Prince's Doctor Never Prescribed the Star Opioids Under a False Name, His Lawyer Claims
A lawyer for Dr. Michael Schulenberg claims her client "never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince"
A lawyer for Dr. Michael Schulenberg says that despite what recently unsealed court documents claim, her client “never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince.”
The legendary musician, who died of an opioid overdose on April 21 of last year, was back in the headlines Monday after recently unsealed court documents provided more clues about the circumstances surrounding his death.
According to a search warrant application submitted in September of last year, the Minnesota physician admitted to a Carver County Sheriff’s detective “that he had prescribed Prince a prescription for oxycodone the same day as the emergency plane landing but put the prescription in Kirk Johnson’s name for Prince’s privacy.”
Johnson is a close confidante and aide who started working for Prince in the ’80s. The emergency landing happened a week before Prince’s death, when his private plane was diverted to Moline, Illinois, after the singer was “unresponsive,” and emergency crews reportedly administered a Narcan “save shot” to the singer.
Amy Conners, a lawyer for Schulenberg, issued a statement on behalf of the doctor that was obtained by PEOPLE.
“Dr. Schulenberg has been and remains committed to providing full transparency regarding his practice as it relates to the Prince investigation. Dr. Schulenberg has previously disclosed all information regarding his care and treatment of Prince to his former employer, law enforcement authorities and regulatory authorities in the course of his complete cooperation with the investigation of Prince’s death. There are no restrictions on Dr. Schulenberg’s medical license, and contrary to headlines and media reports published in the wake of [Monday]’s unsealing of search warrants relating to the investigation, Dr. Schulenberg never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince.”
Additional unsealed court documents claim Johnson was known to contact Schulenberg regarding “hip pain.”
“Dr. Schulenberg met with Prince and prescribed him Clonidine, Hydroxyzine Pamoate and Diazepam. On 4/20/2016, Johnson went to Walgreen’s in Minnetonka … and picked up Prince’s prescription medication. Johnson told Investigators this was the first time he had ever done something like that for Prince,” one document states.
Johnson said he was unaware the singer was addicted to pain medication, according to the documents. Witnesses, however, told authorities that Prince had recently been going through withdrawals from pain medication.
Johnson’s lawyer, F. Clayton Tyler, denied that Johnson played any role in actually procuring the opioids. “After reviewing the search warrants and affidavits released today, we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE.
WATCH: Prince’s Doctor Admitted He Prescribed Star Opioids Under False Name, Newly Released Documents Reveal
Elizabeth Huntley, complaint review unit supervisor for the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, confirms to PEOPLE that Schulenberg has not received any disciplinary action from the organization, but per their policy they cannot comment on whether the doctor is currently under review or whether any complaints have been received against him.
Without commenting on this case directly, Huntley also confirms that state law prohibits doctors from prescribing drugs intended for one person under another’s name.
The unsealed court documents also revealed that investigators discovered a number of prescription drugs hidden away inside Prince’s famed Paisley Park compound, including within a suitcase with a name tag labeled “Peter Bravestrong” — a name multiple witnesses said was an alias used by the star. Inside the suitcase investigators say they found several prescription bottles in the name of Kirk Johnson, as well as lyrics to a song titled “U Got the Look,” which appear to be in Prince’s handwriting.
In addition to the medication found in the suitcase, investigators also discovered opioids in multiple areas of Paisley Park and stored in containers other than pill vials, including vitamin bottles.