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Coroner's investigator visits Jackson's dermatologist's office to get more records

An official says Dr. Arnold Klein failed to turn over records he'd promised to provide. The physician's attorney says his client has been 'fully cooperating' with a subpoena.

July 15, 2009|Richard Winton and Jeff Gottlieb

As the paparazzi trailed his movements, a top Los Angeles County coroner's investigator probing the death of Michael Jackson went to the pop star's longtime dermatologist's office Tuesday to collect additional medical records.

Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter visited Dr. Arnold Klein's Beverly Hills office after the physician failed to turn over records he had promised to provide to authorities earlier this month, said Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner's office. Harvey said Winter obtained an agreement that the doctor would provide the outstanding medical records.

Klein has been "fully cooperating" with a subpoena issued by the coroner's office, his attorney Richard L. Charnley said.

Authorities also continued their investigation into the role that prescription drugs may have played in Jackson's death. Teva Pharmaceuticals, which produces a generic version of the powerful anesthetic Propofol, said Tuesday that it had been contacted by the Drug Enforcement Administration asking about a "specific lot number" stamped on the drug's packaging, said Teva spokeswoman Denise Bradley.

The lot numbers let authorities pinpoint the wholesaler or distributor that supplied the Propofol that sources said was found in Jackson's home.

"If you call the manufacturer and tell them the lot number, they can tell you when it was manufactured and who it was sold to," said Dr. Zeev Kain, anesthesiology department chairman at UC Irvine Medical Center. "Even if there was a middleman, they know where . . . that bottle" went.

Since the performer's June 25 death, both Klein and Jackson's nurse Cherilyn Lee have said the singer used Propofol as a sleep aid. The drug, which takes effect in less than a minute, is administered intravenously and is intended to be used as an anesthetic for medical procedures.

Klein told CNN's Larry King last week that Jackson was using Propofol "when he was on tour in Germany." Klein said Jackson "was using it, with an anesthesiologist, to go to sleep at night. And I told him he was absolutely insane."

Lee said that Jackson called her requesting the drug earlier this year but that she warned him it was unsafe. She said she did not see him use the drug.

The coroner's office has issued subpoenas to some of Jackson's physicians in an attempt to determine the cause of death. The Los Angeles Police Department and DEA are investigating whether any doctors or others should face criminal charges.

"Neither the coroner's office nor the Los Angeles Police Department have advised Dr. Klein or his representatives that he is a target of their investigation," said Charnley. "Reports in the media claiming that Dr. Klein is allegedly not cooperating in the investigation surrounding Michael Jackson's death are patently false."

Detectives have already questioned Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who was at the performer's home when he stopped breathing.

In a statement, Murray's lawyer said Tuesday that his client knew nothing about the treatment Klein provided Jackson. "Never met him, never had any contact with him and he never communicated with him about Michael Jackson," Ed Chernoff said.

Authorities have identified some of Jackson's doctors from the medications and other medical evidence they recovered from the Holmby Hills mansion where Jackson suffered cardiac arrest, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Those sources also said that some of the medications lacked prescription labels and that officials were trying to determine how Jackson got them.

The investigation into Jackson's death could take a few more weeks, coroner's officials said.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein, Kimi Yoshino and Harriet Ryan contributed to this report.

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