|Mon, January 10, 2011 at 2:13 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Prosecutors began connecting a doctor Monday to a trail of pharmaceuticals blamed for the death of Michael Jackson.
Testimony by a pharmacist showed Dr. Conrad Murray purchased 255 vials of the powerful anesthetic propofol during the three months before the singer died from a lethal combination of the drug and other sedatives.
Murray bought 130 vials of propofol in 100-milliliter doses and another 125 vials in the smaller dose of 20 milliliters, said Tim Lopez, owner of Applied Pharmacy Services in Las Vegas, where Murray has a clinic.
Lopez took the witness stand during the fifth day of a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for Murray, who was Jackson's personal physician, to stand trial after pleading not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
The four shipments of propofol were purchased between April 6 and June 10, 2009, with most of the drugs shipped to the Santa Monica home of Murray's girlfriend, testimony showed. Jackson died on June 25.
Murray also purchased sedatives known as benzodiazpines, Lopez testified.
Lopez said he was first contacted by Murray in November 2008 for information about buying Benoquin, a depigmentation cream used to treat the skin disease vitiligo. Jackson was known to suffer from the ailment, but Lopez said Murray told him he had many African-American patients suffering from the disorder.
Lopez said he and Murray lost touch until late March, 2009, when Murray called back and ordered a large amount of the cream. Lopez said he checked Murray's credentials and had his courier deliver the order to Murray's Las Vegas clinic.
On April 3, Lopez said, Murray called back to say he was happy with the cream and wanted to place another order.
"He specifically asked about propofol and saline bags," Lopez said, recalling that he told Murray he could handle his request.
Murray never disclosed who would receive the drugs, Lopez said.
Murray has told police he was concerned Jackson was addicted to propofol, and that he was trying to wean the singer from it.
Jackson died in his Holmby Hills mansion with Murray present. The coroner's office ruled the cause of death was acute propofol intoxication complicated by benzodiazopene sedatives. A dozen vials of propofol were found in Jackson's bedroom after his death.
Dr. Zeev Kain, anesthesiology department chair at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, has said three 100-milliliter vials of propofol normally used in surgery would be enough to keep a patient unconscious for several hours.
"A doctor should not use propofol at home to start with," Kain said.
In other testimony, a retired federal investigator said he had retrieved -mail from Murray's cell phone containing an exchange between the doctor and a London insurance broker handling a policy for Jackson's planned series of comeback concerts.
The broker asked Murray on the morning of Jackson's death to address press reports that Jackson was in poor health.
"As far as the statements of his health published by the press, let me say they're all felitious (sic) to the best of my knowledge," Murray replied in an e-mail.
Prosecutors have used Murray's phone records to help create a detailed timeline of the doctor's actions on the day Jackson died. Among the witnesses was a bodyguard who said he was told by Murray to place vials of medicine in bags before calling 911.
Paramedics and an emergency-room doctor said they believed the singer died before he was rushed by a papara
|Mon, January 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES - Prosecutors are poised to focus on the science of what killed Michael Jackson as the second week begins in the preliminary hearing for the doctor charged in the King of Pop's death.
Dr. Conrad Murray, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges, is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol and other sedatives. He has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys say he did not give the entertainer anything that should have killed him.
After the hearing, a judge will rule on whether there is enough evidence for the Houston-based cardiologist to stand trial. It is scheduled to resume Monday morning.
The hearing, which began last week, has included a significant amount of prosecution evidence during four days of testimony against Murray. Among the witnesses was a bodyguard who said he was told to place vials of medicine in bags before calling 911.
Paramedics and an emergency-room doctor with a combined 50 years of experience also said they believe the singer died long before he was rushed by a paparazzi-hounded ambulance to a nearby hospital, where efforts failed to revive the pop superstar.
Using phone records and testimony from police and Murray's current and former girlfriends, prosecutors have developed a timeline that shows Murray was on the phone throughout the morning of Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, including after administering propofol to the singer.
They hope to convince a judge of several key points: that Murray was distracted when he should have been monitoring Jackson, that he delayed calling 911, that he botched CPR efforts and that the singer was dead before help was summoned.
The remainder of the hearing was likely to take a decidedly clinical approach, with coroner's officials, propofol experts and police who interviewed Murray taking the stand.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Friday that prosecutors told him they were ahead of schedule, although he did not indicate when the hearing may end. Sixteen witnesses have been called, and prosecutors appear to be at least halfway through presenting their case.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren initially said the hearing would take seven to eight days and require up to 30 witnesses.
Defense attorneys rarely present witnesses or their own theories during preliminary hearings. In Murray's case, they did not make an opening statement and have only hinted at potential arguments as they questioned witnesses.
Those questions have focused on witnesses' recollections of the timing of their actions.
Defense attorneys have asked a coroner's investigator about Jackson's proximity to medications in his room, including an empty vial of propofol found underneath a bedside table. A prosecutor objected to the question, and a judge blocked the answer.
By ANTHONY McCARTNEY (AP
|Thurs, February 04, 2010 at 7:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES - With a criminal charge looming, Michael Jackson's doctor is negotiating his surrender to Los Angeles authorities, his attorney said Thursday.
A statement from Ed Chernoff said he was negotiating with the district attorney's office for Dr. Conrad Murray to turn himself in, but there has been no agreement on specifics.
"When the agreement is complete, we will report further," Chernoff said.
Murray has maintained that nothing he gave Jackson should have killed him.
Murray's arraignment already has been set for Friday afternoon, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The person declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The possible charge was not disclosed. However, two law enforcement officials have told the AP prosecutors plan to charge Murray with involuntary manslaughter, alleging he gave Jackson a powerful anesthetic that led to his June 25 overdose death at a rented mansion in Los Angeles.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, would not confirm or deny that Murray would appear Friday at the courthouse.
Murray, who has a practice in Houston, came to Los Angeles last weekend and has been strategizing with his defense team.
Police have been investigating Murray since Jackson's death. The doctor told detectives he'd given the singer a powerful anesthetic and other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac star to sleep. Jackson, 50, died soon thereafter, and investigators have been gathering evidence to try to show Murray was negligent in administering the drugs.
Associated Press Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch in Los Angeles and Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
|Mon, November 23, 2009 at 10:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
HOUSTON - Michael Jackson's doctor returned to work at his Houston medical clinic on Monday for the first time since the pop star's death and his patients welcomed him back without reservation.
Dr. Conrad Murray was greeted by several patients and the pastor of his church when he arrived at the Armstrong Medical Clinic. One church member held up a handwritten sign that read "Welcome Back."
Patients later praised Murray's work as a cardiologist and called him a community role model, saying they have no concerns about being treated by the man under investigation in Jackson's June 25 death.
The doctor has been the focus of a Los Angeles police homicide investigation since telling investigators he administered propofol, a powerful operating room anesthetic, to Jackson to help the pop star sleep. The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Jackson's death a homicide, caused primarily by propofol and another sedative.
Murray, who was with Jackson when the 50-year-old singer died, has not been charged with a crime.
"He's a good doctor, he's a kind man," Ransom Craddock, 81, said as he sat outside the clinic, a nondescript brown brick building next to a supermarket in a lower-income area of north Houston. "We all in this community welcome him back. We need him in this community."
Ruby Mosley praised Murray for providing care to low-income patients and said she believes very little about what the media has reported about his possible role in Jackson's death.
"I can't tell you the joy. We were proud to see him," Mosley, 80, said of the visit she and a group of patients had with Murray at the clinic on Friday. "I see him as a physician and a friend."
Murray, who was scheduled to see six patients on Monday, didn't speak with reporters before entering the clinic.
But on Sunday, while attending services at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Murray stood before parishioners and told them he returned to serve his community.
"I am taking my life back step by step. I wanted to come home," Murray said in video shot by Houston television station KPRC.
Murray has been primarily living in Las Vegas, where he also has a clinic. His attorney, Edward Chernoff, said the cardiologist has been unable to earn a living since Jackson's death.
"His legal fees are enormous and his debts have mounted to the point where it is unclear whether he will be able to keep his house or support his family," Chernoff said. "His intentions are to attend to these patients who have continued to support him, despite the attention and despite the threats."
Murray, who wore sun
|Mon, November 16, 2009 at 6:23 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Add Janet Jackson to the chorus of Jackson family members who believe Michael Jackson's June death involved some nefarious activity. In a segment from , ABC's upcoming interview with Janet Jackson, the singer said she believes Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, should shoulder the blame for her brother's death.
"He was the one that was administering. ... I think he's responsible," Jackson said in the interview, slated to air Wednesday, apparently referencing the fact that Murray was the one who provided what officials called a lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol to Jackson.
Though Murray has not been charged in the case and his lawyer said he did not administer anything that "should have" caused Jackson's death, Janet reportedly tells ABC's Robin Roberts that she believes Murray should not be allowed to practice medicine anymore.
A spokesperson for Murray's attorney, Ed Chertoff, said in a statement to MTV News: "The Los Angeles investigation into Michael Jackson's death continues. We continue to maintain Dr. Murray neither prescribed nor administered anything that should have killed Michael Jackson. Any theory to the contrary is premature and not based in fact."
The Los Angeles Police Department has not yet concluded its investigation into Jackson's death, but Murray is the sole focus of their probe into what caused the singer to succumb to cardiac arrest in June.
Janet said Michael continues to be on her mind all the time, admitting that "a day doesn't go by that I don't think about him." Unlike some of the other Jackson family members, Janet was not in Los Angeles on June 25 and she recounted for Roberts the difficulty of dealing with Michael's passing long-distance.
"I was at my house in New York. ... And I get a call. ... [My assistant] said, 'Your brother's been taken to the hospital. It's on CNN right now,' " she recalled. "I called everyone. There's a line busy or - someone wasn't picking up. I spoke to Mother. I spoke to Tito. I spoke to my nephew Austin. I spoke to my sister La Toya. ... I told them to call me when they got to the hospital. And I remember...More JANET JACKSON
|Tue, November 03, 2009 at 2:04 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LAS VEGAS - The doctor being investigated in Michael Jackson's death told a court he can't afford to pay $13,000 in child support and other debts because he was forced to close his medical practice after physical threats against him and his staff, according to court documents obtained Friday.
A family court in Las Vegas set a Nov. 16 hearing to consider a recommendation that Dr. Conrad Murray be arrested for not appearing in court this month to explain the unpaid support.
A ruling on the recommendation had been expected this week, but Murray's lawyer Chris Aaron objected, saying in court documents the 56-year-old doctor didn't receive notice of the hearing.
Murray wasn't in Nevada and his mail was being forwarded to his closed office, the lawyer said.
Murray said in a signed affidavit written in the third person that "your affiant was forced to close his office because of numerous threats of physical violence to himself and his staff. Your affiant initially accepted employment from Michael Jackson with the intention of paying the instant obligation, as well as others, with the additional income."
The affidavit was notarized Oct. 15 in Los Angeles County, Calif.
Aaron said Murray never received any compensation from Jackson. The recession and media coverage of the pop singer's death also were blamed for Murray's financial problems.
It was not immediately clear whether Clark County District Attorney David Roger would fight the objection over the arrest recommendation. His office said he planned to file a response by Monday.
Roger previously said he planned to ask the state medical board to...More MICHAEL JACKSON
|Wed, September 23, 2009 at 11:12 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
A woman connected to Michael Jackson's personal physician has been ordered to testify before a grand jury in Los Angeles, her attorney confirmed Tuesday.
Nicole Alvarez received a subpoena to appear before the grand jury on Wednesday morning, said Joseph Low IV, adding that prosecutors declined to give him any more details.
He also declined to characterize the relationship between Alvarez and Dr. Conrad Murray..
Newspaper reports have called her Murray's girlfriend and said the pair have an infant son together. Alvarez's apartment was searched last month..
Murray is the target of an investigation into Jackson's June 25 death, which has been classified a homicide. He told police he gave the pop superstar the powerful anesthetic propofol and other drugs in the hours before Jackson's death..
Murray's attorney has said the doctor didn't give Jackson anything that "should have" killed him..
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which would prosecute the case against Murray if one is filed, declined to comment..
A grand jury subpoena is an effective way to force reluctant witnesses to testify, said Stan Goldman, a professor of criminal procedure at Loyola Law School Los Angeles..
"They can be held in contempt just like refusing in court," Goldman said..
He said it's hard to tell what...More MICHAEL JACKSON
|Mon, August 17, 2009 at 11:25 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES - An attorney for Michael Jackson's mother says she is considering a wrongful death lawsuit because of the circumstances surrounding her son's demise, and that the singer's personal physician is a likely target.
The idea is still nascent and Dr. Conrad Murray is the main name that's been mentioned, attorney Burt Levitch said Monday, following a court hearing where a judge approved a merchandising deal that will benefit the King of Pop's estate.
"The possibility of a wrongful death action has been floated," Levitch said. "In that regard, no decision has been finalized ... Dr. Murray's name has been floated because he is under investigation."
Authorities investigating Jackson's June 25 death have been focusing on Murray, who they believe administered a powerful anesthetic to the pop singer the day he died. Levitch wouldn't say whether concert promoter AEG might also be a defendant.
"It's fairly obvious from press accounts that AEG had a very active role in Michael's life for the last six months," Levitch said. "They paid for his home and for Dr. Conrad Murray."
"It would be inappropriate to speculate on any potential litigation," said AEG spokesman Michael Roth.
Miranda Sevcik, a publicist for Murray attorney Edward Chernoff, said she had seen the press conference with Levitch, but that doesn't mean a lawsuit "is imminent."
"Whether or not the Jackson family decides to proceed with a civil suit is up to them," she said in an email.
Earlier in the day, a judge signed off on a deal that would soon bring official Michael Jackson merchandise to store shelves, but the fate of a proposed tour of the King of Pop's memorabilia remained in limbo after the singer's mother expressed renewed concerns.
Attorneys for Katherine Jackson withdrew their objections to an agreement with merchandiser Bravado to bring everything from Jackson trading cards, apparel and cell phone themes to consumers.
But her objections remain a roadblock to a deal that would put some of her son's prized items on display later this year. That tour was intended to coincide with the release of a major movie featuring his final rehearsals for a series of London shows.
Levitch said Mrs. Jackson's primary objection is that it was not open to competitive bidding by companies other than AEG. He also said he believed the deal that was negotiated, which would provide a 50-50 split between AEG and the estate, was insufficient.
He also said that Mrs. Jackson has recently reasserted her desire to either be named a co-executor or have a member of the family, designated by her, as an executor. Jackson's will named longtime attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain as the sole executors of his estate, with Katherine Jackson, the singer's children and unnamed charities as beneficiaries.
"No one has reflected on what it takes to nurture an estate and no one is a better position than Katherine Jackson or her designees to do that," Levitch said. "Rather than trying to derail this estate, we would like to take our place at the table."
Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Branca and McClain, said outside court: "I'm not sure why the objections are being made" but said Mrs. Jackson certainly has the right to make them.
"Katherine Jackson is a beneficiary. She's entitled to object to deals that may impact her and the children," Weitzman said.
Attorneys for AEG and the current administrators of Jackson's estate wanted the memorabilia tour approved Monday, but Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff instead scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Friday to determine if the deal represented the best arrangement for Jackson's estate.
The deal is expected to generate up to $6 million fo
|Wed, August 12, 2009 at 8:30 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LAS VEGAS - Investigators in the Michael Jackson case continue to sharpen their focus on the personal physician who was with him when he died.
Dr. Conrad Murray has emerged as the central figure in the ongoing probe into Jackson's June 25 death. And on Tuesday, local police and federal drug agents searched a Las Vegas pharmacy and uncovered evidence showing Murray legally purchased a potent anesthetic from the business, according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the probe is ongoing.
Murray told investigators he administered the anesthetic propofol and multiple sedatives to Jackson in his rented Beverly Hills mansion in the hours before he died, the official told The Associated Press. Propofol is normally used to render patients unconscious for medical procedures and only is supposed to be administered by anesthesia professionals in medical settings.
While it is extremely strong, propofol is not a controlled substance so investigators are looking for evidence to show Murray may have been remiss in administering it in a home. A central issue for detectives on the case is what drugs were in Jackson's system when he died and how those medications were obtained.
Through a spokeswoman Tuesday, Murray's attorney Edward Chernoff said he had no immediate comment.
Murray has talked to detectives but has not spoken publicly since Jackson died. Chernoff has said Murray gave Jackson nothing that "should have" killed him and specifically said the physician did not give Jackson the narcotic painkillers Demerol or OxyContin.
The cause of death for Jackson and details about what was in his system will be revealed in the final autopsy report prepared by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
The office announced Monday that it has completed its work but won't release findings while the police investigation is ongoing.
Weeks ago, authorities served search warrants at Murray's Las Vegas home and his businesses in Las Vegas and Houston, where they seized computer hard drives, medical equipment invoices, phone records and other items. Officials also sought evidence pertaining to the purchase of propofol in those warrants.
Court documents also show investigators are looking into Jackson's interactions with at least six other doctors.