Michael Jackson, AEG Live wrongful death trial: Anesthesiologist says singer recruited him
He wanted help with insomnia
Alan Duke, CNN
1:16 PM, Aug 22, 2013
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- MIchael Jackson and Dr. Conrad Murray tried to recruit an anesthesiologist to join them on his comeback tour, according to testimony in the AEG Live wrongful death trial.
Murray arranged the meeting in March 2009 in which Jackson asked Dr. David Adams to travel with him to London, Adams testified.
Adams said that after he offered to take the job for $100,000 a month guaranteed for three years, Murray stopped communicating with him.
"I texted basically, you know, 'what's going on, I'm on board," Adams said. "And no response."
Just weeks later Murray accepted an offer from an AEG Live executive to be Jackson's personal physician on his "This Is It" tour for $150,000 a month.
Murray told investigators he began infusing Jackson with the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat his insomnia in April, a treatment that eventually killed the pop icon.
Jurors in the trial of Jackson's last concert promoter viewed the video depositions of Adams and two other witnesses Wednesday ahead of a six-day break in testimony.
Jackson's mother and children are suing AEG Live, contending the company's executives negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's propofol overdose death.
AEG Live's lawyers argue it was Jackson -- not its executives -- who chose and controlled Murray and that they had no way of knowing about the dangerous treatments he was giving the singer in the privacy of his bedroom.
Jackson: 'Help me get my rest'
Adams, who administered propofol to Jackson during cosmetic dental procedures in Las Vegas four times in 2008, said Jackson and Murray never told him what his duties would be if he took a job with the tour.
"I said 'I don't sing and I really can't dance, so to do what?" Adams testified.
"He says 'Well, you know, I'm entertaining, I'm jumping around, I'm doing this. Every once in a while I need an IV," Adams testified. "And he says 'I just need you to help me get my rest.' They were pretty vague, but on hindsight I know what they were talking about."
Jackson and Murray, however, never mentioned that administering propofol or treating his insomnia would be one of his responsibilities on tour, the anesthesiologist testified.
Jackson never asked him to do anything medically inappropriate, Adams said.
Adams hinted that there was jealously on Murray's part when Jackson courted him for a tour job.
"Murray really looked like he had just lost his best friend" when Jackson was discussing it, Adams said. "Oh, he was truly upset."
Murray told CNN's Anderson Cooper in April that Michael Jackson had "his own stash" of propofol in his home before he began treating him with it.
"I did not agree with Michael, but Michael felt that it was not an issue because he had been exposed to it for years and he knew exactly how things worked," Murray said. "And given the situation at the time, it was my approach to try to get him off of it, but Michael Jackson was not the kind of person you can just say 'Put it down' and he's going to do that."
Jackson lawyers argue that AEG Live was negligent for not checking out Murray's distressed financial situation before agreeing to pay him $150,000 a month. It created a conflict of interest that led Murray to ignore safe practices and his responsibility to Jackson's health, they contend.
AEG Live executives also ignored a series of red flags that should have warned them that Jackson's health was deteriorating under Murray's care and another doctor should have been called in, they argue.
Adams was in a Las Vegas operating room on June 25, 2009, when he learned Jackson had died.
"I texted Murray 'I'm sorry to hear what happened. Take care,'" he said. Murray never responded, he said.
Dr. Murray's connection to Michael Jackson
Murray did respond that night to a phone call from another Adams. Jeffrey Adams is the person who initially introduced him to Michael Jackson in February 2007 when the singer needed a doctor to treat one of his children in Las Vegas.
Jeffrey Adams -- no relation to Dr. David Adams -- had known Murray for years and the cardiologist had treated his father's heart ailment in 2007. His video deposition was shown to jurors Wednesday morning.
He testified that he called Dr. Murray to offer his help after he saw on television that Jackson had died.
"I told him he had taken care of my father for me and I would be at his side until this situation was complete," Adams testified.
Murray told him that night "he was going to need a lawyer," he said.
He and Murray "did everything together" from June 26, 2009 --a day after Jackson's death -- until November 7, 2011 -- the day Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, he said.
Jeffrey Adams said he served as Murray's bodyguard for more than two years without pay.
Despite his close relationship to Murray, Adams said he has not spoken to the doctor since he was put in handcuffs in the courtroom and taken to jail.
Murray is expected to be released from jail on October 28, 2013 -- after serving two years of a four year prison sentence, according to his lawyer.
Murray and Jackson: "Seemed very odd"
Murray's relationship with Michael Jackson "seemed very odd," according to Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Gordon. Jurors also watched his video deposition Wednesday.
"He presented himself as being Mr. Jackson's personal physician and spokesperson to some extent" when Murray accompanied Jackson on an appointment to have cosmetic filler put in his face on May 14, 2007, Gordon said.
Gordon had treated Jackson several times four years earlier, but not when Murray was with him -- and he even wrote a $1,300 check to pay for the procedure, he said.
"The whole situation seemed very odd and it didn't add up and that caused me not to fully trust the person," Gordon testified. "I felt like a successful cardiologist doesn't go around being somebody's private physician and speaking for them, in my experience."
Jackson, however, appeared to be capable of dealing with doctors on his own, Gordon said. "He gave me the impression that he was used to telling doctors what he wanted them to do."
Jackson personally called him in 2002 when he was looking for a doctor in Las Vegas to give him collagen and Botox treatments, he said.
"At first I thought it was somebody playing a prank, one of my friends fooling around," Gordon said. He realized it really was the pop star when he called him back at his hotel -- asking for him under his alias "Michael Jefferson," he said.
Wednesday was the 74th day of testimony on the trial, which the judge predicted would last another month.