Medic testifies in Michael Jackson wrongful death trial
Richard Senneff testified Tuesday that Jackson’s body was pale and so underweight his ribs were showing
By Sam Hamilton
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Michael Jackson looked like a hospice patient who had come home to die, a court was told yesterday.
Richard Senneff, the paramedic who tried to save the tragic Prince Of Pop, said his body was pale and so underweight his ribs were protruding.
The Los Angeles emergency worker who answered the 911 call to the mansion where Jackson lived said the troubled singer's condition resembled that of a terminally-ill patient.
He told the court: "He was very pale and underweight. I thought perhaps this was a hospice patient. He looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process. The patient appeared to be chronically ill."
Mr Senneff was the first witness in a wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoter and entertainment giant AEG. He told jurors he saw oxygen tanks, an IV pole and bag in the room, along with Dr Conrad Murray, who he said told him that he was a cardiologist.
The tragic singer's mother Katherine claims AEG failed to investigate the doctor who killed him and lied about not knowing her son was addicted to drugs.
But in a tiny Los Angeles courtroom, defence lawyer Marvin Putnam said they now had "no choice" but to reveal the seedy side of Jacko.
He warned the jury of six men and six women: "We are going to show some ugly stuff. It's really true." Mr Senneff testified his station received the emergency call at 12.22pm and he arrived at Jackson's home three minutes later.
The ambulance and a fire engine which responded were waved through the gates and parked in front of the house.
Once inside, Senneff said he "galloped" up the stairs. When he arrived at Jackson's bedroom, he told the court he saw Murray near the night stand with a security guard and the singer was on the bed.
Because of the star's poor condition, Mr Senneff said he asked Murray if Jackson had a "do not resuscitate" order. He told the jury: "Dr Murray looked at me blankly at first. Then the doctor said, 'No, no. This just happened'."
He said Murray was "frantic. He was sweating. He was very pale".
Mr Senneff claimed Murray told him he was treating the patient for dehydration and exhaustion and said Jackson was not taking any medication.
He added: "It looked more complicated than dehydration and exhaustion."
When the paramedic asked Murray when the emergency had happened, he claimed Murray told him: "Just this minute. Right when I called you."
But when Mr Senneff checked Jackson, he said he could not find a pulse.
The witness testified the singer's eyes were dilated and dry, his skin was cool, and his lips a faint blue - a sign he could have been dead for as long as an hour. Mr Senneff said: "To us it didn't make sense that it had just happened."
Jackson's mother and brother Randy left the court before the witness gave his testimony.
During the bitter (EURO)30billion case, AEG plan to air details previously ruled inadmissible in the star's criminal trials.
This is expected to include more allegations of child molestation, claims that he lived with chimps and other oddball practices.
As the highly-anticipated civil trial started hearing from witnesses, Mr Putnam insisted it had to defend itself against the fear of mammoth damages.
And he insisted Jacko was to blame for his own death - after he shunned anyone who could have helped him.
During the defence's two-and-a-half hour opening statement, the lawyer said: "The public Michael Jackson was very different from the private Michael Jackson.
"He erected a wall between himself and his family. Even his family wasn't sure what was going on at the house.
"He kept those who might have been able help him at a distance.
"The truth is Mr Jackson fooled everyone. No one knew his deepest, darkest secret. AEG, like everyone else, was an outsider. They had no idea. It was going on behind locked doors." Jacko died aged 50 of anaesthetic overdose in 2009 at his Los Angeles mansion where he was rehearsing for the doomed London O2 comeback tour.
Ahead of the forthcoming revelations, the Jacksons have provided counselling for Prince, 16, Paris, 15, and 11-year-old Blanket to help prepare them for some distressing details expected to come out at trial.
His family are seeking a (EURO)30billion judgment against AEG equal to the money he would have earned over the course of his lifetime.
They say AEG negligently pressurised Conrad Murray - who has been convicted of supplying Jackson with a fatal dose of propofol - to pump the star full of drugs.
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