Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s youngest brother made an unsuccessful effort to reach the singer in his last weeks because of family concerns about his drug use, according to testimony in the AEG Live wrongful death trial.
Lawyers for the concert promoter accused of liability in Jackson’s death want to show that the pop icon was a secretive drug addict who was even beyond his family’s help.
Jurors watched video of Randy Jackson’s questioning by the AEG Live lawyers about failed interventions he led because of his concerns about Michael Jackson’s use of painkillers in the last decade of his brother’s life.
Jackson died from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that a doctor told police he was using to treat his insomnia as he rehearsed for a comeback tour four years ago. Jackson’s mother and three children are suing the concert promoter, contending it negligently hired, retained or supervised the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his death.
Randy Jackson testified that he and his father, Joe Jackson, were turned away from the gates of Jackson’s rented Los Angeles mansion on Carolwood Drive, the home in which he died weeks later. They were concerned because of “reports to me that he didn’t look too good,” he said.
“After I had heard this, I said, ‘Come on, let’s go. We’re going over there,’ ” he testified.
Other witnesses, including Jackson’s makeup artist and the show director, have testified that Jackson suffered physical deterioration in the last two months of his life.
“There was a drug issue,” Randy Jackson said, explaining why they wanted to reach him. “He wasn’t eating. All of these things were happening at the same and, you know, a lot of pressure.”
He said he wanted to persuade his brother to leave rehearsals and enter a drug rehab program in San Francisco.
“Of course my brother wouldn’t let me through because he wouldn’t want me to see him like that,” he said. The security guard told him his brother was not at home, he said.
Jackson lawyers do not dispute that Michael Jackson had a drug dependency problem at times, but they say he went long periods of time without taking painkillers. The entertainer publicly acknowledged his dependency when he cut short his Dangerous tour to enter a rehab program in 1993.
The drug use was connected to two decades of pain stemming from scalp burns suffered while filming a Pepsi commercial and several onstage accidents on tour, they say. He also used prescription sedatives to help him sleep, especially during the pressure of touring, they argue.
The pressure was on again as Jackson prepared for his “This Is It” concerts set to debut in London in July 2009, they say. Jackson was getting nightly infusions of propofol in a desperate effort to cure his insomnia, which a sleep expert testified disrupted his natural sleep cycles and caused his physical and mental decline.
AEG Live executives created an ethical conflict of interest by hiring Dr. Conrad Murray as Jackson’s full-time physician for $150,000 a month, the Jackson lawsuit contends. Murray could not refuse Jackson’s demands for propofol infusions since he was deeply in debt and could not risk being fired from the lucrative job, they argue.