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Doctor's lawyer: Jackson had faint pulse when discovered

Sunday, June 28, 2009 | 6:35 p.m. CDT

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 said Sunday.

Lawyer 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 said 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."

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. Medics spent three-quarters of an hour trying to revive Jackson. He was pronounced dead later at UCLA Medical Center.

People close to 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.

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.

Three days after the death of the King of Pop, celebrities descended on Los Angeles for what promised to be a spectacular celebration of Jackson's life at the annual BET awards show.

Media requests for the Sunday night show doubled following the death, and the red carpet was lengthened. It was not immediately clear whether any members of the Jackson family, who gathered at their Encino compound over the weekend, planned to take part.

Previously announced performers, including Beyonce and Ne-Yo, were working to overhaul performances they had planned for weeks so they could honor Jackson. Other stars tried to catch last-minute flights.

A private pathologist hired by the Jackson family completed a second, private autopsy Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the case.

A second autopsy can allow the family to get some information about a death almost immediately, including signs of heart, brain or lung disease or fresh needle punctures, said Dr. Michael Baden, a medical examiner not involved in the Jackson case.

"Usually if it looks normal with the naked eye, it looks normal under the microscope," said Baden, who recently performed a second autopsy on actor David Carradine.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said after visiting Michael Jackson's family that the family still had unanswered questions about how he died.

Los Angeles County coroner's officials said their autopsy found no indication of trauma or foul play. But because of additional tests, an official cause of death could take weeks to determine.

There was no word from the Jackson family on funeral plans. Many of Jackson's relatives have gathered at the family's Encino compound, caring there for Jackson's three children.

On Saturday, three of Jackson's brothers — Jackie, Jermaine and Tito — visited Jackson's Neverland Ranch where they walked the manicured grounds and reminisced about his life. It is not clear what will become of the ranch, which has been under renovations.

Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for the joint venture that owns the ranch and included Michael Jackson, said it was premature to discuss the future of Neverland. He said investor Thomas Barrack feels close to family members and wants to hear their thoughts on how best to honor Jackson's memory.

Blicksilver says Jackie, Jermaine and Tito Jackson were joined for lunch Saturday at the sprawling Santa Barbara County property by Barrack, who previously set up the joint venture with Michael Jackson after the singer nearly lost the ranch to foreclosure.

A White House adviser said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Barack Obama had written to the Jackson family to express his condolences.

In an interview that aired earlier Sunday, Jackson's father said he does not believe stress over the intense series of concerts Jackson planned for his comeback led to his death.

Joe Jackson also said he believes his son will be larger in death than he was in life. The patriarch of the Jackson 5 said he wished Michael Jackson were around to see the outpouring of affection since his death.

"Michael was the biggest superstar in the world and in history," Joe Jackson told Fox News Channel's "Geraldo at Large." ''He was loved by everybody, whether poor or wealthy or whatever may be."


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