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Driver: Documentary crew ‘owned’ Jackson doctor
Lecash wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported Perry’s account, that transportation and meal expenses were “legitimate location production costs.” A spokesman for October Films, which was working with Lecash on the project, declined further comment in an email
In the United States, networks and some tabloid outlets have long paid for images or other media that give them some access to newsmakers. ABC News paid $200,000 toward the defense of Casey Anthony, a Florida mother acquitted earlier this year of killing her daughter.
Bryce Nelson, a longtime journalist and professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, said that entertainment outlets that pay sources have put pressure on news divisions to also pay newsmakers.
“It is becoming more common, but that doesn’t mean it’s right,” Nelson said. “You shouldn’t buy news and that’s what MSNBC seems to be doing.”
He said in situations where money is paid toward getting access to those convicted of a crime could be seen as sanctioning the crime, or lead to other improper practices. “Where does this stop?” Nelson asked. “Do you give money to terrorists if they tell their story?”
Murray also grew to have misgivings about the documentary project, Perry said. He recalled the doctor telling him, “‘I can’t wait until this is over. I’m tired of having these people around all the time.’”
He said he was sometimes told to turn on the cameras in the van that ushered Murray, his family and others during lunch break throughout the trial. It was the one expense Perry says he can account for _ the van cost more than $3300 to rent for the duration of the trial.
The Houston-based cardiologist criticizes Jackson in the documentary, which aired in England with the title, “The Man Who Killed Michael Jackson.”
“I went there to take care of a healthy man, who said he was fine, to just keep surveillance in case my kids get sick or I get the flu, help us to choose right, better foods, and wash our hands so we don’t get infected,” Murray said in the film. “But once I got in there I was entrapped.”
Perry said he feels sorry for Murray.
“I feel very bad for him,” Perry said. “I think he was a good man that was preyed upon by people that felt his guard was down. I feel he was led to make some decisions that caused him to be where he is today.”
Murray faces up to four years behind bars when he is sentenced on Nov. 29. He also faces a litany of legal woes, including a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson’s father and the loss of his medical license in three states.
McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
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