1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Witnesses recall Michael Jackson’s final hours

  1. Closed captioning of: Witnesses recall Michael Jackson’s final hours

    >> it was another day of powerful testimony at the trial of michael jackson 's doctor on wednesday as new details emerged about the singer's final moments with nbc's jeff rossen in los angeles with more on this, jeff, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning to you from los angeles . it's all coming out now, all the things michael jackson never wanted to get out, all the things he spent his entire life to keep private, how he lived behind closed doors . no question about it, the most emotional testimony yet of this trial, and it's only day two so far, came from michael 's body guard who described the scene as michael died inside his bedroom and how his kids were right there watching and crying. in the weeks after michael jackson 's death, she was the beacon of strength.

    >> daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.

    >> reporter: now we're learning just how brave paris jackson was. in court wednesday, excruciating detail from michael 's bodyguard, what the kids saw standing outside their dad's bedroom as michael lay motionless.

    >> paris was on the ground bound up crying and prince was just -- he was standing there and he was just -- he just had a real shocked, you know, just slowly crying type of look on his face.

    >> paris was actually on the floor?

    >> yes.

    >> that's powerful testimony.

    >> the prosecution has a challenge in creating emotion in this case. no better way to do it than bring in the children and take away the propofol and medical testimony and make it about kids and the loss of their father.

    >> reporter: in court wednesday prosecutors revealed the chaotic minutes after michael stopped breathing, saying dr. murray didn't call 911. instead, he left this voicemail for michael 's personal assistant .

    >> it's dr. murray . please call me right away. thank you.

    >> he said mr. jackson had a bad reaction. i don't know what you presume when you hear that but when i hear someone had a bad reaction i don't think anything fatal, me, personally, and i --

    >> reporter: now the legal team is mounting an aggressive defense pointing the finger at another doctor whom they claim was also medicating jackson with demerol .

    >> he's the greatest entertainer in the world.

    >> reporter: the defense pointed back to that recording of jackson sounding incoherent just weeks before his death.

    >> i've never seen nothing like this in my life. go. go.

    >> when you left dr. klein 's office have you observed him sometimes to talk slow?

    >> sometimes when we'd leave he would talk slow like that.

    >> reporter: dr. klein , who has denied doing anything wrong in treating jackson , has not been charged with any crime. how many hours a day you working on this case?

    >> every hour that i'm not sleeping i'm working on this case.

    >> reporter: charles unger is on conrad murray 's defense team and sat down for an exclusive interview. a lot of people heard that audiotape and said what doctor in his right mind would continue to medicate somebody in this kind of condition?

    >> dr. murray 's goal was to get him off it. you have these competing medications, demerol by day which is keeping him up and then propofol and lorazepam by night, which is putting him to sleep. that's a tough way to live.

    >> that's how michael jackson was living.

    >> it really was.

    >> reporter: he says michael jackson was $400 million in debt. and needed this comeback tour. but without sleep he couldn't rehearse, putting the entire show in jeopardy.

    >> he was apparently willing to do whatever he needed to do to find rest.

    >> reporter: and your contention is he would have done anything including giving himself propofol and lorazepam.

    >> without a doubt. and that combination is why michael jackson is not here today.

    >> reporter: once again, michael jackson 's family, including his mother in court yesterday, expected in court every single day to hear it all. on the stand today another big day of testimony. four different witnesses, ann, including michael jackson 's personal chef , the body guard who actually called 911 and is on those tapes, and the two paramedics who responded to the scene that day.

    >> all right. jeff rossen , thank you so much. savannah guthrie is today's legal correspondent and star jones is a former prosecutor and veteran legal commentator. good morning to both of you good morning.

    >> the prosecution is clearly trying to establish that the loss of michael jackson was not just the loss of an entertainer. he is trying to create this kind of compassion.

    >> i think when you have that testimony from the body guard who saw paris crumpled in a ball as her father lay dying if not already dead on the bed and you have the older son looking in kind of this stunned silence, it does create a very sympathetic view of the events here. as we talked about yesterday, michael jackson has a lot of baggage and people, you know, they have to remember this is a real person that died.

    >> but he is a dead father right now.

    >> yes.

    >> in the eyes of the jury.

    >> the children humanize him.

    >> it's been effective that way but at the same time the prosecution is also trying to establish that dr. murray was reckless and negligent. michael 's personal assistant testifying dr. murray never even actually called 911. this has got to be a very damning bit of evidence.

    >> they are, the prosecution is very skillfully building a block -- almost like legos of levels of gross negligence and at any given moment you can find any one element of gross negligence from not calling 911 to leaving a patient unmonitored to not having the monitoring equipment to not having life saving equipment to asking someone else do you know how to do cpr. every single step, even goes back to ordering the propofol to his girlfriend's house not to an authorized clinic. you've got gross negligence every which way you turn.

    >> what is interesting about it, though, star is right. the prosecutor is building this piece by piece . on any given piece of evidence the defense may have what they consider to be a legitimate explanation. for example the doctor could say i didn't call 911, you know, i was trying to attend to his care. i was trying to take care of him. there's always a legitimate explanation but when you add it all together, you add up the prosecution's pieces of evidence that's where you get a more compelling story of guilt.

    >> what about if you add up all together how many drugs michael jackson we're now hearing was taking? we just heard from this member of the defense team and the argument is going to be in court that jackson was taking demerol to be up and propofol to be down as well as his other drug called lorazepam to sleep. so what seems to be happening here is the defense is painting a picture of an addict, and that -- could that be effective? it sounds like it could be.

    >> i think the defense is going to make a very good case for michael jackson was a working, functioning addict the day before he died. but the interesting thing is going to be the toxicology shows very clearly what was in his body at the time of the death and what caused his death. and that's why dr. murray is the only doctor that is on trial right now. no matter what dr. klein gave him in the days or weeks before months before, if that was not what killed him, that's not relevant. that's why he's not testifying.

    >> it may well establish that michael jackson was an addict but that doesn't necessarily absolve conrad murray of the duty of care he owed to michael jackson and that is the crux of the issue.

    >> to be continued. thank you

Text: We're sorry. The text content of this page is no longer available.

Photos: Michael Jackson death trial

loading photos...
  1. Making a statement

    Fans show off T-shirts emblazoned with "Thriller Killer" before the sentencing hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray on Nov. 29, 2011. Murray was sentenced to four years behind bars after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his patient, Michael Jackson, on June 25, 2009. (Jason Redmond / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Remembering Michael

    A Michael Jackson fan carries a placard outside the Los Angeles courthouse where the sentencing of Dr. Conrad Murray took place. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Cheering for Michael

    Michael Jackson fans react to the guilty verdict in the Dr. Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Delight at the Apollo

    Jackson fans outside the Apollo theatre in the Harlem section of New York react to the reading of the verdict in Murray's trial in Los Angeles. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Ready for the verdict

    Jackson's parents Joe and Katherine Jackson arrive at the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building in downtown Los Angeles to hear the verdict in the case involving their son's death. (Nick Ut / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Her verdict is already in

    A fan of Jackson holds a sign outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during the first day of jury deliberations on Friday, Nov. 4. (Toby Canham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. LaToya's arrival

    LaToya Jackson arrives with Rick and Kathy Hilton, the parents of Paris Hilton, rear, for the reading of the verdict in Murray's trial in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 7. (Jason Redmond / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. King of Pop's court

    Fans mingle outisde the Los Angeles Criminal Courts buillding on Friday, Nov. 4. (Toby Canham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Caped crusader

    Michael Jackson supporter Jetset Hudson stands outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during Dr. Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Her faces of death

    A woman holds placards outside the courthouse ahead of the third day of the trial of Murray on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Sky high message

    An airplane tows a banner over the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Judging him to a tee

    A demonstrator stands outside the courthouse during the opening day of Murray's trial in the death of Jackson in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The trial is attracting the usual media and fan spectacle associated with high-profile court proceedings in L.A. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The star's parents

    Jackson's parents, Katherine Jackson, left, and Joe Jackson, right rear, arrive at the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building to hear opening statements on Monday, Sept. 27. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. No sunny disposition

    Michael's sister La Toya Jackson leaves the courthouse on Monday, Sept. 27. "Michael was murdered, and although he died at the hands of Dr. Conrad Murray, I believe Dr. Murray was a part of a much larger plan," La Toya has said. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Missing Michael

    Jackson fan Bristre Clayton of Las Vegas stands outside court during the trial of Murray. The doctor has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted. (Jason Redmond / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. For his brother

    Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson arrives at the courthouse in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Sept. 27. "I just feel like it took so long to arrest this guy," Jermaine complained last year about the legal action against Conrad Murray. (Jason Redmond / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Lasting impression

    A demonstrator with tattoos of Jackson stands outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building during the opening day of Murray's trial. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. In the doctor's corner

    Beatrice Fakhrain, left, and Michelle Shaw read bible verses during the opening day of Murray's trial. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Tough day in court

    Michael's sister and brother -- Janet and Randy Jackson -- leave the courthouse on Monday, Sept. 27. When asked this past February on TODAY if she still believed Murray was culpable, Janet replied, "Mmm-hmm. And that's all I'm going to say. I do. I really do." (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Seeking justice

    Jackson supporters hold signs outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building on Monday, Sept. 27. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. No replacing Michael

    A fan dressed as the King of Pop makes a peace sign outside the Los Angeles Criminal Courts building where the trial of Murray is expected to last five weeks. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image: Fans show off their t-shirts before the sentencing hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray in Los Angeles
    Jason Redmond / Reuters
    Above: Slideshow (21) Michael Jackson doctor trial
  2. Michael Jackson in a Butterfly Collar Shirt
    Henry Diltz / Corbis
    Slideshow (33) Michael Jackson’s life and career

More on TODAY.com

  1. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

    Party on, TODAY! See ‘Saturday Night Live’ costumes for Halloween 2014

    10/31/2014 12:15:55 PM +00:00 2014-10-31T12:15:55
  1. Courtesy of Arti Ghole

    These babies in Halloween costumes will brighten your day

    10/31/2014 4:57:53 PM +00:00 2014-10-31T16:57:53
  1. @instagranph via Instagram

    Super, again: Neil Patrick Harris, Gotham family do Halloween right

    10/31/2014 10:18:06 PM +00:00 2014-10-31T22:18:06
  1. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

    Treat yourself: Steal the White House's Halloween cookie recipe

    10/31/2014 9:42:26 PM +00:00 2014-10-31T21:42:26