Lawyer: Jackson's Doctor Had Difficulty Summoning Help

Murray's lawyer said Jackson's phones weren't working for "privacy reasons."

June 28, 2009, 9:12 AM

June 29, 2009— -- As scrutiny of the doctor who was with Michael Jackson when the pop star was stricken grows, a lawyer for Dr. Conrad Murray told ABC's "Good Morning America" that it took Murray a while to find anyone in Jackson's rented mansion to help him call 911 after he failed to revive the superstar.

"We can't tell you exactly when 911 was called," attorney Edward Chernoff told "Good Morning America" today.

Chernoff said that once Murray realized that CPR was not bringing Jackson back, Murray, he said, tried to dial 911 on his cell phone but did not have the exact address of Jackson's home. And with none of the phones in the home working "for privacy reasons," Murray ran around the house till he found Jackson's chef, who alerted security.

It was the security person, Chernoff said, who eventually dialed 911. CPR, he said, was done for 25 to 30 minutes before emergency officials arrived.

Chernoff said over the weekend that 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."

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 consciousness.

But Chernoff reiterated his statements today that the personal physician did not administer Demerol to Jackson, nor see him take it.

"I can't go into any specifics that Michael Jackson might have taken the night before," Chernoff said. "Whatever was taken by Michael Jackson at any time wouldn't have caused his death."

Yet the family, who seems to be growing more suspicious of Murray as time passes, is waiting for results of its own independent autopsy.

"I have a lot of concerns," Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, told CNN. "I don't like what happened."

As Murray's qualifications have come into question, so have those of his associates. Murray has referred to himself as a cardiologist, but he is not board certified in cardiology.

And his partner in his Houston office has had his license revoked for improperly dispensing prescription drugs. Their clinic was shut down in 2002 for being what law enforcement officials call a "pill mill."

Chernoff said he is unsure where the discussion about Jackson and Demerol came from, but "I think that once toxicology comes back this rumor about Demerol is going to be squashed."

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

Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht told "Good Morning America" today that Jackson's history of prescription drug use can be confirmed by analyizing just a few strands of the performer's hair. Measured in increments of a centimeter at a time, a pattern of prescription drug use can be traced back in time, depending on the length of the hair.

As for Murray's lawyer's assertion that Murray did not administer Demerol, Wecht said, "the question is whether Michael Jackson obtained those drugs from someone else -- another physician or someone we refer to as an enabler."

Jackson's manager, Frank DiLeo, said he was with the nanny and a psychologist when he told the singer's three children that their father had died.But little needed to be said. DiLeo said they knew just by looking at his face.

"They said, 'Say it's not true.' I said, 'I'm sorry,'" DiLeo told "GMA" today. "We all cried, and they came over and we hugged and they all hugged each other."

DiLeo said he also told Katherine Jackson of her son's death.

"She was emotional, grabbed me," he said. "We just cried together."

DiLeo said he was able to view Jackson's body in the hospital. He said he kissed Jackson and told him that he loved him.

DiLeo was with Jackson during his final rehearsal for his upcoming 50-concert series.

"He had stamina," he said. "He was in shape."

DiLeo denied rumors that Jackson had been pushed beyond his capacity.

"He goes at his own pace," he said, "and he knows when he has to step it up and when he doesn't."

As the two walked together at the end of rehearsal, DiLeo said Jackson was optimistic and excited about the tour and had promised to call him later to go over a few things for the show.

"He said, 'Frank, we're going to do this,'" DiLeo said.

Questions Remain as the Jackson Family Grieves

Investigators suspect an overdose of prescription drugs might be the reason behind the cardiac arrest that killed Jackson.

In an interview with The Times of London, Grace Rwaramba, employed by Jackson as a nanny for a decade, 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.

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

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 reported that Janet Jackson is the executor of her brother's will, but entertainment Web site TMZ said Randy Jackson would 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."

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 could become worth more in death than life.

Revenue from Jackson's songs is expected to triple this year as a result 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 $6,000 initially, but it pulled in more than $200,000 after his death.

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

Questions are also swirling about whether Deborah Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, would 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 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 Los 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 had 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 the 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.

The 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.

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

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