Conrad Murray told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie that he didn't call 911 when Michael Jackson stopped breathing because emergency responders would not have been able to get through the gate to the singer's home.
"No one is allowed to come upstairs except for Mr. Jackson," he said.
"You called his bodyguard," Guthrie said to Murray, who was the singer's personal physician when he died in 2009. "Couldn't you have said, 'Call 911, and meet 'em at the gate?"
Murray responded that he didn't want to "leave a full explanation on the phone," and that he didn't think Jackson's employee would return his call. Instead he began giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and a guard at Jackson's rented Los Angeles mansion eventually called the emergency number 20 minutes later.
Guthrie's interview with Murray will air Thursday and Friday on TODAY. The MSNBC documentary "Michael Jackson and The Doctor" will premiere on MSNBC Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
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On Monday, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of the pop star. He is now in jail awaiting sentencing on Nov. 29. He faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.
Murray also told Guthrie that he didn't tell the paramedics on the scene that Jackson had been given propofol because "it was inconsequential" as the effects of the drug would have worn off by that time. When Guthrie asked why not supply the information anyway, he insisted the drug "had no effect."
The doctor has been criticized for leaving the room to use his cell phone while the singer slept, and for making phone calls and sending texts and emails while Jackson was apparently dying. Murray told Guthrie that Jackson had finally fallen asleep and was in no need of his presence.
"Am I gonna sit over him, sit around him, tug on his feet, do anything unusual to wake him up?" Murray said of leaving the singer alone. "No."
Murray also says he felt that just three days before Jackson's death, the singer was successfully weaned off of the surgical anesthetic propofol upon which he depended for sleep. When Guthrie questioned why he had left the singer in a situation where he might have a chance to inject himself with the drug, something that was suggested by Murray's defense team, the doctor said "that was not a foreseeable situation."
Guthrie also asked Murray why, when he felt he shouldn't be giving Jackson propofol, he didn't walk away from his $150,000 a month position as Jackson's personal physician.
"I should have walked away," Murray said. "But if also I walked away, I would have abandoned a friend."