Source: Alan Duke – CNN /Local 10
Lawyers for Jackson’s mother, kids attack addiction expert’s credibility.
LOS ANGELES (CNN) - The co-author of a study on propofol addiction funded by AEG Live and used in their defense in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial lost his medical license for writing illegal drug prescriptions, according to testimony.
Dr. Torin Finver was hired to help with the AEG Live study after he lost his job at a pizza parlor and took a job driving a Goodwill truck, said Dr. Paul Earley, who testified Wednesday as an expert witness for the concert promoter.
Finver was “destitute, dead broke, and I wanted to help him,” Earley, himself a recovering heroin addict, testified.
The revelation was a bizarre twist in the trial of the billion-dollar lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother and three children, which is being heard by a Los Angeles jury. The four-month-long trial is nearing a conclusion.
AEG Live lawyers will announce if they have any more witnesses to call before playing the video depositions of three more doctors on Friday. Jackson lawyers would then take several days to call rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments are heard, which is likely to happened around September 23.
Earley testified that he never disclosed to AEG Live lawyers that his co-author had lost his medical license. Ironically, the company is being accused of the negligent hiring of Dr. Conrad Murray, convicted in Jackson’s death because it allegedly failed to check Murray’s background before hiring him.
Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle also grilled Earley over his nondisclosure that he was working as a paid consultant in AEG Live’s defense when he submitted the study for publication in a medical journal.
He said the concert promoter did not try to influence his findings, which were published in March in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
Jackson lawyers are hoping the controversy over Earley’s work for AEG Live will distract jurors from his conclusion that Michael Jackson was a drug addict with a “grave prognosis” that would have shortened his life had he not died of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009.
Soon after AEG Live’s lawyers hired Earley as a consultant on propofol addiction in 2011, they agreed to fund his scientific research, which resulted in his paper titled “Addiction to Propofol: A Study of 22 Treatment Cases.” The American Society of Addiction Medicine published the study in March.
Earley insisted in his testimony that AEG Live’s funding did not influence the conclusions of his study or his testimony in the trial. But the Jackson lawyer hammered the doctor about the lack of disclosure to the scientific journal and his collaborator that he was being paid to be an expert witness in the trial.
He informed them that he was doing research for the company, but the trial aspect was “irrelevant,” Earley said.
“It’s irrelevant to health care professionals,” he said. “It wouldn’t affect their understanding of the paper.”