LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson still had a faint pulse and his body was warm when his doctor found him in bed and not breathing, a lawyer for the doctor told the Associated Press on Sunday.
Edward Chernoff also said Dr. Conrad Murray never prescribed or gave Jackson the drugs Demerol or OxyContin. He denied reports suggesting Murray gave Jackson drugs that contributed to his death.
Chernoff told the AP that Murray was at the pop icon’s rented mansion on Thursday afternoon when he discovered Jackson in bed and not breathing. The doctor immediately began administering CPR, Chernoff said. “He just happened to find him in his bed, and he wasn’t breathing,” the lawyer said. “Mr. Jackson was still warm and had a pulse.”
Jackson’s family requested a private autopsy in part because of questions about Murray, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday. Murray also told the family an autopsy should be performed, Chernoff said.
Three days after the death of the King of Pop, celebrities descended on Los Angeles for a spectacular celebration of Jackson’s life at the annual BET awards show.
Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, walked on the red carpet wearing a black hat, sunglasses and a dark suit. He did not appear on stage during the show.
“I just wish he could be here to celebrate himself,” he said. “Sadly, he’s not here, so I’m here to celebrate for him.”
In a statement read at the show, Jackson’s parents said they solely had the personal and legal “authority for our son and his children.” It was their strongest declaration yet about their son’s affairs.
A tearful Janet Jackson appeared on stage in a white dress at the end of the BET awards. After a long pause to gather herself, she spoke haltingly but deliberately to the audience.
“I’d just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts,” she said.
People close to Michael Jackson have said since his death that they were concerned about his use of painkillers. Los Angeles County medical examiners completed their autopsy Friday and said Jackson had taken unspecified prescription medication.
Chernoff said any drugs the doctor gave Jackson were prescribed in response to a specific complaint from the entertainer.
“Dr. Murray has never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson,” Chernoff said. “Not ever. Not that day. … Not OxyContin (either) for that matter.”
Paramedics were called to the mansion while the doctor was performing CPR, according to a recording of the 911 call.
Because Jackson was so frail, Murray “administered with his hand behind his back to provide the necessary support,” Chernoff said. Some have speculated the doctor botched the CPR. “He’s a trained doctor,” Chernoff said. “He knows how to administer CPR.”
Medics spent three-quarters of an hour trying to revive Jackson. He was pronounced dead later at UCLA Medical Center.
Murray was interviewed by investigators for three hours Saturday. His spokeswoman called Murray “a witness to this tragedy,” not a suspect in the death, and police described the doctor as cooperative.