On the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, the lawyer for the man charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case, Dr. Conrad Murray, is revealing part of the defense’s shocking strategy. In a new interview with CNN, attorney Ed Chernoff insists Jackson or a third party administered the fatal dose of powerful sedative Propofol to the King of Pop — not Murray. “There is no way that Dr. Murray pumped Michael Jackson full of Propofol sufficient for major surgery,” Chernoff said. “No way. I would stake anything that I own on this fact.” Jackson’s cause of death was ruled a homicide from “acute Propofol intoxication” and a cocktail of other sedatives. Murray pleaded not guilty to the charges; his trial is expected to begin in the fall.
Chernoff says Jackson’s death “was a mystery a year ago, and still is,” even though an anesthesia expert told the coroner it would have been “difficult… given the configuration of the IV set-up” for Jackson to administer the fatal dose to himself. “But is it possible? Absolutely, it’s possible,” Chernoff argued. He added that when Murray agreed to leave his practice to become Jackson’s personal physician for $150,000 a month, Murray didn’t know that the singer was already addicted to Propofol. Chernoff says Murray only administered Propofol, in diminishing amounts, in an attempt to wean Jackson off the drug, which Jackson called his “milk.” “[Murray] wanted to help him do that,” Chernoff said. “Who else is addicted to a drug like Propofol?”
Phone records from June 25th, 2009 show that Murray made three calls totaling 47 minutes prior to finding Jackson unresponsive, but Murray claims he only left the room for “two minutes maximum.” It’s in those two minutes Murray’s lawyer claims that Jackson either woke up and, frustrated that the drug hadn’t taken hold, administered the fatal dose, or that someone else entered the room and administered more Propofol while Murray was absent. “Whatever the doctor did for Michael Jackson, whatever he did, was to help, and he took the necessary precautions and then something happened that is unexplainable,” Chernoff said.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, Jackson bodyguard Alberto Alvarez, who was at Jackson’s complex the night of his death, claims that Murray actually halted resuscitation attempts on Jackson to hide medical evidence, including vials of Propofol and tubes of skin-whitening cream. Murray admitted to investigators he waited 20 to 30 minutes to call paramedics after finding Jackson unresponsive as he attempted CPR on the singer.
Murray’s misuse of Propofol has led to several attempts by the California Attorney General and medical board to have his license revoked, but the judge overseeing Murray’s case has twice denied that request. In Nevada, where Murray has a practice in Las Vegas, the doctor’s medical license was also in jeopardy of being suspended after Murray failed to make good on his child support payments. However, the AP reports that a payment has been made and Murray will keep his medical license. Murray has argued to medical boards in California, Nevada and Texas that any revocations of his medical license would prevent him from affording his defense team in his involuntary manslaughter trial. While Murray has managed to keep his license in all three states, they all demand that Murray no longer administer anesthesia to his patients.