- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2009

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 told the Associated Press on Sunday.

Lawyer Edward Chernoff also said Dr. Conrad Murray never prescribed or gave Mr. Jackson the drugs Demerol or OxyContin. He denied reports suggesting Dr. Murray gave Mr. Jackson drugs that contributed to his death.

Mr. Chernoff told the AP that Dr. Murray was at the pop icon’s rented mansion Thursday afternoon when he discovered Mr. Jackson in bed and not breathing. The doctor immediately began administering CPR, Mr. 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.”

Mr. Chernoff said any drugs the doctor gave Mr. Jackson were prescribed in response to a specific complaint from the entertainer.

“Dr. Murray has never prescribed nor administered Demerol to Michael Jackson,” Mr. 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 Mr. Jackson. He was pronounced dead later at UCLA Medical Center.

People close to Mr. 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 Mr. Jackson had taken unspecified prescription medication.

Dr. Murray was interviewed by investigators for three hours Saturday. His spokeswoman called Dr. 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 a spectacular celebration of Mr. Jackson’s life at the annual BET awards show.

Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, walked on the red carpet wearing a black hat, sunglasses and a dark suit. He planned to make an onstage appearance, show publicist Bobbi Marcus said.

“I just wish he could be here to celebrate himself,” Joe Jackson said. “Sadly, he’s not here, so I’m here to celebrate for him.”

In a statement read at the show, the late entertainer’s parents said they solely had the personal and legal “authority for our son and his children.” It was their strongest declaration yet about their son’s affairs.

Previously announced performers including Beyonce and Ne-Yo were working to overhaul performances they had planned for weeks so they could honor Mr. 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 a 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.

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

On Saturday, three of Mr. Jackson’s brothers - Jackie, Jermaine and Tito - walked the manicured grounds at Mr. Jackson’s Neverland Ranch 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 Mr. Jackson’s memory.

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