July 25, 2013
By BILL HETHERMAN
City News Service
In video testimony shown to a jury July 24, a physician who treated Michael Jackson for two years said the singer was addicted to the pain medication Demerol and that he gave the pop star an opiate-inhibiting implant to try and break his habit.
Questioned by AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam, Dr. Alimorad Farschcian said the entertainer wanted to end his Demerol problem for the sake of his children. The singer’s youngest child, Blanket, was born in February 2002, 10 months after Jackson originally began seeing Farschcian.
“His main concern was his kids, always his kids,” the witness said.
Farschcian said his primary practice was regenerative medicine and that Jackson originally asked him to treat an ankle injury. But Jackson later asked about helping him with his drug issues, Farschcian said.
The doctor said he placed drug-inhibiting implants in Jackson’s abdomen on five different occasions until the pop star stopped coming to him in 2003, when Farschcian said the entertainer appeared to be sober.
The implant blocked the feeling of euphoria that Demerol gave Jackson, according to Farschcian.
The physician was called to the stand as a defense witness in trial of the negligence/wrongful death lawsuit that family matriarch Katherine Jackson filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2010 against AEG Live, the promoter of her late son’s planned comeback tour.
The suit, which also names the singer’s three children as plaintiffs, alleges that AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray as the pop star's physician for the tour and failed to supervise him properly. But AEG maintains it was Jackson who hired Murray in 2006 as his personal physician and chose him to be his doctor during his “This Is It” concerts.
Jackson was in Los Angeles rehearsing for the 50 London tour dates at the time of his June 25, 2009, death at age 50. Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer a lethal intravenous dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid and was sentenced to four years in jail.
Farschcian said his notes from Jackson’s treatments showed the singer made steady progress and that an insomnia problem appeared to be improving. He said Katherine Jackson also was aware of the implant treatment of her son and was happy with it.
But asked by Putnam whether he ever believed Jackson had resumed using drugs while under Farschcian’s treatment, the doctor replied, “I might have.”
Farschcian said it was sometimes difficult to reach Jackson personally because of his bodyguards and others in his entourage.
The doctor said he let Jackson stay at the physician's Miami-area home twice because the singer was concerned about the paparazzi. Farschcian said he also visited Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
Farschcian said he met with Jackson shortly after the entertainer’s November 2003 arrest on child molestation charges of which he was later acquitted. Asked by Putnam to describe how Jackson looked physically, Farschcian replied, “Not too good.”