Author: By Anthony McCartney, Associated Press
Edward Chernoff also said Dr. Conrad Murray never prescribed or gave Jackson
the drugs Demerol or OxyContin. He denied reports suggesting Murray gave
Jackson drugs that contributed to his death.
Chernoff told the AP that Murray was at the pop icon’s rented mansion on
Thursday afternoon when he discovered Jackson in bed and not breathing. The
doctor immediately began administering CPR, Chernoff said.
Jackson’s family requested a private autopsy in part because of questions
about Murray, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday. Murray also told the
family an autopsy should be performed, Chernoff said.
Three days after the death of the King of Pop, celebrities descended on Los
Angeles for a spectacular celebration of Jackson’s life at the annual BET
Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, walked on the red carpet wearing a black hat,
sunglasses and a dark suit. He did not appear on stage during the show.
“I just wish he could be here to celebrate himself,” he said. “Sadly, he’s not
here, so I’m here to celebrate for him.”
In a statement read at the show, Jackson’s parents said they solely had the
personal and legal “authority for our son and his children.” It was their
strongest declaration yet about their son’s affairs.
A tearful Janet Jackson appeared on stage in a white dress at the end of the
BET awards. After a long pause to gather herself, she spoke haltingly but
deliberately to the audience.
“I’d just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is
family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts,” she said.
People close to Michael Jackson have said since his death that they were
concerned about his use of painkillers. Los Angeles County medical examiners
completed their autopsy Friday and said Jackson had taken unspecified
Chernoff said any drugs the doctor gave Jackson were prescribed in response to
a specific complaint from the entertainer.
“Dr. Murray has never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson,”
Chernoff said. “Not ever. Not that day. … Not Oxycontin (either) for that
Paramedics were called to the mansion while the doctor was performing CPR,
according to a recording of the emergency call.
Because Jackson was so frail, Murray “administered with his hand behind his
back to provide the necessary support,” Chernoff said. Some have speculated
the doctor botched the CPR.
“He’s a trained doctor,” Chernoff said. “He knows how to administer CPR.”
Medics spent three-quarters of an hour trying to revive Jackson. He was
pronounced dead later at UCLA Medical Center.
Murray was interviewed by investigators for three hours Saturday. His
spokeswoman called Murray “a witness to this tragedy,” not a suspect in the
death, and police described the doctor as cooperative.
The attorney said Murray will wait to speak publicly until after the police
and forensics investigation is complete.
“One of his best friends just died, essentially in his arms ? yeah he’s
looking forward to telling his story,” Chernoff said.
Chernoff also said the promoter of Jackson’s 50-show London concerts, AEG
Live, owes the cardiologist $300,000.
“His contract with the promoters states he would receive an amount of money
each month to be his (Jackson’s) personal physician and they have failed to
honor that contract,” Chernoff said. “They are two months behind.”
Randy Phillips, president and CEO of AEG Live, acknowledged the contract
called for Murray to be paid $150,000 a month, but said the contract
required Jackson’s signature.
“Michael never signed the contract,” Phillips said.
He also said the doctor’s claim for payment may be against Jackson’s estate,
not AEG which was merely advancing the money to Jackson.
A private pathologist hired by the Jackson family completed a second, private
autopsy Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing unnamed people
familiar with the case.
A second autopsy can allow the family to get some information about a death
almost immediately, including signs of heart, brain or lung disease or fresh
needle punctures, said Dr. Michael Baden, a medical examiner not involved in
the Jackson case.
“Usually if it looks normal with the naked eye, it looks normal under the
microscope,” said Baden, who recently performed a second autopsy on actor
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said their autopsy found no indication
of trauma or foul play. But because of additional tests, an official cause
of death could take weeks to determine.
There was no word from the Jackson family on funeral plans. Many of Jackson’s
relatives have gathered at the family’s Encino compound, caring there for
Jackson’s three children.
Al Sharpton, who arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, said he was
heading to the Jackson compound and would talk with the family about how to
memorialize the late pop star. Sharpton said they want to hold memorials in
key cities around the globe and also planned a memorial service Tuesday at
the Apollo Theater in New York.
It also wasn’t clear what would become of Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Investor
Thomas Barrack previously set up the joint venture with Michael Jackson
after the singer nearly lost the ranch to foreclosure.
Barrack feels close to family members and wants to hear their thoughts on how
best to honor Jackson’s memory, said Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for
Colony Capital LLC, the Los Angeles-based firm where Barrack is chairman and
CEO. The investor joined Jackson’s brother Jackie, Jermaine and Tito for
lunch Saturday at the sprawling Santa Barbara County property.
A White House adviser said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that President Barack
Obama had written to the Jackson family to express his condolences.
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