Defense Begins in Trial of Michael Jackson's Doctor

Testimony suggests the singer was desperate to cure insomnia

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff (R) cross-examines propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer as Dr. Conrad Murray (L) looks on in Los Angeles Superior Court Credit: Paul Buck-Pool/Getty

Defense attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, called their first witnesses to the stand yesterday.

Witnesses included Dr. Allan Metzger, a friend of Jackson's who testified that the pop star had requested anesthetics from him as a sleep aid. During cross-examination, the prosecution used Metzger's testimony to show that other medical professionals had rejected this request from Jackson.

The defense also questioned Detectives Dan Myers and Orlando Martinez about testimony from the King of Pop's bodyguard Alberto Alvarez, in which he claimed Murray asked him to hide vials of drugs before calling 911. The defense maintains that Alvarez changed his story to suit the coroner's official report.

Cherilyn Lee, a holistic nurse who treated Jackson with vitamin infusions, testified that she urged the singer to undergo a sleep study for insomnia. Lee's testimony will continue later today.

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