Michael Jackson's Secret World: Willing Doctors, Hospital-Grade Sedatives

PHOTO: Michael Jackson arrives for the verdict at his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria June 13, 2005.
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The involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist accused of causing the death of Michael Jackson, has offered a glimpse of the pop icon's secret world -- one dominated by powerful prescription drugs that ultimately claimed his life.

In Murray's trial, the prosecution argued that the array of drugs that Murray prescribed Jackson -- the anesthetic propofol, as well as the pre-anesthetic drug midazolam and lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug -- and Murray's failure to properly monitor his patient was a recipe for disaster.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, after receiving a fatal dose of propofol.

The defense claimed that Jackson injected himself with the lethal dose and that Murray had been trying to wean Jackson off of propofol. He prescribed it, lawyers said, to combat Jackson's insomnia, which, the defense said, was a side effect of Jackson's prior dependence on the narcotic painkiller Demerol.

Jackson used to be injected with that drug by his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, during painful dermatology treatments and, perhaps, by others.

Klein told ABC News' Jim Avila that redacted medical records presented during Murray's trial about Jackson receiving Demerol were not his records, though he conceded that he gave Jackson Demerol.

However, he added, it would be "nonsense" to believe Jackson was dependent on the drug.

"He was never addicted to narcotics," Klein said. "People have drugs of choice, sir. His choice was propofol."

Klein called propofol a "highly dangerous" drug that should not be used for sleep.

"But, unfortunately, when you're at that level of wealth, doctors will do anything for you," Klein said. "So I'm just telling you that this has been a long problem."

While it was barred from being discussed at Murray's trial, Jackson's issues with prescription drugs and enabling doctors went back years.

"He was getting a number of different prescriptions from a number of different names," said spiritual guru and former endocrinologist Deepak Chopra, a friend of Jackson's. "This is a common thing amongst celebrity addicts because they demand what they want and there are certain kinds of doctors who will give it to them."

Frank Cascio, a longtime friend of Jackson's, said the singer was like a father to him. But in later years, Cascio said, he took it upon himself to keep Jackson's enabling doctors at bay, as he describes in his book, "My Friend Michael," which will be published Nov. 15.

Read more about Frank Cascio's book, "My Friend Michael," here.

"Don't get me wrong. There were some great doctors," Cascio said. "There were some doctors that were absolutely fantastic."

But then there were, as Cascio calls them, the "random people" -- doctors, he said, who saw Jackson as "a money pit."

"They were just selfish, disgusting doctors that knew they would get paid," Cascio said. "They would, like, push [medications] on him because they knew he would pay them."

As a teen, Cascio was on tour with Jackson with Mexico City in 1993 when Jackson was swept off to rehab by his good friend, screen legend Elizabeth Taylor.

"Elizabeth takes us aside and says to us, 'We're going to get him out of the country after the show. He's going to go to London,'" Cascio remembered.

Jackson would later release a videotaped statement to his fans, announcing he had undergone "treatment for a dependency on pain medications."

Years later, Cascio began working for Jackson. He said he would keep Jackson's stashes of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the narcotic painkiller Percocet or the sedative Valium out of Jackson's reach at night.

"I wanted to always make sure I had them with me and not have anything in his room where he didn't wake up and say, 'I can't sleep tonight,' and not realize what he's taking. I was trying to think 10 steps ahead," Cascio said.

Jackson, he said, resorted to certain medications when he "just wanted to escape all the chaos."

Cascio said the drug he worried about most was Demerol.

"I didn't like what it did to him at all," Cascio said. "There was a change in personalities, especially when you saw him coming down from it and, you know, he became a different person."

Cascio said Jackson became angry, bitter and "mad at everyone just taking advantage of him."

"That's not a person that I was very fond of," he said. "That's not a person that I know that he wasn't fond of."

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