Lawyer Denies Doc Drugged Jackson With Demerol

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

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."

Doctor Answers Questions About Michael Jackson's Last Moments

In a statement released late Saturday, the Los Angeles Police Department said Dr. Conrad Robert Murray "voluntarily contacted" the department.

"During the meeting Dr. Murray helped identify the circumstances around the death of the pop icon and clarified some inconsistencies," the statement said. "Dr. Murray has been in Los Angeles since the death of Mr. Jackson. He rode in the ambulance to the hospital and stayed at the hospital for hours comforting and consoling the Jackson family."

Murray's spokeswoman, Miranda Sevcik, said in a statement that he "helped identify the circumstances around the death of the pop icon and clarified some inconsistencies," and that the doctor is in no way a suspect. The statement added that Murray has been in Lose Angeles since Jackson's death and plans to stay there until his cooperation is no longer needed.

Murray, a cardiologist, had tried to "pump" Jackson, according to the 911 call, but did not sign a death certificate.

"Dr. Murray's grieving for the loss of Mr. Jackson, as millions of people around the world are," said Matt Alford, a partner at the law firm hired by Murray, Stradley, Chernoff & Alford. "But he was not only Mr. Jackson's physician, he was also his friend and he's grieving for Mr. Jackson right now but he's holding up well."

Murray is a 1989 graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, who practices medicine in Nevada, California and Texas.

Court records say Murray has more than $400,000 worth of legal judgments against him, including child support and default on a $71,000 education loan. Murray was taken to civil court in Clark County twice in the past year by Capital One Bank for unpaid bills of around $2,000 in total.

Randy Phillips, the promoter of Jackson's 50-concert London comeback said Jackson himself insisted the company hire Murray to be his personal physician. Phillips talked about Jackson's health during a press conference when the opening concert was delayed.

"Not that I'm a doctor, but I would trade my body for his," Phillips said of Jackson at the time. "He's in fantastic shape."

Jackson's family is also suspicious of the doctor. Murray's behavior in their son's final moments didn't sit right with the Jacksons, said Rev. Jesse Jackson, a friend of the family.

"When did the doctor come? What did he do? Did he inject him? If so, with what?" Rev. Jackson said in an interview with ABC News. "Was he on the scene twice? Before and then reaction to? Did he use the Demerol? It's a very powerful drug. Was he injected once? Was he injected twice?"

Fans Remember Michael Jackson

The star-studded annual BET awards ceremony tonight in Los Angeles is expected to turn into a tribute for Jackson.

Previously announced acts, such as Beyonce and Ne-Yo, hoped to change their planned performances to honor Jackson, producer Stephen Hill told The Associated Press. Other artists who hadn't planned to attend the ceremony, including Usher and Justin Timberlake, tried to catch last-minute flights to Los Angeles to participate.

A vigil is also planned at the original home of Motown Records in Detroit. The child singer recorded at the studio there when he was a member of the Jackson 5.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who said he was meeting with the Jackson family Sunday, told The Associated Press that Jackson's family is considering his idea of having "massive, simultaneous celebrations of Jackson's life across the globe."

"That kind of fame is something of the past. We'll never see people as famous as they were again. Why? Our culture was more unified 40 and 30 years ago," said Wall Street journalist and cultural historian Peggy Noonan on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "We've lost those days. ... In part what we celebrate is missing them when they leave us."

Los Angeles fire and police officials are preparing for what they expect will be a massive turnout at the memorial service for Jackson.

No date has been set yet for the event but authorities are expecting large crowds. The superstar's family has yet to release details of the funeral plans.

Vigils were set up across the United States and fans continued to place flowers at Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and outside the residence that he was renting in Los Angeles.

President Barack Obama wrote to Michael Jackson's family expressing condolence, White House adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." Obama did not issue a statement following Jackson's death, but the White House has said the president saw the pop star as a spectacular performer whose life had sad and tragic aspects.

Meanwhile, record stores around the country are reporting a surge in sales of Jackson's albums and his songs have jumped on the charts. In Britain, where he was to perform a series of concerts, starting in July, his 2003 compilation, "Number One," is expected to reach the top spot.

Jackson memorabilia is also selling fast, raking in big dollars for many sellers.

Deepak Chopra, a spiritual author, medical doctor and Jackson's friend, said he was working on a song with Jackson dedicated to conservation and earth, one of the last recordings Jackson made.

Jackson "said he wanted to do something for the environment," Chopra said. "We were talking about how to reframe our perspective of what the environment is. ... He was moved by that kind of sentiment."

"Michael Jackson, I think... represents... a film for the real-life version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Born as a shriveled old man, he dies as a youth," said author Michael Eric Dyson on "This Week."

Was Michael Jackson Addicted to Painkiller Drugs?

Investigators believe an addiction to painkiller drugs could be to blame for the superstar's death.

Jackson is believed to have died from cardiac arrest and law enforcement sources said the pop icon was heavily addicted to Oxycontin and received it and Demerol in daily doses.

Chopra told "Good Morning America" the famed singer "was addicted, but he had enabling doctors who perpetuated his addiction and actually started it."

ABC News has learned that Los Angeles police were told Jackson received an injection of the painkiller Demerol an hour before the 911 call was placed.

In 2007, Jackson settled a lawsuit with a Beverly Hills pharmacy that claimed Jackson owed them more than $100,000 for prescription drugs, and during a search of his Neverland estate, the district attorney said syringes and Demerol were found on the property.

For years, Jackson was treated by Dr. Arnie Klein, a dermatologist. It was in Klein's office that Jackson met Rowe.

It could take several weeks for the coroner's office to fully assess the reason for Jackson's death. Jackson passed away on Thursday after failed attempts at CPR by Murray, and then resuscitation efforts by doctors at the UCLA Medical Center.

ABC News' Jim Avila, Neal Karlinsky and The Associated Press contributed to this report.