Update: 10:33 a.m.
The morning got off to a delayed start, thanks to L.A. traffic issues and rain in the area.
Once proceedings did begin, the defense’s first witness of the day -- nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee -- sparked a short break when she told Judge Michael Pastor she was feeling dizzy and was experiencing blurry vision.
After a short recess, Lee begin her testimony, and told defense attorney Ed Chernoff that she had tried to treat Michael Jackson’s insomnia with vitamins. When that failed, Jackson requested that she obtain propofol -- he asked for it by the name Dipravan -- and she refused.
Lee is currently under cross-examination by prosecuting attorney David Walgren.
Cherilyn Lee, a nurse who worked with Michael Jackson to treat his ongoing insomnia, will continue her testimony to begin day 17 of the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial.
Lee began her testimony on Monday by saying that she used vitamins to try to help the singer with his persistent insomnia in 2009. She said it was not effective and that Jackson asked her for stronger medication.
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“His complaint was ‘I have a problem sleeping and all the natural remedies and everything you’re doing is not working,’” Lee said. “When I need sleep, I need to go to sleep right away.”
CNN.com reports that after Jackson’s death, Lee said the pop star had asked her to give him propofol. She is expected to testify to that on the witness stand today.
The Los Angeles County coroner ruled Michael Jackson died of “acute propofol intoxication,” and that sedatives were also a factor. Prosecutors contend Murray is criminally liable for Jackson’s June 25, 2009 death because he recklessly administered the propofol, a potent surgical anesthetic drug, and was negligent in properly monitoring Jackson.
The first day of the defense’s case Monday also included testimony by Dr. Allan Metzger, who worked with Jackson for 20 years for what he termed a “profound sleep disorder.”
Metzger testified that Jackson called him on April 18, 2009 to request “intravenous sleep medicine.” Metzger said no, and gave the singer prescriptions for two oral sleep aids instead, he said.
On cross-examination, prosecution attorney David Walgren asked Metzger him if he would consider, for any amount of money, using propofol outside a medical setting.
“Absolutely not,” Metzger answered.
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Four police officers also briefly testified for the defense on Monday, after Murray’s team finished cross-examination of Dr. Steven Shaffer, the prosecution’s anesthesiologist and propofol expert.
The defense has less than a dozen witnesses left to call, including AEG Live head Randy Phillips. AEG Live was sponsoring what Jackson hoped would be a series of comeback concerts in London, and the defense contends Phillips pressured Jackson to be healthy and on time for tour rehearsals, lest the shows be cancelled.
CNN reports the trial is expected to go to the jury for deliberations at the end of this week.
Murray faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted, though a new California law could mean his sentence would be reduced to two years and be served in a county jail.
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