors learn of Jackson’s sleep deprivation at trialLOS ANGELES - A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live LLC, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:
Jackson’s mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson’s planned comeback concerts didn’t properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a criminal jury for Jackson’s June 2009 death. AEG’s attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson’s decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.
What happened this past week
- Jackson’s personal chef Kai Chase told jurors about Jackson’s relationship with his children as well as her impressions that the singer appeared weaker in the final weeks of his life. She recounted numerous tender moments, including a party Jackson threw for his daughter Paris on her 11th birthday, complete with a private circus.
- Charles Czeisler, an expert sleep researcher from Harvard University, told jurors that Jackson was totally sleep-deprived by the time of his death because the singer’s use of propofol was not giving him actual sleep but was akin to being in a drug-induced coma.
Michael Jackson’s inability to learn new dance moves and remember the lyrics to his songs were symptoms that the singer was totally sleep deprived by the time of his death, he said.
Czeisler said reports by workers on Jackson’s ill-fated comeback concerts that the entertainer was losing weight, exhibiting signs of paranoia and his condition seemed to be deteriorating were consistent with someone who hadn’t gotten any real sleep in a long time.
The sleep deprivation was likely caused by Jackson’s use of the anesthetic propofol, which Czeisler said would not meet his body’s need for actual sleep. Studies showed that similar levels of sleep deprivation resulted in the deaths of laboratory animals and would likely cause the death of a human, he said.
What the jury saw
- Jurors got their first glimpse of Jackson’s oldest children, Prince and Paris, testifying. An AEG lawyer played short clips of the pair to challenge testimony offered by Chase. The two-minute clip of Paris Jackson’s testimony showed her alternately looking down and at an AEG Live attorney as she described her father’s rocky relationship with her former nanny.
- The jury was shown several images related to how Jackson raised his children, including a handwritten note that Paris wrote Chase thanking her for several gifts she bought for the family while at Disneyland.
- “It was the most beautiful expression of love I’ve ever seen,” Chase said about a Cirque du Soleil-style circus that Jackson hired for Paris’ 11th birthday.
- “The meticulous detailing of his deterioration here was both profound and sad,” Czeisler said of e-mails documenting Jackson’s missed rehearsals and inability to perform songs and dance moves without tour worker being afraid he would hurt himself.
- Jurors will hear from an expert in medical conflict of interest cases.