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Conrad Murray trial: Murray describes day Jackson died

October 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In an interview with LAPD detectives two days after Michael Jackson's death, Conrad Murray described the singer as under pressure to perform and desperate to sleep.

Prosecutors began playing the roughly two-hour audio recording on Friday during day nine of the involuntary manslaughter trial. The interview had never been played for the public before, and a transcript of its contents had never been released.

Get complete coverage of the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The interview was conducted by Det. Scott Smith and another detective in a hotel lobby. At the time of the interview, there was no suspicion that Murray may have caused the death because it was not yet a homicide investigation.

Investigators walked Murray through a timeline. The cardiologist started with Jackson's partial rehearsal the night before and then heading home to bed. Jackson was fitful and couldn't fall asleep.

Murray said he set up an IV, inserting it in Jackson's leg because according to Murray, Jackson's other veins were ruined. He gave him valium first, "and then I gave him additional medications safely."

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The first of several anti-anxiety meds were given, and then about an hour later, Jackson complained that he was still awake. Murray said he gave Jackson midazolam next, and he urged meditation.

But Jackson couldn't sleep by 4:30 a.m.

"And then he complained. 'I got to sleep Dr. Conrad. I have these rehearsals to perform. I must be ready for the show in England. Tomorrow I will have to cancel my performance,'" Murray said. "'I cannot function if I don't get the sleep.'"

Murray told detectives he gave Jackson more midazolam at 10:30 a.m., but nothing worked. Jackson complained again and asked for milk - his word for the powerful sedative propofol.

He said he hedged on using propofol because he had been trying to wean Jackson off of what had been a six-night-a-week habit. But in the end, Murray admitted he gave Jackson about 25 milligrams of propofol administered through the IV in the singer's leg.

Jackon slept, and Murray watched for a time.

"I monitored him. I sat there and watched him for (a) long enough period that I felt comfortable. Then I needed to go to the bathroom," he said.

Murray said he came back and realized Jackson wasn't breathing.

"His body was warm, there was no change in color, so I assumed that everything happened very quickly," Murray said. "So I started immediately to perform CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."

He said he was unable to call 911 right away because the phones in the house did not work, and he didn't know the address. He called Jackson's assistant, and then asked Jackson's chef to call security. Eventually, a security guard called 911.

Murray went on to tell the detectives how he was baffled by the death, that he didn't understand what went wrong, and that was why he asked for the autopsy.

The interview revealed an inconsistency that jurors will have to contend with. Murray told detectives that he was only gone briefly and returned to Jackson's bedside, but earlier this week, one of Murray's girlfriends, Sade Anding, testified she was on the phone with Murray at around the time Jackson stopped breathing.

Murray did not show any emotion in court as the recording was played. Prosecutors will play the rest of the audio recording on Tuesday when court is back in session.

Earlier on Friday, coroner investigator Elissa Fleak was brought back to the stand after Thursday's testimony revealed possible errors in her work. Fleak admitted to moving evidence and contaminating a piece of evidence with her thumbprint.

The defense drew testimony to highlight that she collected the evidence on two different days, the day of death and then days later when an investigator told her to go back and search the closets. For at least two days, the doors of the house were left unlocked.

But prosecutors on Friday put up pictures that showed the crime scene didn't change from her first visit to her second visit.

Toxicologist Dan Anderson also finished his testimony of drugs found in the singer's body. He testified that he detected propofol in Jackson's blood, liver and urine.

Defense attorney Michael Flanagan claimed Jackson ingested seven or eight pills of lorazepam, but Anderson testified that the amount of lorazepam found in the stomach was .046599 milligrams, which amounts to about 1/43rd of a single 2-milligram tablet.

"It's a very small amount," he said.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Prosecutors allege Murray tried to hide the fact that he had been giving propofol to Jackson.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

The trial is expected to last five weeks, with Oct. 28 being the estimated last day.

View photos from the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray.


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