State attorney general joins probe of Michael Jackson's doctors [Updated]
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department, has joined the investigation into several doctors who treated singer Michael Jackson before his death.
Brown's investigators will work with the LAPD, Drug Enforcement Administration and the L.A. County coroner’s office in probing Jackson’s June 25 death, which the coroner has ruled was a homicide due to acute intoxication from the anesthetic propofol.
"Responding to a request from the LAPD, agents from my office will investigate several physicians whose names have come up in the course of the Michael Jackson death inquiry," Brown said. "This investigation is at its earliest stages, and no conclusions can be drawn at this point."
LAPD officials met with the attorney general's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the DEA last week, Brown said. The LAPD will remain the primary agency in the investigation.
Brown's office maintains a prescription drug monitoring system, which is designed to identify and deter drug abuse and diversion through rapid tracking of controlled substances.
[Updated 3:41 p.m.: In an interview with The Times, Brown declined to name the doctors or provide any additional details, only saying that it’s “not a large number” and that their names have all arisen in direct connection with Jackson.
In search warrants, police have cited Jackson’s use of pseudonyms, a practice that could prove problematic for his doctors, Brown said.
“You’re supposed to prescribe in the name of the patient,” Brown said. “We know the law says you’re not supposed to [use pseudonyms]....We want to monitor to make sure that there isn’t an abuse of drugs. Drugs are dangerous. They’re chemicals … they have impact and the impact can be lethal.”
Each prescription must be linked to a diagnosis of a medical problem, Brown said. “There are a number of rules on the ethical standards of how doctors should operate.”
Brown said it is too soon to say whether the doctors will face criminal charges or lesser administrative fines or penalties. ]
--Richard Winton and Kimi Yoshino