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Michael Jackson 'not addicted', says brother

Published: 5:12AM Thursday November 10, 2011 Source: BANG Showbiz/Reuters

Michael Jackson's brother has insisted the late star was "not addicted" to drugs.

The singer died of acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009 but his sibling Jermaine Jackson claims the Thriller hitmaker's desire for the strong anaesthetic was due to him being plagued by insomnia, not an inability to cope without the prescription medication.

He said: "There was an addiction to Demerol in 2001 in... the early 2000s, but that was because of pain. Even during the autopsy report, there was no addiction to any of that.

"Michael just wanted to sleep - he did not want to die."

Dr Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of the popstar's death has come out and called the singer a drug "addict" in a television interview to air this week on American morning talk show Today.

Murray, who now sits in a Los Angeles jail awaiting sentencing for involuntary manslaughter, spoke to NBC News journalist Savannah Guthrie before the verdict was returned at his trial on Tuesday (NZT).

The interview will air in two parts on Friday and Thursday on NBC's Today show in the US.

The personal physician to Jackson never testified during his six-week trial stemming from the entertainer's June 2009 death of an overdose of the anesthetic propofol and sedatives.

Murray admitted to police that he gave Jackson those drugs as a sleep aid at the singer's mansion, but his attorneys argued the singer self-injected a fatal dose of propofol.

During the NBC interview, Guthrie asked the doctor if he was right to leave Jackson alone in his bedroom knowing he could self-inject the drug. Murray said he could not have foreseen that possibility.

"Had I known what I know today in retrospect, that Mr Jackson was an addict, and he had shared that information with me, addicts may behave in a way that is unreasonable and you may consider it," Murray said in the interview.

Murray's attorneys had argued during his trial that Jackson was addicted to the painkiller Demerol that he received from another doctor in the weeks before his death, but they barely mentioned any possible addiction to propofol.

Jackson's family has denied that Jackson was addicted to Demerol, and an autopsy did not reveal any amount of that painkiller in the singer's system.

In the interview, Murray also suggested it could be acceptable to administer propofol in a home, despite testimony of doctors at his trial who said they would never do that.

"I think propofol is not recommended to be given in the home setting, but it is not contraindicated," Murray told Guthrie.

Propofol expert Dr Steven Shafer testified for prosecutors during the trial and disputed the defense's theory that Jackson had self-injected the drug. Instead, Murray likely set up an intravenous drip of propofol for Jackson that stopped his breathing, Shafer said.

Murray also defended the fact that he allowed over 20 minutes to elapse between the time he discovered Jackson had stopped breathing and when an ambulance was called.

"No one is allowed to come upstairs except for Mr Jackson. His security is not allowed to enter the house," Murray said.

The physician first alerted the Jackson family chef, then called the singer's assistant, according to trial testimony.

Possible sentence too "soft"

Murray could face up to four years in prison when he is sentenced on November 29.

However, Michael's brother Jermaine believes the proposed sentence is too "soft".

He told TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres: "He trusted the doctor and the negligence and everything ... it's really sad because we lost an incredible person. To see and hear the verdict - my mother cried, and we consoled her, and the fans were cheering and everything but it's not bringing Michael back. We lost a brother.

"The sentencing [maximum] was very soft ... to give him two years for taking a life. Forget about Michael Jackson, but taking anyone's life.

"But it happens to be my brother who loved the world and loved people and did so much for the world. He cared about people, human beings, children."

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