Expert says Jackson nearly completely sleepless in final weeks

FRED SHUSTER, City News Service
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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – An insomnia expert testified today Michael Jackson had been almost totally sleepless in the weeks leading up to his death.

Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard University professor testifying in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the late singer’s mother, said Jackson’s body needed natural sleep, not the drug-induced coma that the anesthetic propofol caused.

In the end, Jackson suffered from “massive” sleep deficiency as evidenced by reports of weight loss, anxiety, paranoia and the inability to remember lyrics he had sung for years, Czeisler told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury.

The “deterioration” was “profound and sad,” Czeisler said.

The sleep researcher said he developed his opinion of Jackson’s health based on depositions and other evidence provided by the entertainer’s co- workers and employees during the period before his death on June 25, 2009.

Czeisler said he was being paid $950 an hour for his work on the case, now in its eighth week.

Jackson’s sleep disorder was “disabling,” becoming more acute as he prepared for a concert tour.

Czeisler told the jury that Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s ex-wife, said in her deposition that although the couple did not sleep in the same room, she was aware that her then-spouse suffered from insomnia “so severe that he couldn’t sleep for days,” a situation the singer deeply feared.

The sleep doctor said that propofol, the drug used by Dr. Conrad Murray to help Jackson fight insomnia, should never have been utilized as a purported sleep aid.

“It’s completely egregious — this conduct — on the part of Dr. Murray,” Czeisler said.

Katherine Jackson filed suit in September 2010 on behalf of herself and her late son’s offspring, alleging that “This Is It” tour promoter AEG Live and two of its executives hired Murray to care for the singer and failed to supervise him properly.

Jackson died of an overdose of propofol administered by Murray at the singer’s rented mansion in Holmby Hills. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and is serving a jail sentence.

AEG Live attorneys argue that Murray was actually hired by Jackson in 2006 as his personal physician and chose him to be his doctor during 50 sold- out concert dates at London’s O2 Arena as part of an independent contractor arrangement.

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