The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Expert tells jury that Michael Jackson was totally sleep-deprived by the time of his death

  • Print
FILE - - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, US singer Michael Jackson announces at a press conference that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July 2009. David Berman, a recording industry expert hired by Jackson’s mother, Katherine, testified Monday June 17, 2013, that concert promoter AEG Live LLC created a conflict of interest by negotiating with the singer’s physician for services on the “This Is It” tour. Katherine Jackson is suing AEG Live, claiming it failed to properly investigate the doctor and ignored warning signs about her son’s health before his death on June 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Enlarge Image

FILE - - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, US singer Michael Jackson announces at a press conference that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July 2009. David Berman, a recording industry expert hired by Jackson’s mother, Katherine, testified Monday June 17, 2013, that concert promoter AEG Live LLC created a conflict of interest by negotiating with the singer’s physician for services on the “This Is It” tour. Katherine Jackson is suing AEG Live, claiming it failed to properly investigate the doctor and ignored warning signs about her son’s health before his death on June 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - 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, a sleep expert told a jury Friday.

Charles 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 put the singer in a drug-induced coma and 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.

The extreme nature of Jackson's sleep deprivation would have shortened the singer's life unless he received appropriate treatment, Czeisler said. With proper treatment, Jackson could have continued to tour and perform for many years, he testified.

Czeisler relied heavily on summaries of testimony provided by a plaintiff's lawyer and emails from choreographers and others working on Jackson's "This Is It" tour to form his opinion. The testimony detailed Jackson's missed rehearsals and reports that he was picking up dance moves slowly, as well as that he requested a teleprompter to display lyrics to his songs.

"The meticulous detailing of his deterioration here was both profound and sad," Czeisler said.

The Harvard professor and sleep researcher is testifying as a sleep expert in a lawsuit filed by the singer's mother against concert promoter AEG Live LLC.

On cross-examination by AEG defence attorney Kathryn Cahan, the researcher acknowledged that he hadn't reviewed actual testimony from the case, including statements from AEG executives that they thought the singer appeared fine and had stellar rehearsals before his death.

Czeisler, who is being paid $950 an hour for his work on the case, said he reached his opinion after reviewing deposition transcripts, medical records and other evidence shown to jurors during Katherine Jackson's eight-week trial against AEG.

A lawyer for Katherine Jackson summarized the evidence used to form the basis for Czeisler's opinion in a 17-minute, 1,833 word question that caused the trial to grind to a halt on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Michael Koskoff's inquiry was posed as a hypothetical question to Czeisler that included a summary of testimony, passages of emails already shown to jurors and other evidence presented during trial.

A judge said the question contained details that are inadmissible in the trial and misstated several other details. Superior Court Yvette Palazuelos opted not to strike the question from the record but allowed Koskoff to clarify it. That process took another 19 minutes on Friday.

Attorneys spent roughly an hour arguing over the structure of the lengthy question, leaving jurors waiting for nearly 30 minutes on Friday.

Czeisler earned more than $250 listening to the initial question, and more than $300 listening to Koskoff clarify it. Czeisler is a Harvard-educated sleep expert who has consulted on sleep issues for sports teams, the Rolling Stones, ex-NBA player Shaquille O'Neal and government agencies such as the CIA and U.S. Marshals Service.

In all, he estimated that he had spent 120 hours on the case, which would earn him $114,000.

Katherine Jackson's negligent hiring suit claims AEG Live is responsible for her son's death because it failed to properly investigate Conrad Murray, who was convicted of giving Jackson a fatal dose of propofol, and missed warning signs about his health.

AEG denies it hired Murray or could have known that the former cardiologist was giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid.

___

Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lauren Bacall 'loved' working in Canada

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google