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29 November 2023

Give me drugs or I'll cancel tour: Jackson

Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, leaves court after a hearing for Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, Thursday January 6, 2011 in Los Angeles (AP)

By Staff and Agencies

Michael Jackson told his doctor on the day he died he would have to cancel his comeback tour in London unless he received a dose of his "milk" – the powerful anaesthetic Propofol, a senior officer has said.

Orlando Martinez, the lead detective in the case against Conrad Murray, said the doctor relented, and gave him a dose of Propofol after a night of administering lesser drugs, Sky News reported.

Prosecutors said the combination of drugs was lethal and filed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray, who has already pleaded not guilty.

A court hearing is now under way to determine whether or not Murray should go on trial.

Martinez, who interviewed Murray two days after Jackson’s death, said he noticed the singer stopped breathing earlier than prosecutors contend, raising a question of how closely the physician monitored Jackson after giving him the key drug that caused his death.

He said the King Of Pop lay dying while Murray administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation – but did not initially call an ambulance.

Prosecutors claim Dr Conrad Murray was negligent in his care for the "Thriller" singer and on the day he died, Murray spent time covering up evidence of mistreatment instead of seeking help from paramedics after he discovered Jackson had stopped breathing.

Previously, prosecutors said that judging by phone records, as much as 20 minutes may have passed, but Monday a detective who questioned Murray two days after Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, offered times suggesting more than an hour elapsed.

Martinez testified that Murray admitted giving Jackson Propofol – the key drug responsible for his death – between 10.40am and 10.50am.

Murray told Martinez Jackson fell asleep around 11am and that after monitoring him for a time, the doctor went to the bathroom and came back to see he was no longer breathing.

"According to Dr. Murray, is this sometime shortly after 11am in the morning?," Deputy District Attorney David Walgren asked Martinez.

"Yes," the detective said.
Phone company officials and another detective testified last week that Murray was on a series of calls for business and personal reasons from 11.07am until noon. Prosecutors say phone records show paramedics were not called until 12.21pm.

Martinez said Murray told him he had been giving Jackson doses of Propofol six nights a week for two months. But he said he had been trying to wean him off the drug after becoming afraid his patient was becoming addicted.

The detective said Jackson came home from rehearsal at about 1am on June 25, 2009, showered and got into bed. Murray then began a night of continuous efforts to get the star to sleep.

He told police he gave him the sedatives Lorazepam and Midazolam intravenously and supplied a Valium pill - but nothing seemed to work.

At roughly 3.40am he said Jackson complained that if he did not get some sleep he would have to cancel his much-anticipated This Is It tour - a planned series of 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Following the preliminary hearing, which could end as soon as this week, a judge will determine if enough evidence exists for Murray to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.

In other testimony Monday, pharmacist Tim Lopez said that through his business Applied Pharmacy Services, he sold Murray more than 250 vials of propofol between April and June 2009.

He also said he sold Murray exactly 20 vials of the sedative lorazepam which was also in Jackson's system and contributed to his death, according to coroners.