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Investigators in Michael Jackson case seeking more information from physician

July 21, 2009 |  5:38 pm

Investigators trying to determine what killed Michael Jackson are seeking additional information from the personal physician who was with him when he died, the doctor’s lawyer said today.

Officials from the L.A. County coroner’s office have requested another interview with Dr. Conrad Murray, who has already been questioned twice by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department, said Murray’s lawyer, Edward Chernoff.

Investigators also asked for medical records beyond those that Murray previously provided, he said.
Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner’s office, declined to comment.

Murray’s lawyer said a date had not been set for another interview but that Murray, who has returned to Nevada, would cooperate.

“The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death. We share that goal,” Chernoff said.

Murray, 51, is a central figure in the probe as both a witness and a possible criminal target. He discovered Jackson unconscious in the bedroom of his rented Holmby Hills home June 25 and performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. Police questioned him at UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was pronounced dead; and two days later, he and his attorney met with detectives for three hours.

Through his lawyer, Murray has said he administered no narcotics or other medications that “should have” caused Jackson’s death and remains puzzled as to the performer’s death.

“We don’t have access to the most important information in this case ... the toxicology report. We’re still in the dark like everybody else,” Chernoff said.

He declined to say whether Murray gave Jackson propofol, a powerful general anesthetic that police found in the home.

The week after Jackson’s death, Murray turned over files from his Las Vegas office concerning Jackson’s treatment there, Chernoff said. Murray met the entertainer in 2006 when he and his three children moved to the gambling mecca.

Jackson subsequently offered him a full-time job as his personal physician for a series of comeback concerts in London; and in May, Murray closed practices in Las Vegas and Houston to take the position.

Murray was to earn a monthly salary of $150,000; but according to AEG Live, the concert promoter, Jackson had not signed the contract at the time of his death.

His lawyer said that based on Murray’s “minute-by-minute, item-by-item” description of the entertainer’s last days, “he shouldn’t be a target” of criminal charges.

“But I’m not going to tell you I am not worried for Dr. Murray because he was the last doctor standing when Michael Jackson died, and it seems all the fury is directed toward him,” Chernoff said.

He said Murray is frustrated with negative and often erroneous media reports.

“He has to walk around 24-7 with a bodyguard. He can’t operate his practice. He can’t go to work because he is harassed no matter where he goes,” the lawyer said.

Officials from the Police Department, coroner’s office, district attorney’s office and Drug Enforcement Administration have been probing the role of medication in Jackson’s death. Investigators have subpoenaed the records of other physicians treating the singer and have sought information about a specific batch of propofol.

--Harriet Ryan

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