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Allegations against Jackson's doctor baseless, says lawyer

entertainment Updated: Aug 26, 2009 10:28 IST
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A lawyer for Michael Jackson's doctor said Tuesday that allegations that the physician administered a deadly cocktail of drugs to the singer in the hours before he died were an unsubstantiated "police theory".

Attorney Edward Chernoff released the statement a day after officials revealed new details about the cause of Jackson's death, which were contained in a police affidavit used for a search warrant for Dr Conrad Murray's office in Houston, Texas.

The warrant revealed that coroner's office investigators found lethal levels of the fast-acting, powerful anesthetic propofol in Jackson's body at the time of his death. It also said that Murray told investigators he had given the singer a combination of sedatives in the hours before his death June 25, topped by a dose of propofol.

"Much of what was in the search warrant affidavit is factual," Chernoff said. "However, unfortunately, much is police theory. Most egregiously, the timeline reported by law enforcement was not obtained through interviews with Murray, as was implied by the affidavit."

The coroner's office has completed its investigation, but is withholding the results pending the completion of the police probe into the 50-year-old singer's death.

The affidavit contained the first official details of the coroner's report.

"The Los Angeles chief medical examiner-coroner, Sathyavagiswaran, indicated that he had reviewed the preliminary toxicology results, and his preliminary assessment of Jackson's cause of death was due to lethal levels of propofol (diprivan)," according to the search warrant affidavit released by the Harris Country District clerk.

The search warrant quoted Murray as saying that he had treated Jackson for insomnia for six months using propofol, regularly giving him 50 milligrams of the drug via an intravenous feed. Murray claimed that he had been trying to wean the pop star off the powerful drug, and on the day he died Jackson only received a 25-milligram dose.

The warrant exposed a potent drug cocktail that Murray had administered to Jackson in the hours before his death, including valium and other sedatives including lorazepam and midazolam and ofmidazolan. When none of these helped Jackson sleep, the doctor gave him the propofol diluted with painkiller lidocaine.

Murray told investigators he left the room for 10 minutes to use the bathroom, and when he returned Jackson was not breathing, the warrant said.

Chernoff denied the assertion: "Murray simply never told investigators that he found Michael Jackson at 11.00 a.m. not breathing."

"He also never said that he waited a mere 10 minutes before leaving to make several phone calls. In fact, Murray never said that he left Michael Jackson's room to make phone calls at all."

Propofol is usually used only as a hospital anaesthetic, and the discovery of lethal levels in Jackson's system is likely to increase speculation that Murray will face manslaughter charges over the pop star's death.

Murray's records did not reveal any prescription for propofol, and it is unclear where Jackson obtained the drug, the affidavit said. Murray was quoted as telling investigators that Jackson had been treated with propofol by two doctors in Germany.