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Jackson's physician identified as target of police investigation [Updated]

July 23, 2009 |  3:10 pm

Michael Jackson’s personal physician was identified as the target of a police manslaughter investigation in court records filed today in Houston.

Federal drug agents and Los Angeles Police Department investigators executed two search warrants Wednesday — one at Dr. Conrad Murray’s medical clinic and a second at a public storage unit rented by him.

According to the warrant filed in Harris County District Court, authorities were looking for “items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense.”

Among the items seized from the storage unit were two computer hard drives, a Medical Board certificate, letters to a former employee, a list of contacts and papers pertaining to his practice. Among those is a “suspension notice Doctor’s Hospital” and “papers regarding incomplete chart Doctor’s Hospital.”

Authorities also seized letters from the Internal Revenue Service, Texas Department of Public Safety controlled substance registration and public records from the Texas controller.

An administrative assistant at Doctors Hospital in Houston said Murray has been suspended from practicing at the hospital. The offense was “very much” routine and minor and “probably had something to do with a chart that needs to be signed,” she said.

An inventory of items taken in the search of Murray’s office included vials of two drugs: 27 tablets of phentermine, a prescription appetite suppressant; and one tablet of clonazepam, a muscle relaxant. Authorities also confiscated a computer, a Rolodex card with FedEx information, and e-mails from one of Murray’s former employees.

[Updated at 3:45 p.m.: The 10-by-15-foot storage unit has been accessed six times since Murray rented it in April, said Sue Lyon, general manager of West 18th Street Self Storage. The last visit was at 9:22 a.m. June 25, five hours before Michael Jackson was pronounced dead in Los Angeles.

"They took a few boxes, not many," Lyon said. "Just a very little bit."

Lyon said she gave authorities who searched the facility a complete record of dates that Murray or his office managers had visited the storage unit.

On Wednesday, three investigators from the LAPD and authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration visited the public storage facility armed with a search warrant that they obtained from a Harris County District Court judge at 1:05 p.m. after inspecting Murray’s Houston office.

Murray’s attorney, Edward Chernoff, said he was present for searches at both locations.

"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," Chernoff said of the two search warrants.]

—Harriet Ryan and Kimi Yoshino