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Michael Jackson / Conrad Murray in the news > Doc told police Jackson had long 'dependency' on propofol

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8 Oct 2011


Doc told police Jackson had long 'dependency' on propofol

LOS ANGELES – Dr. Conrad Murray's recorded narrative to police detectives about the death of Michael Jackson was played in a hushed courtroom Friday to jurors at the doctor's homicide trial.

In a soft, low voice with a West Indian accent, Murray, who was born in the island nation of Grenada, was heard on the DVD recording explaining Jackson's long "dependency" on propofol — its commercial name is Diprivan — and how the doctor had been trying to wean him off the drug.

Two days after Jackson's death, Murray told Los Angeles Police Department Detectives Orlando Martinez and Scott Smith that he gave a pleading Jackson a minimal, 25-milligram IV infusion of propofol — the sleep aid Jackson called his "milk" — at about 10:40 a.m.

The doctor said Jackson had returned home from a rehearsal for his coming London concert series at 1 a.m., and had been unable to get more than a few minutes of sleep over nine hours despite heavy doses of sedatives.

Valium, lorazepam and midazolam had not worked, Murray said. Murray even suggested that Jackson "try meditating," and it worked, but only for "10, 12 minutes," Murray said.

Jackson repeatedly complained that he would have to cancel that day's rehearsal. Murray said he felt "pressure" to provide propofol.

"I gotta sleep, Dr. Conrad," Murray said Jackson told him. "I have a rehearsal to perform. I must be ready for my concert in England. I have to cancel my rehearsal. Because you know, I cannot function without sleep."

"Well, I do have some milk," Murray said he told Jackson.

"He said, 'Please, please give me some,'" Murray said, referring to Jackson.

Murray said he decided to give in to Jackson's pleas "so he get a couple hours of sleep. Because I cared about him."

The doctor said he "took all precautions that were available to me," with an oxygen tank at bedside and a portable monitor on hand to check Jackson's blood oxygen level and heart rate.

Murray's chief defense lawyer, Ed Chernoff, hinted in his opening statement Sept. 27 that the doctor probably will not testify. So the recording is likely to be the only version of Murray's story that will be presented at the trial.

Observing that Jackson had fallen into a light sleep, Murray said, he left for the bathroom "about two minutes." He returned to find Jackson not breathing and his heart rate rocketing to 122 beats per minute.

"I was able to get a thready pulse in the femoral region," Murray said. "His body was warm. There was no change in color."

He began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he said. He injected flumazenil as an antidote for the sedatives. He yelled and phoned for help, asked a security guard to call 911, then urged rescue paramedics and doctors at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center not to give up on the apparently lifeless patient, he said.

"I mean, I love Mr. Jackson," Murray said. "He was my friend, and he opened up to me. … And I wanted to help him as much as I can."

Like Murray, Jackson was "a single parent," the doctor said, and "I wanted to do the best I can."

But prosecutors say Murray delayed unduly in having 911 called. Two paramedics and two UCLA doctors testified that he never mentioned giving Jackson propofol.

Murray said Jackson had been prescribed propofol for years by "multiple" other doctors, some of whom allowed him to administer it himself.

Murray said that on one occasion before he signed on to treat Jackson for the London tour, he loaned his Las Vegas office to another doctor, David Adams, who got Jackson to sleep using propofol.

For two months before June 25, Murray had been infusing propofol into the singer "30 days a month, roughly every day," he told the police. But three days before the death, Murray talked a "reluctant" Jackson into shifting from propofol to greater use of lorazepam and midozalam, he said.

"I wanted to get him back to a normal physiological state," the doctor said.

"After joining his team," Murray said, "I fell into the situation of a gentleman who wanted his nightly Diprivan. That was not my purpose. … I had not seen a situation where someone was addicted to that medication."

On the trial's ninth day, Detective Smith testified that he and Martinez had accepted an offer from Murray's attorneys to meet with them two days after Jackson's death.

The two detectives and two lawyers for Murray, Chernoff and Michael Peña, met at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey, a beachside section of Los Angeles.

The interview was conducted in a small hotel office next to a noisy banquet hall. The DVD played for the jury was sometimes hard to hear, but jurors were given transcripts to read.

Murray said he had been treating Jackson "off and on" since a Jackson security guard, a patient of Murray's, recommended him to the singer in 2006 to treat his children for symptoms that included "coughing, runny noses, dehydration, not getting enough rest."

The doctor told the officers he had been seeing Jackson in 2009 for "a little over two months." The singer had invited him to "be on his team" for a coming London concert series, Murray said. He had believed at first that he would work directly for Jackson, but later learned that his salary was to be paid by AEG Live, the concert tour promoting company, Murray said.

Murray said Jackson told him he wanted the doctor around him "forever," and wanted Murray to be medical director of a children's hospital Jackson said he would build.

At one point as the recording was played, Jackson's sister, Rebbie Jackson, and another woman walked from their spectator seats through the attorneys' area and out of the courtroom. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor stopped the recording and bawled out a bailiff for allowing the distraction.

A final 30 minutes of the police interview is scheduled to be played Tuesday, after the Columbus Day holiday.

Earlier Friday, prosecutor David Walgren asked Smith to describe police photographs of what the detective called Jackson's "extremely messy" master bathroom. The photos taken the day after Jackson died showed the floor and a vanity littered with debris. Notes were taped to a mirror.

In the bathroom area, Smith testified, police found a bottle of Valisone skin lotion and empty bottles of the sedatives lorazepam and the anti-anxiety drug diazepam.

Smith said that the day after Jackson died, family members turned over to a coroner's official a shaving kit containing "rotten" and degraded marijuana they found in the house. 

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