Dr. Conrad Murray: Investigating Michael Jackson's Personal Doctor

Sources claim Dr. Conrad Murray drugged Jackson, left him to make phone calls.

August 13, 2009, 4:53 PM

Aug. 14, 2009— -- While it remains to be seen what role, if any, Dr. Conrad Murray played in the death of singer Michael Jackson, information continues to trickle out about the doctor who was with the pop icon in his final hours.

Thursday, the Los Angeles Times cited three unnamed sources claiming that Murray left Jackson alone and under the influence of propofol, a powerful anesthetic, to make telephone calls the morning the pop singer died. The sources added that Murray acknowledged obtaining and administering the medication in an interview with LAPD detectives two days after Jackson's death.

Investigators looking into Jackson's death have long held the belief that someone was intravenously administering propofol to Jackson at his home.

A spokeswoman for Murray and his attorney, Edward Chernoff, confirmed to ABC News Thursday that the doctor made phone calls before he discovered Jackson stricken in a bedroom June 25. She declined to comment on the claims of the unnamed sources cited in the Times.

Chernoff said he wouldn't dispute the claims made by the LAPD officers in the LA Times report.

"They were there at the interview and Dr. Murray did not lie to them," Chernoff said. "But they are not telling the whole story."

Investigators are still sifting through the evidence from raids on Murray's offices in Houston, Texas, and Las Vegas. Among the items seized from Murray's Texas office in July 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 an inventory attached to the warrant.

In the warrant, police said they were investigating potential charges of manslaughter, excessive prescribing, prescribing to an addict and unprofessional conduct.

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

Other items seized from the Texas 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.

In the wake of the investigation, a slew of liens and lawsuits against Murray has emerged. In the last three years, Murray has faced lawsuits for unpaid business bills totaling over $700,000, including rent on his medical offices. He also owes more than $13,000 in child support and $70,000 to a business partner with whom he launched an energy drink called Pitbull. Plus, he failed to pay more than $71,000 worth of student loans from medical school.

Murray was also charged with domestic violence in February 1994 while undergoing a cardiology fellowship at the University of Arizona at Tucson. He stood trial in July of that year and was ultimately acquitted.

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. Murray had known Jackson since late 2006, when the singer rented a mansion near offices Murray opened in Las Vegas and called on the doctor to treat one of his children for an undisclosed minor illness. Murray made such an impression on Jackson that the pop star offered the doctor $150,000 a month to be his personal physician during his London comeback series of concerts.

Murray didn't set out to be a doctor to the stars. He was born on the Carribean island of Grenada in 1953. He was raised by his mother in neighboring Trinidad. She never married his father, Dr. Rawle Andrews, a renowned physician in Houston, Texas.

Murray was a customs clerk, a teacher and an insurance agent before beginning his studies at Texas Southern University at age 27. After graduating magna cum laude, he went on to medical school at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. He then did his residency at Loma Linda University, in California, before eventually opening a practice in Houston, serving the largely poor, African-American community, where his father had been a local hero.

Murray's Doctor Dad Had Medical License Suspended

But while he was revered by his patients, Andrews, who's now deceased, came under scrutiny late in his career, foreshadowing the problems currently plaguing his son. Andrews had his medical license restricted by the board in 1994 for prescribing "controlled substances and substances with addictive potential" to two patients for "extended periods of time without adequate indication," according to documents obtained by ABCNews.com.

Murray's attorney's spokeswoman, Miranda Sevcik, said that any wrongdoing on the part of Murray's father has nothing to do with the son's predicament.

"This is not relevant to Dr. Murray or the investigation into Michael's death," Sevcik said.

She added that Murray, in 20 years of practicing medicine, has never had his license suspended or a malpractice claim filed against him.

"To me, that's much more relevant than what his dead father may have been accused of 25 years ago," Sevcik said.

As part of the five-year restriction of his medical license, Andrews was required to complete two two-week courses on pain management and the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. He was also required to keep separate records on any controlled substances he prescribed, to make those records available to the board and to appear before the board once a year.

After he complied with all the provisions, the restrictions on Andrews' license were lifted completely in 1999. He continued his practice, the Andrews Medical Clinic, which he had opened in 1964, until two months before his death in 2001.

News of Andrews' misconduct came as a surprise to the Rev. F. N. Williams, one of his longtime patients who also conducted his funeral.

"I think he was picked out by God to be a doctor," Williams said. "He had a concern and a caring heart. He turned nobody away. His office stayed packed. He would go home, get a call and go, just like the old country doctors that would go to the houses. He stayed with my mother 'til she passed."

Williams said Andrews was widely respected in the community.

"Whenever his foot hit the hospital, they started jumping," he said. "They knew if he found anything out of order, he would go to the supervisor of the hospital and say, 'You've got to get this corrected now.'"

Andrews' practice was in the Acres Homes area, an impoverished African-American neighborhood in northwest Houston. There, he helped form the Acres Homes Citizen Council, which gave a voice to the community and provided scholarships for needy students.

"He was the great leader of the community," Williams said.

Five years after his father's death, Murray, who attended the same medical school as his father, opened his Houston practice, the Acres Home Heart and Vascular Institute, as something of a tribute to Andrews.

Williams credits Murray for saving his life. While on a trip to Las Vegas, Williams experienced chest pain. He said Murray performed surgery, putting several stents in arteries near his heart, and saved his life.

Williams had been equally surprised when he learned that Murray is at the center of the investigation into Jackson's death. While he first warned Murray not to take the job as Jackson's personal physician because he thought the singer was troubled, Williams gave his blessing when he thought about Murray's growing money problems. But he doesn't think Murray's need for money compromised his medical practices.

"Hell, he won't give me medicine," he said. "He doesn't believe in giving you a lot of pills. I don't believe he was raised to believe in that."

Williams said his community members are determined to stand by Murray. They refuse to abandon the man who left a humble Houston clinic to treat one of the world's biggest stars.

"I'm concerned," he said. "We love him, we're waiting on him."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events