Lawyer Denies Doc Drugged Jackson With Demerol

Murray's lawyer says doc did not inject Jackson with Demerol before he died.

ByABC News
June 28, 2009, 9:12 AM

June 28, 2009— -- As law enforcement officials continue to probe how Michael Jackson died, the attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray -- the pop icon's personal physician who was by the singer's side in his final moments -- said the doctor did not inject Jackson with Demerol before he died.

Investigators suspect an overdose of prescription drugs might be the reason behind the cardiac arrest that killed Jackson. A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that Jackson was heavily addicted to Oxycontin and Demerol, and received both in daily doses. Officials said Jackson received an injection of Demerol an hour before a 911 call was placed after he lost conscious.

But the doctor's attorney, Edward Chernoff, said Murray found Jackson unconscious in his bedroom, detected a weak pulse in his femoral artery, and began CPR.

"He just happened to find him in his bed, and he wasn't breathing," the lawyer said. "Mr. Jackson was still warm and had a pulse."

Chernoff said any drugs the doctor gave Jackson were prescribed in response to a specific complaint from the 50-year-old.

"Dr. Murray has never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson," Chernoff said. "Not ever. Not that day. ... Not Oxycontin (either) for that matter."

Chernoff also said Murray was planning to travel to London for his 50-concert run and that he is still owed $300,000 in back pay by AEG Live, the concert promoter.

Murray and his attorney met with investigators for three hours Saturday. Law enforcement authorities said Murray is not being considered a suspect but rather a witness in Jackson's death.

A second private autopsy on Jackson's body was completed Saturday at the family's request so they could have a second opinion on the cause of death. The first autopsy conducted Friday was inconclusive and the coroner's office said they will have to wait for toxicology reports, which could take months to complete. However, foul play was ruled out.

"I think it's really more an issue of control. For the Los Angeles coroner to issue a report regarding its finding takes at least a month [and] can take several months ... so the family really didn't want to wait, this agonizing wait," ABC News analyst Dana Cole told "Good Morning America." "They wanted to take the matters into their own hands and try to conduct their own autopsy to see what they could find."

The Jackson family has gathered in their family compound in Encino, Calif., and the superstar's three children are with their grandmother, Katherine. There are conflicting reports about the executor of the 50-year-old's will. The New York Post reports that Janet Jackson is the executor of her brother's will, but entertainment Web site TMZ says Randy Jackson will take control of his brother's estate.

In a statement on behalf of the family released to People magazine, Jackson's father, Joe, said the pop icon's death "leaves us, his family, speechless and devastated to a point, where communication with the outside world seems almost impossible at times.

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives we find it hard to find the words appropriate to this sudden tragedy we all had to encounter," the statement reads. "Our beloved son, brother and father of three children has gone so unexpectedly, in such a tragic way and much too soon."

In an interview with The Times of London, Jackson's nanny for a decade, Grace Rwaramba, said she had to pump the singer's stomach many times because he had taken too many pills and that he took up a combination of several different painkillers.

Jackson could leave a financial and legal conflict in his wake.

Even though he reportedly had a debt of $400 million and continued splurging sprees despite his dismal financial situation, Jackson's albums are flying off the shelves now and his songs are back in the top charts after his death. Some say like Elvis Presley, Jackson's could become worth more in death than life.

Revenue from Jackson's songs is expected to triple this year because of his death. In the last three days, a Las Vegas auction of Jackson memorabilia -- including a crystal-studded shirt -- has found new life. The auction -- done on Jackson's behalf -- was expected to fetch only $6,000 initially, but it pulled in more than $200,000 after his death.

On Sunday, Jackson's greatest hits album "Number Ones" album topped the UK album chart.

Questions are also swirling about whether Deborah Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, will seek custody. Rowe has not been a part of the children's lives; Jackson had full custody.

Rowe's attorney said in a statement Saturday that her "only thoughts at this time have been regarding the devastating loss Michael's family has suffered. Ms. Rowe requests that Michael's family, and particularly the children, be spared such harmful, sensationalist speculation and that they be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace."

Cole said the main question is about the third child, who was born by a surrogate mother whose name has never been revealed.

"You really don't want to break up a family. So she's really coming out and saying, 'I want to reclaim my two children,'" Cole said. "I don't think a judge is going to want to split up that family so that's another huge question that's going to take some time to resolve."