Attorney Defends Michael Jackson's Doctor
No Demerol or Oxycontin given to the singer – but a valiant effort to save his life, says lawyer
After days of speculation about his role in the final hours and death of Michael Jackson, the superstar’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has spoken out through his lawyer.
Ed Chernoff, the doctor’s Houston-based attorney, tells PEOPLE his client valiantly tried to save the singer’s life – and never injected him with Demerol or prescribed OxyContin.
“If it turns out that Michael had OxyContin in his stomach, it had nothing to do with Dr. Murray,” says Chernoff.
On June 24, he says, his client was asked by Jackson to spend the night at the singer’s house following Jackson’s rehearsal for his new tour at the Staples Center. The next day, when Jackson did not emerge from his bedroom before noon, Murray entered the room and found the singer unconscious – but with a faint pulse.
“Dr. Murray began performing CPR for several minutes as he tried to revive him, unsuccessfully,” Chernoff tells PEOPLE.
Chernoff says Murray – who met Jackson in 2006 when he treated one of his children in Las Vegas and did not become the singer’s personal physician until May – tried to call 911, but because of security arrangements at the house, was unable to get a line out. Murray thought of using his cellphone, but realized he didn’t know the address of Jackson’s house, according to Chernoff. Instead, he screamed for help.
“With Michael still on the bed, he put one hand under Michael’s back for support and compressing with his other hand. He continued to check the pulse, and the pulse remained,” says Chernoff.
A Shot to the Heart
When nobody replied to his urgent cries for help, Murray located a chef in the kitchen. A member of Jackson’s security detail finally called for help.
After the ambulance arrived, says Chernoff, Murray spoke to doctors at UCLA, who instructed the paramedics to administer an epinephrine shot directly to Jackson’s heart in an attempt to revive him.
“Michael continued to have a pulse,” says Chernoff, even as he was taken out of the house and put in the ambulance for the trip to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:26 that afternoon.
Chernoff said that Murray consoled the family as they arrived in the hospital that afternoon, and advised them to have an autopsy done before they signed a death certificate. Later that day, Murray, who at that point was “emotionally and physically exhausted,” according to Chernoff, spoke to the police for more than three hours.
Then, on the advice of his lawyer, the doctor turned off his cellphone and avoided the press.
According to Chernoff, Murray gave up two cardiac practices, one in Las Vegas and the other in Houston, to attend to Jackson and accompany him to London for his series of summer concerts there.