The attorney for Michael Jackson's private physician, cardiologist Conrad Murray, has released a statement calling much of the information in a search warrant affidavit unsealed on Monday "theory" and denying that his client gave police the timeline contained in the document. The warrant revealed that coroner's office investigators found lethal levels of the fast-acting, powerful anesthetic propofol in Jackson's body at the time of his death and that Murray told investigators he had given the singer a combination of sedatives in the hours before his death on June 25, topped by a dose of propofol.
"Much of what was in the search warrant affidavit is factual," attorney Edward Chernoff said in the statement. "However, unfortunately, much is police theory. Most egregiously, the timeline reported by law enforcement was not obtained through interviews with Dr. Murray, as was implied by the affidavit. Dr. Murray simply never told investigators that he found Michael Jackson at 11:00 a.m. not breathing. He also never said that he waited a mere 10 minutes before leaving to make several phone calls. In fact, Dr. Murray never said that he left Michael Jackson's room to make phone calls at all."
The timeline in the affidavit says that Murray gave Jackson a series of drugs, incliding Valium, lorazepam (commonly known as Ativan) and midazolam (commonly known as Versed), and then finally administered a 25 milligram dose of propofol that put Jackson to sleep, The Associated Press reported. Murray then reportedly stayed with Jackson for 10 minutes and left to go to the bathroom, returning less than two minutes later to find Jackson had stopped breathing. Cell phone records then indicate that Murray made three separate calls between 11:18 a.m. and 12:05 a.m., though it's unclear who received those calls. During that period, Murray has told authorities he was administering CPR to the singer, but the detective's report alleges that the doctor did not tell paramedics or emergency room staffers that he'd administered propofol to Jackson, only that he'd given him Ativan and an antidote meant to reverse the effects of the sedative. It was not until follow-up interviews with police that Murray reportedly gave a full account of the events that transpired before the 911 call. Police have also said that Murray refused to sign the death certificate at UCLA Medical Center after Jackson was pronounced dead.
"We will not comment on the 'anonymous' law enforcement source that claims that Michael Jackson's death will be ruled a homicide," Chernoff added, apparently referring to an AP story on Monday that quoted an anonymous source saying that the L.A. County Coroner's Office had found that Jackson's death was a homicide. "Most of the reports by anonymous sources have been proven wrong. We will be happy to address the coroner's report when it is officially released."
The coroner's office has completed its investigation but put the final results on security hold pending the completion of the official police investigation into the 50-year-old singer's death.
According to the affidavit, Murray told police he was worried that Jackson was developing an addiction to propofol, and he had he tried to wean him off of the drug by giving him increasingly lower doses. In the hours before his death, Murray administered a series of sedatives to Jackson for his insomnia, but when they failed to put the singer to sleep, Jackson insisted Murray hook him up to an intravenous drip of propofol, a drug intended for use to anesthetize surgical patients in a medical office or hospital.
Murray is reportedly at the center of a manslaughter investigation by the Los Angeles police, and according to the AP, the alleged homicide ruling is based on forensic tests that found a lethal combination of propofol and at least two other sedatives. The homicide finding does not necessarily mean that a crime was committed, but it makes it more likely that criminal charges will be filed against Murray when police finish their investigation. The affidavit noted that investigators are still trying to figure out if Jackson died because of the actions of one doctor, or the "grossly negligent treatment of several doctors" over an extended period.