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Conrad Murray gave NBC interviews without telling attorneys

November 10, 2011 |  8:56 am

Dr. Conrad MurrayDr. Conrad Murray's criminal defense attorneys said they did not know their client had agreed to wide-ranging interviews about Michael Jackson's death in the final days of his manslaughter trial.

The interviews were with NBC and a British outlet as part of a controversial documentary, "Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship," which is scheduled to air Friday.

The attorneys said Murray had been warned about "the dangers of talking about June 25th" — the day the singer died.

FULL COVERAGE: Trial of Conrad Murray

"They just didn't tell me because they know I'd freak out," said lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff, who said he learned of the interviews when portions aired on NBC the morning after the verdict was handed down.

Questions have arisen about the documentary – how much Murray was paid and whether proceeds funded his defense.

Those involved in the documentary refused to discuss details of the deal with Murray. They repeatedly reiterated a statement by October Films, the London-based production company, that it paid only a nominal $1 fee to Murray.

Chernoff said he sought advice from the California State Bar before agreeing to be filmed. The doctor began providing him money, he said, but he never asked about the source.

"It wasn't pertinent to what I was doing," he said. Asked whether he assumed the money came from the documentary, Chernoff replied, "I can't say that because I don't know for sure."

The estate of Michael Jackson sent a letter Wednesday to executives at NBC, MSNBC and its parent company, Comcast, demanding that the network cancel the documentary. Jackson's siblings have described the documentary as "shameless."


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-- Harriet Ryan and James Rainey

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.  Credit: Reuters