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Subpoenas issued for Jackson's records

July 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A source confirms for Eyewitness News that the L.A. County coroner has issued subpoenas for medical records from several of Michael Jackson's doctors.Exactly two weeks after Jackson's death, how he died remains a mystery, and the question of where the King of Pop will be buried remains unanswered.

The Jackson family is not revealing where the body is at this point. It's possible his remains were brought back to Forest Lawn, but the Hollywood Hills cemetery may not be his final resting place.

The family gathered for a private memorial service Tuesday morning at Forest Lawn, then the golden casket was driven to Staples Center, where about 19,500 people attended the public memorial service.

Eyewitness News has learned how Michael Jackson's casket was removed from Staples Center undetected after Tuesday's memorial service. It was taken out of the arena hidden in an LAPD SWAT vehicle minutes after the memorial ended.

"We're not going to discuss how the body was removed. As Chief Bratton says we have to keep some secrets," a spokesperson for the LAPD chief told Eyewitness News when asked about the removal.

L.A. City Councilmember Dennis Zine is outraged Jackson's memorial service is costing the city what he estimates to be more than $1.4 million. The amount included $1.1 million in overtime pay for the 4,173 officers who worked to secure Staples Center, Forest Lawn cemetery and other areas that attracted fans and members of the media, police said in a statement.

"Why would they have to put a casket in the SWAT van?" Zine questioned. "Why did they have to have SWAT deployed anyway? What kind of terrorist threat was placed upon this with Michael Jackson who had passed away?"

He says Jackson's concert promoter and Staples Center owner AEG should pick up the tab.

"AEG Staples should measure up and do what they're supposed to do. And the Jackson family as a part of this should say it was our loved one, it was the services that were performed for Michael Jackson, they should pay we shouldn't be profiting off of this," said Zine.

City officials said Wednesday that the remaining amount covered traffic control, cleanup and other costs related to Tuesday's public memorial service, which was watched by tens of millions of people around the world.

The city has also set up a Web site urging fans to make tax-deductible donations through credit cards, PayPal or check to help defray costs.

Fans have thus far donated $17,000, but contributions have been hampered by technical problems, Szabo said in a statement.

The site received so many hits that the servers crashed Tuesday night and several times Wednesday, Szabo said. The city's information technology department is working to rectify the problems.

New City Controller Wendy Greuel is also raising an issue with the cost. Greuel has called on the City Council to create a policy declaring who should pay for city services associated with such events.

In a letter to the emergency management department, Greuel criticized the nearly $49,000 expense for 3,500 police officers' lunches, which were ordered from a restaurant located 80 miles from Los Angeles in Wrightwood.

Greuel said her office called a local sandwich shop that could have provided box lunches for less than $17,500. The purchase would have had the added benefit of supporting a local business, she said.

Jackson's public memorial service has prompted an investigation by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to determine how the city got stuck with the bill and who authorized the city's use of resources.

Officials said although the memorial cost $1.4 million, it was far less than the $4 million that was originally estimated.

The investigation into what caused Jackson's death is ongoing.

Police detectives are looking into Jackson's prescription drug history and trying to talk with his numberous former doctors. The coroner has so far deferred the cause of Jackson's death pending the results of toxicology tests.

"Based on those we'll have an idea of what it is that we're dealing with," said LAPD Chief William Bratton. "Are we dealing with a homicide? Are we dealing with an accidental overdose? What are we dealing with?"

According to ABC News, Jackson was addicted to the painkillers Demerol and oxycontin. The sedative Diprivan was also found inside Jackson's rented mansion.

ABC News is also reporting that Jackson's brothers will ask the state if they can bury the body at Neverland Ranch, even though that is reportedly not what his mother Katherine Jackson wants.

Los Angeles County records show Forest Lawn mortuary as a temporary location.

Experts say a delay in burial is not unusual, but the law requires that the body be stored properly.

"It's my understanding that once the body is released, that there are no other requirements as long as its being properly stored. If, however, it is not being properly stored, and it becomes a matter of health and safety concerns, then the county coroner would be the individual who would be taking responsibility at that point," said Rick Wallender from the state cemetery and funeral bureau.

Dozens of Encino residents met with city officials on Wednesday night to discuss the disruptions casued by street closures and fans and media gathered outside the Jackson family residence.

After being closed for several days, Hayvenhurst Avenue has reopened and is now subject to regular parking restrictions.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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