King of Pop’s doctor sits down with detectives on eve of star-studded tribute in Los AngelesBy Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Doctor tells police about Jackson’s final moments
LOS ANGELES — The cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson during the pop star’s final moments sat down with investigators for three hours to explain his actions, and his spokeswoman says he is not a suspect.
Dr. Conrad Murray, a physician with a tangled financial and personal history who was hired to accompany Jackson on his planned summer concert tour, reportedly performed CPR until paramedics arrived at Jackson’s rented home. The pop star was declared dead later at UCLA Medical Center.
In his interview with police, the doctor “helped identify the circumstances around the death of the pop icon and clarified some inconsistencies,” Murray’s spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik said in a statement Saturday. “Investigators say the doctor is in no way a suspect and remains a witness to this tragedy.”
The statement said Murray has been in Los Angeles since Jackson’s death, and plans to stay here until his cooperation is no longer needed.
Police confirmed that they interviewed Murray, adding that he was cooperative and “provided information which will aid the investigation.”
The interview took place on a busy day when one of Jackson’s lawyers was chosen to represent the family’s legal interests and celebrities descended on Los Angeles for a star-studded public celebration of the King of Pop’s life at the annual BET awards show.
L. Londell McMillan, who represented Jackson last year in a breach of contact lawsuit and has advised high-profile clients such as Prince, was picked to help the family by Katherine Jackson, the singer’s mother, said a person who requested anonymity because the matter is private.
The legal move came as the Rev. Jesse Jackson revealed that Michael Jackson’s family wants a second, private autopsy of the pop superstar because of unanswered questions about how he died.
“It’s abnormal,” Jesse Jackson said from Chicago a day after visiting the Jackson family. “We don’t know what happened. Was he injected and with what? All reasonable doubt should be addressed.”
People close to 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 prescription medication.
Medical officials also said there was no indication of trauma or foul play. An official cause of death could take weeks.
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.
It remains unclear who Jackson designated as potential guardians for his children. Those details — likely contained in the 50-year-old singer’s will — have not been released.
An attorney for Deborah Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s two oldest children, issued a statement Saturday asking that the Jackson family “be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace.”
Sisters Janet and La Toya arrived Saturday at the mansion Jackson had been renting and left without addressing reporters. Moving vans also showed up at the Jackson home, leaving about an hour later. There was no indication what they might have taken away.
The Jackson family issued a statement Saturday expressing its grief over the death and thanking his supporters.
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives we find it hard to find the words appropriate to this sudden tragedy we all had to encounter,” said the statement made through People magazine. “We miss Michael endlessly.”
There was no immediate word on whether the second autopsy was being performed right away. Jesse Jackson described the family as grief-stricken.
“They’re hurt because they lost a son. But the wound is now being kept open by the mystery and unanswered questions of the cause of death,” he said.
Organizers of the annual BET awards show — which recognizes the best in music, acting and sports — scrambled to revamp Sunday’s show to honor Jackson and his legacy.
Previously announced acts, such as Beyonce and Ne-Yo, hoped to change their planned performances to honor Jackson, said producer Stephen Hill. Other artists who hadn’t planned to attend the ceremony, including Usher and Justin Timberlake, tried to catch last-minute flights to Los Angeles to participate.
Associated Press writers Anthony McCartney; Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; and Gillian Flaccus, Brooke Donald, Beth Harris and Mike Blood and AP Global Media Services Production Manager Nico Maounis in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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