NEW YORK — A pharmaceuticals millionaire charged with killing her developmentally disabled son in a deluxe hotel room told jurors Wednesday that she didn't force drugs down his throat, as prosecutors maintain.
Taking the stand in her murder trial to give an account she's long yearned to tell, Gigi Jordan depicted a failed murder-suicide — one her defense has said was spurred by a mother's fears for her own life and her vulnerable son's future.
"Did you give yourself and your son an amount of drugs that you believed would take your life and his?" asked one of her attorneys, Allan Brenner.
"Yes, I did," Jordan said, her voice quavering.
But she denied the scenario prosecutors have painted: that she climbed on top of the comatose 8-year-old, forcibly opened his mouth and shoved a lethal dose of prescription medication down his throat with a syringe.
She hasn't yet testified about the details of his death. First, she's recounting what Brenner called the "events, circumstances, emotions and pressures" that led to it.
Her son, Jude Mirra, was found dead of a drug overdose and Jordan was found on the floor in a pricey suite at Manhattan's Peninsula Hotel in February 2010. More than 5,800 prescription pills were scattered around the room, prosecutors said. Some emergency responders have said they discovered Jordan incoherent; others described her as composed.
Jordan's lawyers have said she acted out of fear that her life was in danger and that her son would be left susceptible to abuse.
Prosecutors say that whatever her worries, they didn't justify killing the boy.
"The only person he ever needed protection from was the one person he should have been able to rely on the most," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bodganos said in an opening statement last month.
Trained as a nurse, Jordan later launched companies that administer drugs to patients in their home. After making an estimated $40 million, she left her career and traveled the country seeking medical answers for her son. A joyous boy until roughly his 18th month, he became a tormented child who didn't speak, made strange grimaces, and screamed and cried at length, she said.
He was initially considered autistic, though doctors later diagnosed immune-system abnormalities, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems, according to her court filings. Jordan said Wednesday that Jude wasn't autistic; instead, she has said, he was severely traumatized by being sexually abused by a man in his life. The man has denied it and has never been charged with any crime.
Jordan asked various authorities to investigate but got nowhere — and she even once got taken instead to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, her lawyers say. She was released within days.
Meanwhile, she came to believe that one of her ex-husbands wanted her dead to keep her from disclosing certain business misdeeds, her defense says. He has denied all her allegations and has sued her for slander.
Afraid that Jude would be left defenseless against the man she accuses of abusing him, she felt ending both their lives was the only way out, her lawyers have said.
Follow Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.