Entertainment & Arts

Michael Jackson wanted 'to redeem image' with O2 gigs

Michael Jackson
Image caption Jackson died in 2009 before a series of concerts at the O2 in London

A doctor and close friend of Michael Jackson has claimed the star was hoping to "redeem his image" with the This Is It concerts in London.

"He wanted to go out with a flash," said Dr Allan Metzger on a tape played out at Jackson's wrongful death trial.

Dr Metzger's testimony, recorded during the trial of Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray, was played by lawyers on behalf of promoter AEG Live.

It is being sued over Jackson's death in 2009 but denies any wrongdoing.

"He was still terribly hurt about the trial and the accusations," said Dr Metzger referring to the singer's 2005 trial on child molestation charges.

He paid tribute to "a great guy ... a wonderful, generous person".

His recorded testimony, which concluded the case for the defence, contradicted many accounts of Jackson as an ailing figure, forced to commit to more concerts than he was capable of doing and reliant on prescription drugs in the final months of his life.

Recalling an "anxiety call" from Jackson in February 2009, he said: "I think he was fearful because this was it and he needed to do a lot of perfectionalizing [sic]."

"He wanted it to be something that had never been done before.''

Sleep therapy

Dr Metzger said Jackson was anxious that he might not be able to sleep when he got to London to kick off the concerts. Dr Metzger said he suggested putting him in touch with sleep therapists in London, but Jackson resisted.

In his last meeting with Jackson in April, 2009, the singer asked Dr Metzger for intravenous sleep medication, but the doctor said he refused, telling Jackson it was dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

He said Jackson never mentioned Conrad Murray or taking the anaesthetic propofol.

Jackson died of an overdose of the anaesthetic, given to him by Murray - who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

Jackson's family claim AEG negligently hired and supervised the physician,

However AEG, which was promoting his planned comeback concerts, denies it hired Murray.

Lawyers acting for Jackson's mother - Katherine - have said the singer was not an addict. They are expected to deliver a brief rebuttal, with closing arguments set for Monday.

The case is now in its 21st week. Jurors are expected to begin deliberations next week.

More on this story