MJ's Doc a Focus of Manslaughter Probe

Warrants show cops sought evidence tying Conrad Murray to manslaughter.

July 23, 2009, 7:25 AM

July 23, 2009— -- Search warrants suggest Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician who was with Michael Jackson at his California rental home when the singer died last month, is a specific target of a police manslaughter investigation, and searches of his office and a storage facility yielded drugs, documents and computer hard drives.

The search warrants told police they were "commanded to search ... for property or items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense."

Both facilities were searched Wednesday, and the warrants instructed authorities to ship any evidence found to officials in California.

Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff, said Wednesday that the search warrant for the office gave police the power to look for anything that "they believed constituted evidence of the offense of manslaughter."

Among the items seized from the office were a vial containing 27 tablets of the weight loss drug phentermine, a vial containing a tablet of the muscle relaxant clonazepam, a photocopy picture of Murray, Rolodex cards, public storage receipts, and a receipt for a "Cricket" phone, according to a receipt attached to the warrant.

Cricket phones essentially are untraceable, because the company requires no contracts, no credit checks and no set-up fees, according to a sales representative for the company. Cricket also has the "PAYGo" option, which means someone can go to a store and pay for phone minutes with cash.

Other items seized from the storage unit, according to the court records, included two computer hard drives and a "Texas Department of Public Safety controlled substance registration." Authorities also obtained a suspension notice from a Houston hospital.

Click on the following links to examine Monday's search warrant for Murray's office and a list of what was seized and Wednesday's search warrant for his storage facility and what was seized there. The documents were obtained by ABC News Houston affiliate KTRK.

The warrants, signed by Harris County, Texas, District Court Judge Shawna Reagin Monday and Wednesday, specifically directed officers to "seize and examine all items including but not limited to, billing records, medication orders, transport receipts, billing receipts, medical records and computerized medical records, for implements and instruments used in the commission of a crime."

Investigators looking into Jackson's death believe that someone was intravenously administering propofol, a powerful sedative, to Jackson at his home.

Propofol was not listed on the court documents among the items seized from Murray's property.

Medical experts have soundly agreed that a drug like propofol, which is typically used in the hospital to sedate patients for surgery or other medical procedures, should not be used in the home.

Murray's lawyers have maintained for weeks that the doctor was simply a witness in Jackson's death and had nothing to do with it.

Widening Probe

With Murray, the man who last saw Michael Jackson alive, facing potential manslaughter charges, the investigation into the pop icon's death has widened further.

Hours after Wednesday's police and federal raid on Murray's Houston office, investigators subpoenaed records from more of Jackson's medical team, including his nutritionist Cherilyn Lee.

In addition, it turns out Murray's father once was embroiled in a controversy over drugs and patients, as well. Murray's father once ran afoul of the Texas Board of Medical Examiners for over-prescribing pain medications, ABCNews.com reported.

An involuntary manslaughter charge, which law enforcement sources have told ABC News is the mostly likely charge to come out of the Murray investigation, means the person charged did not intentionally cause the death but knew his or her actions were risky enough to do so.

Former Jackson attorney Mark Geragos told "Good Morning America" today that in addition to involuntary manslaughter, Los Angeles-area law enforcement officials in cases similar to Jackson's have been known to levy a charge of "implied malice murder."

"Which means," Geragos said, "somebody didn't intentionally mean to kill someone but acted so recklessly" that it could constitute a murder charge.

Investigators believe that someone was intravenously administering propofol, a powerful sedative, to Jackson at his home.

Medical experts have soundly agreed that a drug like propofol, which is typically used in the hospital to sedate patients for surgery or other medical procedures, should not be used in the home, something Geragos said could be very damning to the doctor who prescribed it to Jackson.

"If you've got a drug that's found in the house and somehow that drug was obtained by Michael Jackson or someone around Michael Jackson … that would be something that is so reckless and so wildly beyond the standard of care that legally that would supply an implied malice," he said.

Criticism of Michael Jackson's Doctors Continues

Geragos said he's also stunned that so many of Jackson's doctors and health professionals have been talking about their treatment of the singer while the investigation is ongoing, especially Murray, who has issued several statements through his lawyer.

"They've got him in the crosshairs, so to speak, and they want to prosecute someone," he said.

Though Murray's lawyers have maintained for weeks that the doctor was simply a witness in Jackson's death, the raid in Houston suggests the investigation has shifted to something more.

"It's never a good thing to have DEA agents, police both local and out of state come into your business," said ABC News consultant Robert Jakucs, who is retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. "The fact that a search warrant is being served on an individual oftentimes leads to the idea that he was a suspect."

Murray, Jackson's personal physician hired to monitor the entertainer for his "This Is It" tour, was called to Jackson's house the day before he died and was the person who found him unconscious, not breathing in bed the next day.

Murray has been widely criticized by medical professionals for waiting more than 30 minutes to call 911 and for performing CPR on a bed instead of a hard surface, but he has continually denied giving Jackson any drug that could have killed him.

He has been secluded at his Las Vegas home and reportedly goes out with a security detail due to death threats.

"Any physician who's administering propofol in the home should be subject to sanctions," said Dr. Joshua Prager, a pain specialist at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Lee spoke out in the days following Jackson's death about how she turned down his increasingly desperate pleas for propofol, a powerful anesthetic that reportedly led to Jackson's death.

"I gave them his complete medical records from his physical examination to his lab work," Lee, a registered nurse, said Wednesday, of the subpoena for her records.

Jackson Family Pushing for Justice, Caring for Children

The Jackson family has said from the start that they were suspicious of its most famous member's death. Joe Jackson told ABC News earlier this month that he thinks his son was the victim of "foul play," and La Toya Jackson went so far as to tell British tabloids that she believed her brother was murdered.

Jackson's three children remain in the temporary custody of his 79-year-old mother, Katherine Jackson. A custody hearing has been postponed twice as she and Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe reportedly negotiate an agreement.

Rowe is the mother of Jackson's two oldest children, Prince Michael I, 12, and Paris-Michael Katherine, 11. The youngest child, Prince Michael II, 7, also known as Blanket, was born to an unnamed surrogate.

TMZ reported overnight that even if Katherine gets custody, the children will likely be raised by Jackson's eldest sibling, Rebbie Jackson, 59, who has been very involved in the children's lives.

ABC News' Michael S. James and Lauren Pearle contributed to this report.