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Video: Rebbie Jackson: No sympathy for Murray

  1. Transcript of: Rebbie Jackson: No sympathy for Murray

    CURRY: All right, Jeff Rossen , thanks. Michael Jackson 's oldest sister Rebbie Jackson was in the courtroom for the verdict, she's now joining us exclusively. Rebbie , good morning to you.

    Ms. REBBIE JACKSON (Michael Jackson's Sister): Good morning.

    CURRY: Describe your emotions upon hearing this verdict and anything that Michael Jackson 's children may have said about him.

    Ms. JACKSON: Well, when I heard the verdict, I thought I was going to feel as though I got a tremendous amount of relief, but I felt really numb and not only that, I started crying profusely.

    CURRY: Do you know why?

    Ms. JACKSON: I guess because the reality of what had transpired really hit me at that point and even though he passed a few years ago, going on into the third year, I think, the problem with it was that it sort of just brought everything back to reality, and it was so much. It was just tremendous.

    CURRY: Prince, Paris , Blanket , did they say anything?

    Ms. JACKSON: I hadn't seen them because when I left the court they were still in school.

    CURRY: Hm.

    Ms. JACKSON: We went back to my mom's home.

    CURRY: Hm.

    Ms. JACKSON: But I'm sure they feel a lot of relief in relationship to him being indicted the way he was.

    CURRY: We have a clip of an interview that Dr. Murray did a few weeks ago...

    Ms. JACKSON: Mm-hmm.

    CURRY: ...with NBC's Savannah Guthrie . I want to get your reaction on the other side . Let's listen.

    Ms. JACKSON: OK.

    SAVANNAH GUTHRIE reporting: Do you remember his final words before he died?

    Dr. MURRAY: It was probably -- I don't know, but it was probably when he was pleading and begging me to please, please let him have some milk because that was the only thing that would work.

    CURRY: What do you want to say about the effort by the defense to paint your brother as an addict who contributed to his own death?

    Ms. JACKSON: Well, my problem that I have with the entire theory or the situation was the fact that the doctor took an oath in being a professional. He performed something in a private setting, you might say, that is giving -- administrating propofol, which is wrong. So no matter what the situation was, he was wrong because he's not supposed to do that.

    CURRY: Was your brother to blame at all in contributing in your view to his death?

    Ms. JACKSON: I don't think so, not at all. I don't think so.

    CURRY: You're not sure.

    Ms. JACKSON: Not at all, I don't think he contributed to the death, I don't think so, no.

    CURRY: But will you acknowledge that he did -- was an -- he was addicted to medications?

    Ms. JACKSON: He had an addiction to prescription drugs, I do know that.

    CURRY: Dr. Murray is now in jail. He could get anything from probation to four years in prison and sentencing on November 29th . What do you think should be the penalty?

    Ms. JACKSON: Well, I'm going to leave all of that in God's hands. I do know that because of the law that has recently been passed from what I understand, the jails are overcrowded so he's supposed to get up to four years. But I have been told that he might just get house arrest. I don't know. And it's sad because my brother is gone and nothing will bring him back. That's for sure.

    CURRY: Dr. Murray said he loved your brother. Do you have any sympathy for him at all?

    Ms. JACKSON: No, I don't. Not in that way I don't because if you love someone you're going to do what you think is best for them, not what they want you to do.

    CURRY: Hm. How are Michael 's childrens now -- children now, two and a half years after his death, how are they doing?

    Ms. JACKSON: They, to be very honest, they seem to be functioning fairly well. They're the new society and you might say arrangement with inter-reacting with people in the public and they're enjoying their lives as best as they can.

    CURRY: Well, that's some good news, Rebbie Jackson . Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

    Ms. JACKSON: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

    CURRY: You bet. And we're going to have much more of our exclusive interview with Dr. Conrad Murray Friday on TODAY. And you can see the special " Michael Jackson and the Doctor" Friday night 10 PM Eastern time on MSNBC .

Image: Conrad Murrary trial
Al Seib  /  AFP - Getty Images
Deputies handcuff Dr. Conrad Murray after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson.
By
updated 11/8/2011 7:56:45 AM ET 2011-11-08T12:56:45

Michael Jackson's doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's death for supplying an insomnia-plagued Jackson with a powerful operating-room anesthetic to help him sleep as he rehearsed for his big comeback.

Dr. Conrad Murray sat stone-faced, his chin held high, as he heard the verdict that could send him to prison for up to four years and cost him his license to practice medicine. He was handcuffed and immediately led off to jail without bail to await sentencing Nov. 29.

The verdict marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture's most shocking tragedies — the 2009 drug-overdose death of the King of Pop at age 50 as he was about to mount a series of heavily promoted concerts in London that he hoped would turn his career around after a slide prompted by child-molestation allegations and years of bizarre behavior.

A shriek broke the silence in the packed courtroom when the jury's decision was read, and the crowd outside the courthouse erupted in cheers. Jubilant Jackson fans sang "Beat It" and held signs that read "Guilty" and "Killer." Drivers honked their horns.

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Story: Jackson fans, family cheer Murray's guilty verdict

Members of Jackson's family wept, and his mother, Katherine Jackson, said, "I feel better now." His sister La Toya said she was overjoyed and added: "Michael was looking over us."

Members of the jury were escorted from the building and not available for comment.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said later in the day the verdict was a disappointment and would be appealed. Asked how Murray took the verdict, Chernoff said, "He's a pretty strong guy."

Regarding Murray's future, he said, "The keys to his handcuffs belong to the judge. We certainly would like to do anything we can to keep him from going to prison."

Slideshow: See fans gathering at courthouse (on this page)

The jury deliberated less than nine hours after a six-week trial that depicted Jackson as a tormented genius on the brink of what might have been his greatest triumph but for one impediment — extreme insomnia.

Jackson's death marked the end of an incredible rise to fame from his humble beginnings in Gary, Ind. The tiny powerhouse singer and dancer with the magnetic smile enchanted audiences and elevated the Jackson Five to the top of the pop music world.

As a solo adult act, the self-anointed King of Pop sold out concerts and topped the recording charts with albums such as 1982's "Thriller," which remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide.

His public life, however, eventually became a surreal depiction of the toll of celebrity. He went on wild spending sprees, married and divorced Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, and had three children who were kept disguised in masks because he feared their kidnapping.

When he was tried and acquitted of child molestation in 2005, Jackson appeared to fall apart, moving to the Middle East and other countries in search of a new life.

The comeback concerts in London were his chance for redemption. Mindful of the physical requirements, he hired Murray as his private doctor.

Prosecutors portrayed the 58-year-old Murray as an incompetent doctor who administered propofol — an extremely potent anesthetic normally used during surgery — in Jackson's bedroom without adequate safeguards and botched his care when things went wrong.

Murray, who did not testify, told police that he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died. And his lawyers blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself an extra, lethal dose while Murray wasn't watching.

Opinion: Jackson music will live on long after trial

Prosecutors said that theory was crazy, and in any case, they argued, Murray should not have left Jackson alone.

The jury was not asked to determine whether Murray actually gave Jackson the fatal dose, only whether he was primarily responsible for the singer's death.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren extended his sympathies to the Jackson family, who "lost not a pop icon, but a son and a father."

In Las Vegas, a former Murray patient and current friend, Donna DiGiacomo, sobbed and said the jury was under "overwhelming pressure to convict."

"This man didn't deserve this. They needed a scapegoat," said DiGiacomo, a former Long Island, N.Y., teacher's aide who said she didn't believe Murray did anything to intentionally harm Jackson.

Testimony came from medical experts, household employees and Murray's former girlfriends, among others. The most shocking moments, however, came when prosecutors displayed a large picture of Jackson's gaunt, lifeless body on a hospital gurney and played his drugged, slurred voice, as recorded by Murray just weeks before the singer's death.

Jackson talked about his hope of cementing a legacy larger than that of Elvis Presley or the Beatles.

"We have to be phenomenal," he said about his "This Is It" concerts in London. "When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world.'"

Story: Tito Jackson: Security kept family from Michael

Craving sleep, Jackson had searched for a doctor who would give him the intravenous propofol that Jackson called his "milk" and believed to be his salvation. Other medical professionals turned him down, according to testimony.

Prosecutors said Murray abandoned his medical judgment for money. According to testimony, Jackson planned to pay the cardiologist $150,000 a month for an extended tour in Europe.

Murray gave up his practices in Houston and Las Vegas and agreed to travel with Jackson and be his personal physician indefinitely. For six weeks, as Jackson undertook strenuous rehearsals, Murray infused him with propofol every night, the doctor told police. He said he later tried to wean Jackson from the drug because he feared he was becoming addicted.

In the end, the doctor was never paid a penny because Jackson died before signing a contract with Murray.

Slideshow: Watch Jackson's face change over the years (on this page)

The circumstances of Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, were as bizarre as any chapter in the superstar's sensational life story.

During the last 24 hours of his life, Jackson sang and danced at a spirited rehearsal, reveling in the adulation of fans who greeted him outside. Testimony showed Murray gave Jackson intravenous doses that night of the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam. Jackson also took a Valium pill. But nothing seemed to bring sleep.

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

Finally, Murray told police, he gave the singer a small dose of propofol — 25 milligrams — that seemed to put him to sleep. The doctor said he felt it was safe to leave his patient's bedside for a few minutes, but Jackson was not breathing when he returned. Witnesses said he was most likely dead at that point.

What happened next was a matter of dispute during the trial. Security and household staff described Murray as panicked, never calling 911 but trying to give Jackson CPR on his bed instead of on the firm floor. A guard said Murray was concerned with packing up and hiding medicine bottles and IV equipment before telling him to call 911.

There is no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But expert witnesses for the prosecution said that using propofol at home without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from the standard of medical care. Prosecutors called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.

In the upcoming documentary "Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship," Murray reveals details of his relationship with the pop star. The program airs Friday night at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC. (TODAY.com is powered by msnbc.com, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

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Photos: Michael Jackson death trial

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  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
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  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
    AP
    Slideshow (16) The face of change
  3. Michael Jackson in a Butterfly Collar Shirt
    Henry Diltz / Corbis
    Slideshow (33) Michael Jackson’s life and career

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