Doctor decribes finding Jackson

Denies giving any drugs to singer article page player in wide format.
By Anthony McCartney
Associated Press / June 29, 2009
  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson still had a faint pulse and his body was warm when his doctor found him in bed and not breathing, a lawyer for the doctor said yesterday.

The lawyer, Edward Chernoff, also said that Dr. Conrad Murray never prescribed or gave Jackson the drugs Demerol or OxyContin. He denied reports suggesting that Murray gave Jackson drugs that contributed to his death.

Chernoff told the Associated Press 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.

“He just happened to find him in his bed, and he wasn’t breathing,’’ the lawyer said. “Mr. Jackson was still warm and had a pulse.’’

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 matter.’’

Paramedics were called to the mansion while the doctor was performing CPR, according to a recording of the 911 call. Medics spent three-quarters of an hour trying to revive Jackson. He was pronounced dead later at UCLA Medical Center.

Since Jackson’s death, some people close to him have said that they were concerned about his use of painkillers. Los Angeles County medical examiners completed their autopsy Friday and said Jackson had taken unspecified prescription medication.

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.

Three days after Jackson’s death, celebrities converged on Los Angeles for a celebration of his life at the annual BET Awards show.

Media requests for last night’s show doubled after the death, and the red carpet was lengthened.

Previously announced performers including Beyonce and Ne-Yo, were working to overhaul performances they had planned for weeks so they could honor 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 David Carradine.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has said Michael Jackson’s family still had unanswered questions about how he died.

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, where Jackson’s children are being cared for.

On Saturday, three of Jackson’s brothers - Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine - visited Jackson’s Neverland Ranch where they walked the manicured grounds. It is not clear what will become of the ranch, which has been under renovation.

Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for the joint venture that owns the ranch, said it was premature to discuss the future of Neverland. He said investor Thomas Barrack feels close to family members and wants to hear their thoughts on how best to honor Jackson’s memory.