Former head of security for Michael Jackson, Michael La Perruque testified yesterday (Aug. 1) in the wrongful death civil suit brought against concert promoter AEG Live by Jackson's mom, Katherine Jackson, reports the AP. Contrary to popular assumptions about the star's drug use, La Perruque revealed that he looked well — a bit skinny, but not like he was abusing drugs — just before his tragic death in 2009.
"He fought very hard to be sober," La Perruque said. "He fought very hard not to be dependent on these prescription medications."
La Perruque, a retired sheriff's deputy, worked for MJ, frequently traveling with him from 2001 to 2004 and again in 2007. He said he saw him just weeks before his death.
Though he never actually saw MJ take drugs, La Perruque said that he knew he had severe back pain and trouble sleeping. He said that he was "concerned" about the singer's medication use and talked to his doctors about it (purposely avoiding the subject with MJ himself). He said that MJ knew his family was attempting to stage an intervention, and once, La Perruque turned away Randy Jackson, MJ's younger brother, when he was attempting to visit the Neverland Ranch to speak to him about his prescription usage.
La Perruque also said the singer would often call him late at night ("I think he was just lonely," he said. "He wanted to talk to somebody") and that he took on the responsibility to check the singer's breathing when he slept and to call doctors to treat him when they were traveling.
Recounting one incident that he said he had only told once before — at a deposition with AEG — La Perruque described how one day he found MJ unconscious in the hallway of a hotel suite at Walt Disney World; his children had called 911. La Perruque revived him and saw no signs of drug use. When the paramedics arrived, they said no further treatment was needed.
Deborah Chang, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, emphasized that there was no evidence in that instance that Jackson had been using drugs.
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(Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images)