Jackson doctor did not inject painkillers, says lawyer
The personal physician at Michael Jackson’s side when he died told police he did not inject the singer with painkillers that friends say might be behind the King of Pop’s death on the brink of a comeback bid.
A lawyer for Dr Conrad Murray told Reuters on Sunday that the cardiologist found Jackson (50) unconscious in his rented mansion on Thursday and tried to revive him.
“The doctor was surprised when this happened. He didn’t know why Jackson stopped breathing,” said Edward Chernoff, the attorney who accompanied Murray during three hours of police questioning on Saturday.
Los Angeles police said after questioning Murray that they do not consider him a suspect, and law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times the meeting revealed “no red flag” of criminal activity.
As the case remains shrouded in mystery, the entertainment world geared up for its first big tribute to the pop star at the BET awards on Sunday. Top performers rushed to Los Angeles to appear at the show, modified at the last minute to honour Jackson.
The Jackson family holed up in their LA compound making plans for a funeral that could take place on Wednesday, possibly at the pop star’s famous Neverland estate in California, family friend Stacy Brown said.
Brown told Reuters that a family source said Jackson had received an injection of the narcotic painkiller Demerol shortly before paramedics were called to the mansion.
“Family has questions”
“They have been concerned about his addiction to medicines for years,” said Brown, who co-wrote the book Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask.
“It’s been no family secret that they’ve been trying to get him help for his addiction,” she said.
Chernoff said Murray “never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson”, adding that Murray was paid by concert promoter AEG Live in the lead-up to the singer’s long-awaited comeback concert series.
The family carried out its own autopsy on Saturday after the Los Angeles Coroner said it would need four to six more weeks to determine the exact cause of death.
Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader who was with the Jackson family last week, told People magazine that the family had questions.
“There is a concern about what happened the last 12 hours of Michael’s life,” said Jackson, who is not related to the family.
“The doctor has shown some bizarre behaviour.”
Chernoff said Murray was unaware of any underlying health problems that could have led to the singer’s death.
“Nothing which would explain what happened here,” Chernoff said. “He barely ate, he barely drank. But nothing which would lead the doctor to believe that he had any possible problems that would cause sudden death.”
Concerns about Jackson’s health had been rampant during his 2005 trial in California on charges of child sex abuse—at which he was acquitted—and last year when he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair for reasons that were never explained.
AEG Live said Jackson had passed a lengthy physical exam this year, before the London concerts were announced.
Jackson’s father, Joe, on Saturday urged fans not to despair because the singer “will continue to live on in each and every one of you”.—Reuters