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Investigators seek more information from Michael Jackson's physician

The L.A. County coroner's office wants another interview with Dr. Conrad Murray, who already has been questioned twice by LAPD detectives, and additional medical records.

July 22, 2009|Harriet Ryan

Investigators trying to determine what killed Michael Jackson are seeking additional information from the personal physician who was with him when he died, the doctor's lawyer said Tuesday.

Officials from the Los Angeles County coroner's office have requested another interview with Dr. Conrad Murray, who already has been questioned twice by Los Angeles Police Department detectives, said Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff.

Investigators also asked for medical records beyond those that Murray previously provided, Chernoff said.

Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner's office, declined to comment. Murray's lawyer said that a date has not been set for an interview, but that Murray, who has returned to Nevada, would cooperate.

"The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death," Chernoff said. "We share that goal."

Murray, 51, is a central figure in the probe as both a witness and a possible criminal target. He discovered Jackson unconscious in the bedroom of his rented Holmby Hills home June 25 and performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived.

Police questioned Murray at UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was pronounced dead, and two days later, he and his attorney met with police detectives for three hours.

Through his lawyer, Murray has said that he administered no narcotics or other medications that "should have" caused Jackson's death and remains puzzled as to his death.

"We don't have access to the most important information in this case . . . the toxicology report," Chernoff said. "We're still in the dark like everybody else."

He declined to say whether Murray gave Jackson propofol, the powerful anesthetic that police found in his home.

The week after Jackson's death, Murray turned over files from his Las Vegas office concerning Jackson's treatment there, Chernoff said.

Murray met the entertainer in 2006 when Jackson and his three children moved to the gambling mecca. Jackson subsequently offered him a full-time job as his personal physician for a series of comeback concerts in London.

In May, Murray closed his practices in Las Vegas and Houston to take the position. Murray was to earn a monthly salary of $150,000, but, according to AEG Live, the concert promoter, Jackson had not signed the contract at the time of his death.

His lawyer said that based on Murray's "minute-by-minute, item-by-item" description of the entertainer's last days, "he shouldn't be a target" of criminal charges.

"But I'm not going to tell you I am not worried for Dr. Murray because he was the last doctor standing when Michael Jackson died and it seems all the fury is directed toward him," Chernoff said.

He said Murray is frustrated by negative and often erroneous media reports.

"He has to walk around 24-7 with a bodyguard," Chernoff said. "He can't operate his practice. He can't go to work because he is harassed no matter where he goes."

Officials from the Police Department, coroner's office, district attorney's office and Drug Enforcement Administration have been probing the role of medication in Jackson's death.

Investigators have subpoenaed the records of other physicians treating the singer and have sought information about a specific batch of propofol.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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