Tape of Jackson doctor’s police interview played

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death tells police detectives in an audio recording that he was treating the singer for sleep problems.

Dr. Conrad Murray tells detectives that the pop superstar was “not able to sleep naturally.” Jurors are listening to the recording on the ninth day of Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial.

Murray is heard telling the police that he stayed at Jackson’s home every night except for Sundays. He also details actions after the singer returned home from rehearsal for his comeback concerts.

Murray told the detectives that he rubbed skin cream on the singer’s back and then gave him a small dose of the sedative lorazepam. The singer remained awake.

Murray then says he gave Jackson another sedative, Versed, but the singer was wide awake.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Jurors who have sat facing Dr. Conrad Murray for two weeks heard his voice for the first time Friday on a recorded interview he had with detectives two days after his patient, Michael Jackson, died under his care.

The more-than two hour recording has never been played in public before.

It gave police their first hint that Jackson’s death was not from natural causes and that he had been given the powerful anesthetic propofol in an effort to cure his extreme insomnia.

Authorities claim Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of propofol and other sedatives while trying to help the singer. Defense attorneys say Jackson gave himself the lethal dose after Murray left the room.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license.

The interview on June 27, 2009, two days after Jackson’s death, begins with Los Angeles police Detective Scott Smith reassuring Murray and thanking him for his cooperation.

“The contents of this interview will never be released by us,” he is heard saying at the start.

After getting Murray to state his vital statistics, he tells the doctor: “I hope you understand that none of the circus going on has come from us.”

By then, rumors swirled in the media about Murray’s role in the singer’s death, a factor in his lawyers’ decision to allow his interview.

Murray, speaking in a calm, slightly accented voice, began by detailing his relationship with Jackson.

“I first started attending to him in 2006,” he said, recalling how a patient who worked security for Jackson referred the singer to his Las Vegas medical office.

Jackson and his three children visited Murray’s office because they were suffering from the flu. “They were coughing and dehydrated. They were not getting a lot of rest,” Murray said.

From then on, he said, he treated Jackson intermittently but assumed he had other doctors as well because “he moved around so much.”

Then, in the spring of 2009, he said, he received a call from Jackson’s assistant, Michael Amir Williams, who said Jackson was planning a concert in London and wanted Murray to go with him.

Murray said he would need more details.

“Then I got a call from Jackson telling me how elated he was that I was going to join the trip,” Murray said. He said there was no commitment yet, but indicated how impressed he was about the request.

Michael Jackson asked me to be on his team. I was talking to Michael Jackson himself,” Murray said.

Asked about the arrangements that were made, he said, “I was of the opinion he would be my employer directly.” He said he later learned that the promoter of Jackson’s concerts, AEG Live, would be paying his salary.

Testimony showed that Jackson had agreed to pay Murray $150,000 a month.

In his testimony preceding the tape, Smith said, the case had not been classified as a homicide before Murray talked and was being treated as a death investigation, possibly from natural causes.

During the interview, Murray detailed his treatments on Jackson in the hours before the singer’s death, including his administration of the anesthetic propofol.

The disclosure led police to search the singer’s bedroom and closet two days after the interview and turned up an IV bag, several drugs and creams to treat vitiligo and IV bottles of propofol.

The corner would later find that Jackson died of “acute propofol intoxication.”

Detectives wrote that Murray told them he only left Jackson alone for a couple minutes when he returned around 11 a.m. on June 25, 2009 to find the singer had stopped breathing.

Murray’s attorneys have disputed the police description of the timeline and say the doctor returned to find Jackson unresponsive around noon.

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AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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