Tape of Jackson doctor's police interview played

LOS ANGELES (AP) - October 7, 2011

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.


AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

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