'Michael Jackson was an addict'
The doctor convicted of manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death has called the Thriller singer a drug “addict” in a TV interview that will air on morning talk show Today this week.
Dr Conrad Murray, who now sits in a Los Angeles jail awaiting sentencing for involuntary manslaughter, spoke to NBC News journalist Savannah Guthrie before the verdict was returned at his trial on Monday. The interview will air in two parts on Thursday and Friday on the NBC show.
The personal physician to Jackson never testified during his six-week trial stemming from the entertainer’s June 2009 death of an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol and sedatives.
Murray admitted to police that he gave Jackson those drugs as a sleep aid at the singer’s mansion, but his attorneys argued the singer self-injected a fatal dose of propofol.
During the NBC interview, Guthrie asked the doctor if he was right to leave Jackson alone in his bedroom knowing he could self-inject the drug. Murray said he could not have foreseen that possibility.
“Had I known what I know today in retrospect, that Mr Jackson was an addict, and he had shared that information with me, addicts may behave in a way that is unreasonable and you may consider it,” Murray said in the interview.
Murray’s attorneys had argued during his trial that Jackson was addicted to the painkiller Demerol that he received from another doctor in the weeks before his death, but they barely mentioned any possible addiction to propofol.
Jackson’s family has denied that Jackson was addicted to Demerol, and an autopsy did not reveal any amount of that painkiller in the singer’s system.
In the interview, Murray also suggested it could be acceptable to administer propofol in a home, despite testimony of doctors at his trial who said they would never do that.
“I think propofol is not recommended to be given in the home setting, but it is not contraindicated,” Murray told Guthrie.
Propofol expert Dr Steven Shafer testified for prosecutors during the trial and disputed the defence’s theory that Jackson had self-injected the drug. Instead, Murray likely set up an intravenous drip of propofol for Jackson that stopped his breathing, Shafer said.
Murray also defended the fact that he allowed over 20 minutes to elapse between the time he discovered Jackson had stopped breathing and when an ambulance was called.
“No one is allowed to come upstairs except for Mr Jackson. His security is not allowed to enter the house,” Murray said.
The physician first alerted the Jackson family chef, then called the singer’s assistant, according to trial testimony.
Murray will also appear in a tell-all documentary called Michael Jackson and the Doctor, to air on Friday on MSNBC.
The physician, who faces the possible loss of his medical license as a result of his involuntary manslaughter conviction, will return before a judge for a hearing on November 29, when he could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.—Reuters