LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson had a long list of prescription drugs in his system when he died in the days before his anticipated comeback tour, a toxicologist with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office testified Monday.
Dan Anderson, the first witness called in the second week of the lawsuit that Michael Jackson’s mother and three children filed against entertainment giant AEG, continued what has been an unvarnished look into the entertainer’s final days.
A Los Angeles Police Department detective already testified that when he saw Jackson spread on a bed in his rented Holmby Hills mansion, the pop singer resembled an end stage cancer patient who’d come home to die. Testimony also recounted how Jackson’s family had tried to get him to quit drugs, including a failed intervention effort at his Neverland ranch.
On Monday, Anderson testified that tests of Jackson’s blood, urine and internal organs showed traces of the anesthetic propofol, the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and lorazepam, the short-term anesthetic midazolam and lidocaine, a numbing cream that paramedics sometimes use in resuscitation efforts.
Anderson said that the amount of propofol found in Jackson’s system was what you’d expect in a patient who had just undergone major surgery.
The toxicologist also testified that investigators found other drugs at Jackson’s home, including the antidepressant trazodone and the prostate drug Flomax.
Anderson said investigators found injectable lorazepam at Jackson’s home as well, a form of the drug “typically found in a hospital setting.”
The discovery of the propofol bottles outside a medical setting also was “highly unusual” and “kind of raises a red flag,” Anderson said.
Most of the drugs, he testified, were prescribed by Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer the lethal dose of propofol.
The Jackson family claims that AEG negligently hired and supervised Murray, while AEG says the doctor worked for Jackson. AEG, a major player in downtown L.A. with the Staples Center and L.A. Live, was promoting Jackson’s “This Is It” comeback tour.