Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Detectives in Michael Jackson case to search doctor's Las Vegas home [Updated]

July 28, 2009 |  9:17 am

Law enforcement sources told The Times that officials were preparing to serve search warrants this morning at the Las Vegas home of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is at the center of the investigation into Michael Jackson's death.

Local TV stations showed footage of officials going into the Red Rock Country Club area of Las Vegas, where Murray has a home. Last week, officials from the LAPD, Drug Enforcement Agency and other agencies took documents from Murray's medical offices in Houston.

[Updated at 9:40 a.m.: At Murray's Las Vegas office, both local police and DEA agents were on the scene, but it was unclear whether they were executing search warrants.]

Murray was identified as a suspect in the Los Angeles Police Department's manslaughter investigation into the pop star's death, according to court records filed Thursday in Houston.

A pair of search warrants filed in Harris County District Court stated that investigators were looking for "items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense." The searches, which were carried out last Wednesday at Murray's medical clinic and storage unit in Houston, gave authorities access to billing records, medication orders, shipping receipts, billing receipts, medical records and "implements and instruments used in the commission of a crime."

The court records were the first public confirmation by police that Murray was a focus of their probe. Detectives previously had interviewed Murray but had declined to identify him as a suspect.

"I do not know what they are looking for, and I can't possibly tell you how anything they took in any way connects with the death of Michael Jackson," said Edward Chernoff, Murray's attorney, who was present at both of the searches.

Chernoff has said that his client did not give Jackson any narcotics or other medication that "should have" caused his death.
Murray, a cardiologist with practices in Las Vegas and Houston, had been hired to care for Jackson at a monthly salary of $150,000. Murray was at Jackson's home and found the singer not breathing June 25. He administered CPR before paramedics were called. The singer was officially pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center.

Sources familiar with the investigation have said that authorities removed propofol, a powerful anesthetic, and other medications from Jackson's home. Murray's attorney has declined to comment on whether the doctor administered the drug, which is most commonly used by anesthesiologists in hospitals.

-- Richard Winton and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles, Ashley Powers in Las Vegas