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Doctor: 'I told promoters Michael Jackson was a drug addict in 1993'

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Jul 08, 2013 | 8:59pm EDT

A doctor who once treated Michael Jackson for pain on tour has testified in court that he told an AEG Live executive that the King of Pop was a drug addict back in 1993. Dr. Stuart Finklestein, who travelled the world with Jackson on his 1993 Dangerous tour, testified via a video deposition that he gave the singer a shot of Demerol and a 24-hour intravenous morphine drip while he was in Thailand with the Thriller star, and told his tour manager Paul Gongaware that his patient had drug issues. In what was the 43rd day of the ongoing wrongful death trial, Dr. Finklestein, who is now an addiction specialist, revealed he was called to administer pain relief to Jackson. He spoke with the singer's Los Angeles doctor on the phone and agreed to give him pain medication to help the singer cope with a severe headache. Finklestein told jurors he gave Jackson a shot of Demerol, and noticed "his buttocks were so scarred up and abscessed that the needle almost bent," adding, "He obviously had had multiple injections in his buttocks prior to arriving in Bangkok." The doctor then revealed he gave Jackson morphine throughout the following 24 hours until he was well enough to go onstage. Finklestein also recalled that Jackson was wearing a Duragesic patch, which contained another opiate which is absorbed through the skin and he also testified that the singer's longtime make-up artist and hairstylist also gave the King of Pop two ampules of Demerol that were for Jackson's injections. He concluded his video testimony by telling the court he told the concert promoters that he thought Jackson was an addict but that no one believed him. The doctor said he also told Gongaware, who is now an AEG Live executive, that Jackson was dependent on opiates. The ill-fated world tour came to an abrupt halt in Mexico City when Jackson's friend Elizabeth Taylor flew in for an intervention and took Jackson to a hospital in England. Jackson's mother Katherine and his three children are suing AEG Live executives, claiming they were in part to blame for the singer's death in 2009 for failing to pay attention to the superstar's health issues. The Jacksons also allege AEG bosses negligently hired and controlled Conrad Murray, the incarcerated doctor who administered the fatal dose of the anaesthetic propofol, which claimed the singer's life. The case continues.

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