Southern California -- this just in

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

Girlfriend of Michael Jackson's doctor to testify before grand jury, sources say [Updated]

September 22, 2009 | 11:30 am

Prosecutors investigating Michael Jackson’s death have called the girlfriend of the singer’s personal doctor to testify before a grand jury this week, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is asking a grand jury only to take testimony from Nicole Alvarez, 27, and is not being asked "at this time" to determine whether Dr. Conrad Murray should be charged with a crime, the sources said. Murray is the target of a manslaughter probe related to Jackson's death, and the sources told The Times the girlfriend has not been cooperating with detectives.

Instead, prosecutors are using the panel’s subpoena power to question Alvarez, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation is ongoing.

This summer, police searched the apartment where Alvarez lives with the couple’s infant son, but she was not forthcoming with detectives, the sources said.

An attorney for Alvarez did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

[Updated at 1:20 p.m.: Alvarez's attorney said his client received a subpoena several days ago to appear before the grand jury Wednesday morning.

“We are definitely going to cooperate, but as to whether that happens [Wednesday], that remains to be seen. It is short notice,” said lawyer Joseph Low IV of Long Beach.

He disputed the source's characterization of Alvarez as uncooperative.

“The only thing she asked was that she be notified when they wanted to talk to her and that she have the ability to have a lawyer there because she doesn’t know what to expect,” Low said.

He said that instead, detectives arrived unannounced to search her residence and take a statement. Low said he would be “surprised” if Alvarez knew anything useful to investigators.

“She has no incriminating information about herself or anybody else as far as we know,” he said.]

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, Jane Robinson, said, “We cannot comment on whether is or is not a grand jury proceeding.”

Murray acknowledged to police detectives that he administered the anesthetic propofol and other medications to Jackson before his June 25 death.

The coroner’s office determined the singer died from “acute propofol intoxication” combined with sedatives and labeled his death a homicide. Murray contends through his lawyer that he did nothing wrong.

-- Richard Winton and Harriet Ryan