Dr. Allan Metzer, doctor to Michael Jackson since the early 1980s, testified that Michael Jackson only wanted medication when he really needed it and was a loving father.
Michael Jackson performs “We Are The World” during the World Music Awards at Earl’s Court in London in this Nov. 15, 2006 file photo.
The final witness in Michael Jackson’s wrongful death trial cast the King of Pop as a magnanimous musical genius who co-wrote the famine-fighting anthem “We Are The World” in one day and hated taking medicine.
Dr. Allan Metzger treated the superstar singer for more than 25 years and became a trusted confidant and “father figure,” the lawyer who called him as Katherine Jackson’s final rebuttal witness said Thursday.
His testimony struck an emotional chord in the five-week wrongful death trial against concert promoter AEG Live when the iconic video for “We Are The World” was played for jurors.
“We kind of saved it,” Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, Deborah Chang, told the judge as she argued to have the video admitted.
Metzger said Jackson claimed he wrote the lyrics in a 24-hour burst of creativity before the song’s 1985 recording session with the era’s biggest stars, including Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper and co-writer Lionel Richie.
“It was very special to Michael because of the famine,” Metzger said.
Katherine Jackson’s side called Metzger to elaborate on why he called Jackson a “doctor shopper” a half-dozen times during videotaped deposition testimony previously played for jurors.
Dr. Allan Metzger (left) with Michael Jackson dressed in costume and whiteface makeup for his “Ghosts” short film. Metzger testified they went to Baskin Robbins dressed like this and nobody recognized Michael.
Metzger said Thursday that his characterization only meant Jackson had to “shop” for “quality” doctors for his family when he moved to new cities.
He said he didn’t believe his friendship with the “Thriller” singer was dependent on his prescription pad.
“Did you ever believe or suspect he sought pain killers for a high or sheer (pleasure)?” Chang asked Metzger.
“No, Michael abhorred medicine and only used it when he was in pain. I don’t believe this was in any way a recreational phenomenon,” he said.
“Michael was very private,” he said, echoing his deposition testimony. But he “would often rely on others and had faith in the medical profession that we would always do what was right.”
Metzger, a rheumatologist and internist who first treated Jackson in 1983 for discoid Lupus, said he admired his “buddy” for his generosity and “positive nature.”
Lionel Richie (clockwise from left) Daryl Hall, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder record “We Are The World” in 1985.
He chuckled at a photo showing him with Jackson in a fat suit and full makeup for the singer’s role as the white mayor of a fictional town in the short film “Ghosts.”
He said they visited a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop together that day, and nobody recognized the incognito idol.
Metzger called Jackson an “extremely loving” dad whose heart was in the right place when he put masks and veils on his three kids — Prince, 16, Paris, 15, and Blanket, 11.
“I think he did a wise thing in the early years, not exposing their faces so they could go out in public,” he testified. “We went to a few movies together, and nobody knew who they were.”
Katherine Jackson and the kids are suing concert promoter AEG Live for damages potentially topping $1 billion. They claim AEG negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death.
AEG has denied any wrongdoing, saying it was Jackson who personally hired Murray and secretly begged him for the surgery-strength anesthetic that killed him.
HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
Viwe of the autographed first page of the sheet music for the song “We Are the World,” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, 1985.
Metzger testified that Jackson seemed “desperate” in April 2009 — two months before his death — when he asked for intravenous sleep medication during a private meeting at his rented mansion. He said the singer indicated he was having trouble sleeping in the run-up to his doomed “This Is It” comeback concert series in London.
The doctor said he told Jackson such treatment was potentially life-threatening in a home setting.
He said he never saw the superstar alive again.
Metzger’s testimony was scheduled to end Thursday, but it didn’t due in large part to a dispute over his relationship with Jackson’s famous sister Janet and prior reprimands by the Medical Board of California.
The board rapped Metzger in 2000 for writing prescriptions for Janet Jackson using someone else’s name.
The judge put Metzger’s history of reprimands off limits and had to strike some testimony when an AEG lawyer asked a related question.
Closing arguments are now scheduled to begin Tuesday.