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Culture

Second autopsy ordered, doctor still being questioned

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-01

With the cause of Michael Jackson’s death still shrouded in mystery, Los Angeles police have again questioned the late star's personal physician as a second autopsy ordered by the Jackson family was completed, according to US media reports.

Reuters - Both Michael Jackson's family and his personal physician were at pains to explain on Sunday what caused the troubled pop star's sudden death weeks before his long-awaited comeback.

 

Dr. Conrad Murray, who was at Jackson's side when he died, told police he did not inject the singer with painkillers before his fatal cardiac arrest on Thursday, his lawyer said on Sunday after reports he received a shot of narcotic Demerol.

 

When asked at Sunday's BET Awards about the care his son received from doctors in his last moments, Jackson's father, Joe, said, "I have a lot of concerns. ... I can't get into that, but I don't like what happened."

 

He said funeral arrangements for the King of Pop were still being discussed. A family friend said services could take place on Wednesday and the body could be buried at Jackson's famous Neverland Ranch.

 

Tension over the mysterious death came to the surface at the BET Awards, modified at the last minute as a tribute to Jackson's musical genius. Some stars bristled over coverage of Jackson's downward spiral during the last decade, filled with accusations of child molestation and bizarre behavior.

 

"He is one of our heroes," said rap artist and music impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs. "As African Americans, we are not going to let everybody beat him up."

 
 

Jackson, 50, was weeks away from an anticipated comeback with a series of 50 concerts in London. He rehearsed regularly up to the night before his death.

 

Concerns about his health had been rampant during his 2005 trial in California on charges of child sex abuse, of which he was acquitted. Last year, he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair.

 
'BARELY ATE, DRANK'
 

Promoter AEG Live said Jackson had passed a four-hour medical exam earlier this year.

 

Murray -- a cardiologist hired ahead of the concerts and paid by AEG, according to his lawyer -- was surprised to find Jackson unconscious and not breathing in his rented chateau in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood.

 

"He barely ate, he barely drank. But (there was) nothing which would lead the doctor to believe that he had any possible problems that would cause sudden death," said Edward Chernoff, the attorney who accompanied Murray during three hours of police questioning on Saturday.

 

Los Angeles police said after questioning Murray that they do not consider him a suspect. Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times the meeting revealed "no red flag" of criminal activity.

 

The Jackson family holed up in their L.A. compound making plans for a funeral that could take place on Wednesday, possibly at the Neverland estate in central California, family friend Stacy Brown said.

 

Brown told Reuters that a family source said Jackson had received an injection of the narcotic painkiller Demerol shortly before paramedics were called to the mansion.

 

 

"They have been concerned about his addiction to medicines for years," said Brown, who co-wrote the book "Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask."

 

"It's been no family secret that they've been trying to get him help for his addiction," Brown said.

 

The family arranged for a second, private autopsy on Saturday after the Los Angeles coroner said it would need four to six more weeks to determine the exact cause of death.

 

Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader who was with the Jackson family last week, echoed Joe Jackson's doubts about what transpired in his son's final hours.

 

"There is a concern about what happened the last 12 hours of Michael's life," Jackson told People magazine. "The doctor has shown some bizarre behavior."

 

Jackson is survived by three children aged 12, 11 and 7, the first two from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe and and the last from an unidentified surrogate mother.

 

Addressing speculation of a custody battle over the children, Joe Jackson said in a statement from the BET red carpet that only he and wife Katherine "have authority for our son and his children."

 

Date created : 2009-06-28