Jacksons vs AEG - Day 79 – September 4 2013 – Summary

No Jackson family members are in court today. 

Dr. Paul Earley Testimony

Jackson cross

Boyle started out by asking Earley about his experience writing articles for medical publications and any conflicts of interest. Earley said he had written two or three peer-reviewed articles. He said some were published in European journals. Boyle then showed Earley the conflict of interest policy for the journal where the AEG-funded article ran. The policy states potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed on the cover sheet when the article is submitted. Earley said he did disclose that AEG Live paid for the research funding as spelled out in the policy. AEG’s payments were listed on the article’s seventh page. Earley said he had no control over where the disclosure was listed, that was the journal’s decision. (AP) Dr. Earley cross continued. The first item was the Propofol Study that he published at the beginning of 2013.

Dr. Earley said the published report had a different format so it was not on the front page of the report. Under tough questioning, he insisted that he did not have a conflict of interest as an AEG consultant with having AEG pay for the study. He testified he was not trying to hide the AEG connection saying that was ridiculous. He was asked if the 22 medical pros in the propofol study funded by AEG are still alive? Dr. Earley did not know. Wasn’t part of study (ABC7) The journal article focused on case studies of 22 medical professionals who had propofol addiction. Boyle asked if they were all alive. Dr. Earley said didn’t know and he couldn’t contact the people in the study due to medical privacy laws. (AP) 

Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle also grilled Earley over his nondisclosure that he was working as a paid consultant in AEG Live's defense when he submitted the study for publication in a medical journal. He said the concert promoter did not try to influence his findings, which were published in March in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. (CNN)

Boyle also showed Earley the ethical guidelines of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which state members should only provide general information about addiction and not offer diagnosis on celebrities or other public figures. Boyle questioned whether Earley’s blog posts on Michael Jackson violated those guidelines. Earley said he didn’t think they did. (AP) As yesterday, he was questioned about the blog he wrote a few weeks after MJ died. He restated he did not characterize MJ as addict. (ABC7) Boyle this morning also showed Earley a second blog post he wrote in Dec. 2011 that had the headline: “Murray Convicted -- Addiction Wins.” Earley said he wrote the post to draw attention to an article written by friend and journalist William C. Moyers (AP) Earley wrote another blog on his website 12/5/2011 titled, Murray Convicted Addiction Wins. Despite title, says not saying MJ addict. At the time on the blog, Earley was an AEG consultant. He said the title had Addiction winning not MJ and Addict. Asked about a line in the blog – another superstar going to oblivion – Earley said purpose of blog is talk about addiction. When he posted blog did he ask AEG permission? No. Consult AEG? No. After more AEG questions Earley exasperated said he was tired of this! (ABC7)

Boyle pressed Earley on his use of the term addiction, again asking whether he’d made up his mind about Jackson’s case by then. Earley said he hadn't made up his mind about Jackson and was merely trying to draw attention to the problem of addiction. Boyle: “You were referring to Michael Jackson.” “I was referring to the addiction problem, so the answer is no,” Earley said. (AP)

By this point, Earley was already doing research for AEG Live, although the company hadn’t agreed to fund his study by then. Boyle asked about Earley’s payments on the case. The doctor estimated he’d been paid $80-90k on the case, not including his testimony. (AP)

Earley had overcome a drug addiction about 30 years ago. He was asked details. He used several drugs including oxycodone and heroin. He was almost homeless and had his medical license suspended. He was in treatment for 9 months and got clean. (ABC7) Earley spoke extensively today about his own addiction to opioids and how he was able to be rehabilitated and keep his medical license. Boyle asked if Earley was relying on his own experiences as the basis for his opinions in the case. The doctor said only to a small extent. Earley was very candid about his addiction, saying he was at one point nearly homeless and had to relinquish his medical license. He was criminally charged with writing prescriptions to himself under false names and went into treatment. His work in the addiction medical field grew out of his recovery and rehabilitation. His issues were in the early 1980s, he said. Earley said his drugs of abuse were oxycodone, heroin, codeine and hydrocodone. Boyle repeatedly commended him on his recovery. The attorney asked Early whether in the depths of his addiction, his prognosis was grave. “Yes it was,” Earley responded. Earley said in response to one question about his recovery that while he survived, many of his colleagues with addiction have not. The doctor said it was a miracle, by the “grace of God” that he survived. Many of his patients have been addicted physicians. (AP) 

Boyle asked the doctor whether during his addiction, he had a concert promoter involved in his life, med care. Earley said he didn’t. Boyle asked about the role of a family’s love in the recovery of an addict. Earley said it was important in his early stages of recovery. “Michael had a lot to live for,” Earley said of Jackson and his love for his children, which could have aided in a recovery. Boyle asked whether Jackson having full time access to a doctor like Conrad Murray would be a trigger for his addiction. Earley said Jackson had access to the doctor, but it was the doctor’s responsibility to be a gatekeeper to drugs and medications. (AP)

Asked about the Physician Desk Reference (PDR) Earley checked and propofol was not in the book. Can’t get drug with prescription. PDR’s are for General Practitioners not some specialized fields like Anesthesiologists or some cancer drugs. One last from the morning session, according to Jackson attorney a common name for Propofol is “Milk of Amnesia” even in wikipedia!!! (ABC7)

During morning session PDR did not have propofol in the book. In the courtroom Boyle handed a note. The page with propofol had been torn out in a dramatic moment earlier in the trial. Laughs in the courtroom (ABC7)

In general, there were a lot of delays in testimony today. Lots of sidebars and objections and some charts that had to be quickly redone. One such delay happened when Boyle asked Earley to find the entry for propofol in the 2009 edition of the Physicians’ Desk Reference. The Physicians’ Desk Reference, AKA PDR, has detailed entries on many drugs. It’s the book Cherilyn Lee used to discuss propofol with MJ. Earley couldn’t find the entry in the PDR so Boyle asked partner Brian Panish to locate it. He couldn’t find it either. It turns out another lawyer, Michael Koskoff, had ripped out the pages on propofol while questioning another witness, Dr. Levounis. (AP)

They continued about the drugs that were found at MJ house. The list of drugs found at the house but not in MJ’s body according to Coroner report was Lidocaine and Ephedrine. Used to try to help MJ. From there they moved on to Demerol. Dr. Earley said he was only aware of 3 cases that a person died of an overdose given by a doctor. Attorney Boyle tried to make the case that dying of Demerol administered by a doctor was more rare that trampled by elephant or hit by tsunami. With a graph showing MJ Demerol Injection from Dr. Klein, in the last couple months of MJ life. He went only 4 days until May 5th. (ABC7)

Attorney Boyle made the point that on May 6th AEG Exec Paul Gongaware sent Dr. Murray the email “Done” $150,000. (ABC7)

Boyle’s examination after lunch focused on the times that Jackson requested propofol over sleep _ they said in court it was four times. That wouldn't include anesthesiologist Dr. David Adams, who Jackson approached in 2009 but didn’t discuss propofol by name. Boyle showed a chart listing those requests by Jackson, adding the May 6, 2009 date that AEG exec Paul Gongaware said Murray’s deal was done. Boyle’s point was that Jackson didn’t request propofol from anyone else after Murray was working with MJ on the “This Is It” tour. (AP)

Then Earley was questioned if Propofol can mask the symptoms of Demerol withdrawal. He said it can mask some of those symptoms (ABC7)

On to MJ’s general health. No evidence heart, kidney, diabetes? No. Blood Pressure – Early says Coroner report no pressure! (ABC7)

AEG redirect

On redirect Earley says he didn’t see the Gongaware email until court Tuesday. They put back up the Propofol slide with info added. Added: Jan 2006 MJ starts to see Dr. Murray. 2/4/09 MJ tells Dr. Salvit Murray is his personal physician. 4/6/09 Dr. Murray makes the first order for propofol. 4/28 Murray orders more. 5/12 More. 6/6/09 More. (ABC7)

AEG’s lawyers point to Murray ordering propofol before that date. Boyle later noted Gongaware’s testimony about talking to Murray about working on the tour and his request for $5 million. That happened 3 to 5 weeks before the May email indicating Murray’s deal with done. Cahan showed Earley and the jury a chart that listed Murray’s first treatments of MJ in 2006, and propofol shipments from April-June ’09. (AP)

Earley said in response to a question by Cahan that before Jackson’s death, propofol addiction was virtually unknown by the public. Cahan asked him the doctor about his blog posts. He said he didn’t think they were an issue because he wasn’t making any diagnoses. (AP) 

Dr. Earley checked his first Blog in 2009 that was brought up Tuesday. He wrote it 6 weeks after MJ died. He said he learned of the propofol toxic in news reports. He said he had begun seeing propofol cases in medical pros in 2008. He started cataloging cases to look at them at a later date and possibly do a study at a later date. Study funded by AEG. Asked if AEG support for the Study Dr. Earley said no. Started before lawsuit filed. AEG could have influence of if he was time traveler. (ABC7)

A second blog was brought up that Earley posted when Dr. Murray was convicted. The first line written by another addiction doctor. It was attributed him in the second line of the blog. That was read to the jury. (ABC7)

Earley was asked whether MJ should have avoided doctors. He said no _ he needed treatment _ but he needed to disclose all his conditions. (AP)

Jackson recross

On recross Dr. Earley was questioned about the Study. He is asked about a conflict of interest with AEG funding he says didn’t affect result. Findings were very uncommon addiction for medical pros. 1.6% are addicted. Half use other drugs. More women are addicted and there is a rapid decline. Addicts commonly are depressed and have had child trauma. (ABC7)

Earley told the details of his addiction. Used for about 5 years. Wrote prescriptions with other names for self and was arrested. He went to drug court and was sentenced to the program where he is now. His license was suspended but he got it back. Program is why he is alive. (ABC7)

On Re Cross Dr. Fivner was brought up. After a 5 minute sidebar in chamber Earley testified that Fivner had a suspended license at the time. (ABC7) Boyle took back over and asked some questions about Earley’s co-author on his AEG-funded propofol study. It turns out Earley’s co-author had his medical license suspended due to some addiction-related legal problems. He wasn’t working in medicine at the time the study was written. Earley said his co-author has since had his license reinstated and is working in New York (AP)

Boyle also asked Earley about whether he had any control over how AEG used his study in the case. The doctor said no. Earley said he also didn’t have control over how the plaintiff’s used his research, or any other research that’s been published. Boyle likened AEG’s payments to Earley’s research as similar to private money turning into a nuclear weapon. “This is a small study. I’m not building the atom bomb,” Earley responded. (AP)

At the end of his questioning Boyle asked Earley about his opinion that you can’t blame an addict for their addiction. “In medicine, we don’t talk about blame,” Earley said. This opinion was played earlier in the case for the jury . (AP)

AEG redirect

On direct testimony he said Finver was between jobs. Finver in the program for drug addiction and his medical license suspended. He was in between a pizza job and driving a truck for Good Will. He did not need license to work on the Study. AEG and Journal not told. Got his license back earlier this year. (ABC7) 

The co-author of a study on propofol addiction funded by AEG Live and used in their defense in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial lost his medical license for writing illegal drug prescriptions, according to testimony. Dr. Torin Finver was hired to help with the AEG Live study after he lost his job at a pizza parlor and took a job driving a Goodwill truck, said Dr. Paul Earley, who testified Wednesday as an expert witness for the concert promoter. Finver was "destitute, dead broke, and I wanted to help him," Earley, himself a recovering heroin addict, testified. Earley testified that he never disclosed to AEG Live lawyers that his co-author had lost his medical license. (CNN)

In his blog he characterized MJ prognosis as grave. Earley says he treats many grave patients. That is why he is good. Never gives up. (ABC7)

Jackson recross

Last question on recross was did Dr. Earley see Dr. Murray had ordered 4 gallons of propofol. Dr. Earley answered I did. (ABC7) Boyle ended by asking Earley if he was aware that Murray ordered more than four gallons of propofol for Jackson. The doctor said he was. (AP)