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Video: Slurring Michael Jackson tapes played at Murray’s trial

  1. Transcript of: Slurring Michael Jackson tapes played at Murray’s trial

    MATT LAUER, co-host: Back at 8:10 now with the latest from the trial of Michael Jackson 's doctor. On Wednesday, prosecutors played more the -- of a recording of the singer himself made by Dr. Conrad Murray just before his death. NBC 's Jeff Rossen is in Los Angeles with details. Jeff , good morning to you.

    JEFF ROSSEN reporting: Hey, Matt. Good morning to you. We've been talking a lot this morning about the impact of Steve Jobs on this world, and his innovation the iPhone has actually had a big impact on the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray . You see, there's an app on the iPhone called iTalk. It basically turns the iPhone into a digital voice recorder. And prosecutors say for some reason Dr. Conrad Murray taped Michael Jackson on the iPhone just weeks before his death. Michael sounds drugged-up, his voice is very deep, he's barely making any sense, and he opens up about his childhood.

    ROSSEN: The prodigy was in pain singing with the Jackson 5 and decades later...

    ROSSEN: ...a confession from Michael Jackson the man, recorded at his bedside by Dr. Conrad Murray .

    Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON: I didn't have a childhood. I had no childhood. " Heal the World ," " We Are the World ," " Will You Be There ?", " The Lost Children ." These are the songs I've written because I hurt, you know? I hurt.

    ROSSEN: Michael 's voice from the grave played for the jury as Dr. Conrad Murray listened on. The mumbled ramblings, prosecutors say, of a sedated pop star just six weeks before his death. Michael seemed focused...

    Mr. JACKSON: When that door opens, you start that piano.

    ROSSEN: ...on his upcoming tour...

    Mr. JACKSON: Elvis didn't do it. Beatles didn't do it. We have to be phenomenal.

    ROSSEN: ...and he kept talking about raising money for sick children.

    Mr. JACKSON: They're sick because they're depressed. Their mind is depressing them. I want to give them that. I care about them, them angels. God wants me to do it. God wants me to do it. I'm going to do it, Conrad .

    Dr. CONRAD MURRAY: I know you would.

    Ms. RAYMONE BAIN (Michael Jackson's Former Manager): It was extremely heartbreaking. Michael Jackson loved the life. He was vibrant. And just to reflect on the Michael Jackson whom I knew and the one that was reduced to that tape, it was extremely heartbreaking for me.

    ROSSEN: In court Wednesday, prosecutors showed still photos of drugs in Michael 's bedroom, including this empty bottle of propofol under his nightstand.

    Offscreen Voice #1: This is the item then that was recovered from the floor?

    Offscreen Voice #2: Yes, it is.

    ROSSEN: Then the prosecutor got theatrical, laying out bottle after bottle on courtroom table, trying to convince the jury Dr. Murray didn't know when to stop, creating a mini pharmacy in Michael 's mansion.

    Ms. ROBIN SAX (Former Los Angeles Prosecutor): A trial about medication and prescription is normally very, very boring and dry stuff. The prosecution was brilliant in piling that on the desks and playing the tape all in one day in order to create a memorable scene for the jury.

    ROSSEN: And it is the garbled voice of Michael Jackson , his final words on the tape, that may haunt the jury.

    Dr. MURRAY: You OK?

    Mr. JACKSON: I am asleep.

    ROSSEN: It is chilling to hear that tape. And by the way, there's another audiotape out there that could make some news this week, Dr. Conrad Murray in his own words. Matt , prosecutors plan to play his police interrogation for the jury sometime this week and use his own words against him.

    LAUER: All right, Jeff Rossen in Los Angeles . Jeff , thank you very much . Savannah is back now in her loll-in her role as TODAY's legal correspondent. Star Jones is a former prosecutor and legal commentator. Ladies , good morning to you. Take the hats off that you normally wear, become jurors right now.

    Ms. STAR JONES (Attorney and Former Prosecutor): Hm.

    LAUER: You're sitting in that jury box , you're listening to that audiotape. You heard a snippet of it on opening day . You -- now you've heard the whole thing. The sound of his voice, the slurred words, incoherent. What impact does it have?

    SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, anchor: I think my takeaway as a juror would be, 'This is an incredibly tragic and sympathetic figure. I feel sorry for Michael Jackson when I hear this tape.'

    Ms. JONES: I'm sad.

    GUTHRIE: And then you have to think about who in that scenario was in a position of power. It's Dr. Conrad Murray . He was supposed to be taking care of this person. Jackson kind of comes across as a victim. So to buy the defense theory that Jackson actually was the sneaky drug addict who, while lying in bed, as soon as Murray was out of the room, dosed himself with lorazepam and propofol, when you hear that tape you think, 'Could that guy have pulled that off?'

    LAUER: You feel the same thing, Star ?

    Ms. JONES: I felt sad when I heard him start to talk about his childhood. It actually made sense to me why his mother may have taken this week to be away from the trial so that she wouldn't have to hear her dead son talk about how tragic his childhood was and how much he hurt. I think a juror is going to be sitting there thinking to himself -- to themselves, 'Why would you continue to give this obviously in pain man drugs ?'

    LAUER: I think it might even be worse than that. Why wouldn't you at that moment rush this guy to a hospital? Why wouldn't you get him in rehab? Why wouldn't -- you know, you can't...

    Ms. JONES: You can't wean somebody off of drugs that intense.

    LAUER: Right.

    GUTHRIE: And instead, the prosecutors are saying, two days later he's stockpiling more of this propofol, this powerful drug that ultimately caused his death.

    LAUER: So does the defense have to put forward, Star or Savannah , a concrete reason as to why Conrad Murray recorded this conversation?

    GUTHRIE: I think so. To me it's the elephant in the room . From the moment I heard that tape in opening statements I immediately thought, 'Why is this doctor recording this in this setting on a Sunday morning? What possible innocent explanation might there be?'

    LAUER: A trial lawyer told me one time that words are powerful but an image is even more powerful. What about that image of those medicine bottles and those IV bags laid out on that table?

    Ms. JONES: We're taught to do that in a courtroom throughout, you know, being a prosecutor. When you can show a jury what you're talking about in terms of how much drugs , the type of drugs , the variety of drugs , there is no better impact on a jury's psyche.

    GUTHRIE: A powerful image, especially when contrasted with the defense theory that Conrad Murray was actually trying to wean off Michael Jackson from drugs . They'll argue that, but jurors will remember that picture.

    LAUER: Savannah Guthrie and Star Jones . Ladies , good to see you, as always.

IMAGE: Dr. Conrad Murray
Mario Anzuoni  /  AP file
Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death.
updated 10/6/2011 9:35:30 AM ET 2011-10-06T13:35:30

Six weeks before Michael Jackson died, his doctor recorded the semi-comatose superstar mumbling what might have been his farewell address to the world.

In a slow, slurred voice, clearly under the influence of sedatives, Jackson spoke about leaving a performance legacy bigger than Elvis or The Beatles, and building a fabulous hospital for children with proceeds from his highly anticipated "This Is It" comeback concerts.

Video: Semi-comatose Jackson heard on tape (on this page)

"Elvis didn't do it. Beatles didn't do it. We have to be phenomenal." Jackson is heard saying on the tape.

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Jackson, known for donating huge amounts to children's charities, said his vision was driven by his love of children. In his ramblings, he envisioned the hospital would be big enough to house a million children, with a movie theater and game room.

"That will be remembered more than my performances," he says. "My performance will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn't have a childhood ... I feel their pain. I feel their hurt. I can deal with it."

The full tape of the May 10, 2009, ramblings by Jackson was played for the first time Wednesday during the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. A portion of the recording was played last week during the prosecution's opening statement.

Video: Michael Jackson on tape: 'I am asleep' (on this page)

The more than four-minute audio recording was found on Murray's cell phone by forensic digital expert Stephen Marx. There was no indication why Murray made the recording.

With Murray murmuring agreement, Jackson referred to the children of the world as "angels" and said, "God wants me to do it. I'm gonna do it, Conrad."

Murray replied, "I know you would."

And, as he had done long ago with his Neverland ranch, he spoke of a place to raise children's spirits. "They're sick because they're depressed," he said.

theGrio: Jackson doctor's trial brings back bad memories

The tape was played by prosecutors to show that Murray knew for weeks how Jackson was reacting to heavy sedatives the doctor was administering to help his patient sleep.

Toward the end of the recording, there is a period of silence before Murray asks, "You OK?"

Eight seconds pass then Jackson mumbles, "I am asleep."

Slideshow: Michael Jackson’s life and career (on this page)

Marx, an investigator with the Drug Enforcement Administration, testified Wednesday that he retrieved another recording from Murray's phone and other files that showed he was busy e-mailing, texting and handling messages about insurance for Jackson's concerts during the time the singer was believed to be under the influence of the powerful anesthetic propofol.

Authorities contend Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of the drug and other sedatives in Jackson's bedroom on June 25, 2009. Murray's attorneys say Jackson gave himself the fatal dose.

Prosecutors claim the doctor was too distracted to give his patient adequate care and allowed him to die on his watch.

Video: Dr. Drew: Propofol use on Jackson ‘bizarre’ (on this page)

Murray has pleaded not guilty. He could face up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

One voicemail message left for Murray came from Jackson's late manager, Frank Dileo.

"Dr. Murray, it's Frank Dileo," he was heard saying on the June 20, 2009, voicemail. "I'm Michael's manager. I'm the short guy with no hair.

Story: Jackson doctor trial focuses on propofol

"He had an episode last night. He's sick," Dileo says. "I think you need to get a blood test on him. We 've got to see what he's doing."

In the days ahead, the jury will hear from Murray himself, though it will be through a more than two-hour interview that police conducted with the doctor two days after Jackson's death.

The government's case against Murray so far has featured dramatic testimony about frantic efforts to revive Jackson.

Witnesses in the past two days included several of the doctor's mistresses and his current girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez, who prosecutors say received shipments of propofol at her apartment on Murray's behalf. She said she never knew what was being sent.

In later testimony, coroner's investigator Elissa Fleak described what she found in Jackson's bedroom hours after the singer's death. The items included prescription medications and a single vial of propofol discovered by the singer's bedside.

Four days later, Fleak and investigators returned to Jackson's home and recovered several bags from his closet that contained other bottles of propofol, including one that had been placed inside an IV bag.

Authorities say the return trip was prompted by details Murray offered to detectives during an interview on June 27, 2009, that will be played for jurors in the coming days.

If Dr. Murray is found guilty, what would be a fair sentence? Discuss on Facebook.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Michael Jackson’s life and career

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  1. Little boy Michael

    Jackson was just 12 when this picture was taken in May 1971, but his career was already stratospheric. Berry Gordy had signed the Jackson 5 to Motown Records in 1968, and Michael and his brothers had already topped the charts with "ABC" and "I'll Be There." It was a bright start for the boy from Gary, Ind. (Henry Diltz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Signs of success

    Michael Jackson, far left, and the rest of the Jackson Five; the five brothers from Indiana were signed to Berry Gordy's Motown record label pose in 1972. (Frank Barratt / Getty Images file) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. All in the family

    The Jackson 5 performs in Los Angeles on a 1970s Bob Hope TV special. Michael continued to front the band, but his solo career was already on the rise, starting with 1971's "Got to Be There." (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A wonderful Wiz

    Michael Jackson at the opening of "The Wiz." The 1978 movie musical was the first time Michael worked with legendary producer Quincy Jones, who would soon produce Jackson's breakout solo album, "Off the Wall," and eventually the "Thriller" album as well. Jackson's "Wiz" co-star was friend and mentor Diana Ross, who had introduced the world to the Jackson 5 back in 1969. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Wanna be startin' somethin'?

    Michael Jackson performs in concert during a 1981 tour with his brothers. During the tour Michael began writing down ideas for a solo project that blossomed into the highest-selling album of all time. (Susan Phillips / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Michael Jackson and Diana Ross hold their American Music Awards in L.A. Jackson won for favorite soul album and Ross won for favorite female soul vocalist. (Juynh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Fright night

    Michael Jackson stands with a group of dancers dressed as zombies while filming his 1983 video "Thriller." "Thriller" was revolutionary in the music industry. The zombie-themed minimovie put MTV on the map and essentially confirmed music videos as an art form of their own. The album sold 25 million copies in the United States alone. (Corbis / Sygma) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Moment of stardom

    Michael Jackson performs the moonwalk for the first time on television's "Motown 25," a tribute to Berry Gordy. The dance move that would become Michael's trademark stunned viewers and the crowd, and marked his imminent crowning as the King of Pop. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Handfuls of glory

    With Quincy Jones at his side, Michael Jackson holds six of the eight awards he won for "Thriller" at the 1984 Grammy Awards. His outfit, complete with epaulettes, sequined glove and dark shades, became a quintessential Michael look. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Role model

    During a May 1984 ceremony at the White House, Michael Jackson accepts a Presidential Award from President Reagan as First Lady Nancy Reagan looks on. Jackson was honored as a model for American youth, and for lending his hit song "Beat It" to a new campaign against drunk driving. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A scary day

    Michael Jackson, background, is seen with his hair on fire during a taping of a Pepsi TV commercial in Los Angeles on February 1984 as brother Jermaine Jackson, foreground, continues to perform, apparently unaware of the situation. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. LONDON-1985: Michael Jackson is lead through a crowd by policeman on a promotionial tour of Great Britain in London.(Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)UK NEWSPAPERS OUT WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT FROM DAVE HOGAN. PLEASE CONTACT SALES TEAM WITH ENQUIRIES (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. They were the world

    In January 1985, a who's-who of the music and movie worlds came together to sing "We Are The World," written to benefit famine victims in Ethiopia. Michael Jackson can be seen front and center, along with Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, and dozens of other stars. Michael's sister Janet can be seen bottom right. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Victory lap

    Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, left, makes a July 1984 guest appearance during Michael Jackson's Victory Tour concert in Irving, Texas. Van Halen had recorded the now immortal guitar riff on "Beat It," to the displeasure of bandmate David Lee Roth, but to the delight of nearly everyone else. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Who's bad?

    Michael Jackson and his dancers in concert during a 1987 Tokyo concert on Jackson's "Bad" tour. The previous year, he had starred in the 3-D film "Captain EO," one of the most expensive short films ever. But Jackson had begun to draw more criticism as his albums and videos grew costlier and more infrequent. His next album, "Dangerous," wouldn't arrive until 1991. (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A difficult year

    A cameraman photographs Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey in January 1993. This was the year Jackson was first accused of child molestation, and he took an opportunity on a 90-minute Oprah TV special to address the charges. The criminal allegations eventually were dropped, but Jackson reportedly paid as much as $25 million to settle the claims. (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Black and white at the Super Bowl

    Michael Jackson gives a performance with 30,000 children during the Super Bowl XXVIII halftime show, on January 31, 1993, in Pasadena, Calif. Despite allegations against him, Jackson's career had regained momentum with hits like "Black or White" and "Remember the Time," and the "Dangerous" album was a multi-platinum seller. (Ralf-Finn Hestoft / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Michael Jackson and French mime Marcel Marceau clowning for the cameras at the Beacon Theatre in New York on Dec. 4, 1995. (Bob Strong / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Power marriage

    Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley are seen at Neverland Ranch in preparation of the Children's World Summit in April 1995. Presley would file for divorce less than a year later, prompting speculation about just what had inspired the relationship. (Steve Starr / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Golden man

    Michael Jackson performs on stage during is "HIStory" world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium in November 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Marriage 2.0

    Just months after his divorce from Lisa Marie, Michael Jackson walked back up the aisle with Debbie Rowe. This wedding photo was released by Jackson's publicist minutes after the Nov. 13, 1996, ceremony in Sydney, Australia. But the pairing was less about romance and more about bearing Jackson a child, and the two would divorce three years later, with Rowe eventually ceding parental rights to Jackson. (Reuters / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Best of friends

    Michael Jackson and actress Elizabeth Taylor arrive at a Sept. 7, 2001, concert celebrating the 30 years of Jackson's career. The two stars had been longtime friends, and Taylor is godmother to two of Michael's children. (Jeff Christensen / Reuters / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. (FILES) Photo dated November 13, 2002 shows US entertainer Michael Jackson testifying in Santa Maria, Calif. Superior Court in a trial in which he is accused of cancelling concert appearances, costing the promoter several million dollars. (- / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Not so invincible

    Michael Jackson poses for photographers during a Nov. 2001 appearance in New York's Times Square. Jackson made his first ever in-store appearance to promote his new album, "Invincible," which was released Oct. 30. "Invincible," at the time the most expensive album ever produced, fared better with critics and fans than 1995's "HIStory," but questions began to surface about the future of Jackson's career. (Brad Rickerby / Reuters/Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. One big mistake

    Michael Jackson holds a towel-covered Prince Michael II over the balcony of a Berlin hotel on Nov. 19 2002. Jackson later called the incident a "terrible mistake," but the image of him dangling his baby son out a window shocked even many die-hard fans. And his reputation was to receive far worse damage just a few months later. (Tobias Schwarz / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Arresting development

    Michael Jackson is pictured in this Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department mug shot from Nov. 20, 2003. In a February 2003 documentary, Jackson acknowledged letting boys sleep in his bed. Soon after, Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon launched a probe into allegations that Jackson had molested a teen boy who appeared in the program. Authorities raided Neverland Ranch in November, and Jackson surrended for arrest days later. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's D / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Family support

    Michael, center, and sisters LaToya, left and Janet Jackson walk over to greets fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria, Calif. in this Aug. 16, 2004 file photo. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. MJ's PJs

    Michael Jackson wears pajama pants and is aided by bodyguards after arriving more than an hour late to court on Mar. 10, 2005, during his trial on the 2003 molestation charges. Jackson appeared after Judge Rodney Melville threatened to revoke his bail. (Kimberly White / pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Singin' with the kids

    Michael Jackson sings with some of his young fans at the World Music Awards at Earls Court in London on Nov. 16, 2006. (Graham Jepson / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Fans in uniform

    Michael Jackson receives a letter of appreciation from Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, the garrison commander of Camp Zama, on March 10, 2007 in Zama, Japan. Michael greeted thousands of U.S. troops and their family members at the U.S. Army base. (U.S. Army via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Father figure

    Michael Jackson walks with kids Prince and Paris through a studio parking lot in Los Angeles in March 2009. The singer had been spotted with his entourage going to a studio on a cold rainy day in the city. The pop star stayed at the studio for more than two hours, and there were many production people working around him, suggesting that the star was filming. (Splash News / Splash News) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Concert tour planned

    Fans take pictures of an electronic screen projecting a press conference by Michael Jackson at the O2 arena in London on March 5, 2009. The pop megastar announced he would play a series of comeback concerts in London in July, his first major shows in more than a decade. (Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Reaching for redemption

    Jackson, center, is shown in Los Angeles on May 6 during rehearsals for his planned concert tour in London. "He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," said Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light."

    Discuss the life and impact of Michael Jackson in PhotoBlog. (Courtesy of Michael Jackson via) Back to slideshow navigation
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