The cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson during the pop star's final moments sat down with investigators for the first time to explain his actions — and left three hours later as a witness, not a suspect.
Dr. Conrad Murray "helped identify the circumstances around the death of the pop icon and clarified some inconsistencies," Murray's spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik said in a statement Saturday. "Investigators say the doctor is in no way a suspect and remains a witness to this tragedy."
Murray, a physician with a tangled financial and personal history who was hired to accompany Jackson on his planned summer concert tour, reportedly performed CPR until paramedics arrived. The pop star was declared dead later at UCLA Medical Center.
Police confirmed that they interviewed Murray, adding that he was cooperative and "provided information which will aid the investigation."
The interview took place on a busy day when one of Jackson's lawyers was chosen to represent the family's legal interests and celebrities descended on Los Angeles for a star-studded public celebration of the "King of Pop's" life.
L. Londell McMillan, who represented Jackson last year in a breach of contact lawsuit and has advised high-profile clients such as Prince, was picked to help the family by Katherine Jackson, the singer's mother, said a person who requested anonymity because the matter is private.
'Abnormal'The legal move came as the Rev. Jesse Jackson revealed that Michael Jackson's family wanted a second, private autopsy of the pop superstar because of unanswered questions about how he died.
"It's abnormal," Jesse Jackson said from Chicago a day after visiting the Jackson family. "We don't know what happened. Was he injected and with what? All reasonable doubt should be addressed."
The second autopsy was completed Saturday at the family's request, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site Saturday evening, quoting unnamed sources.
A private autopsy can allow the family to get some information about a death almost immediately, including signs of heart, brain or lung disease or fresh needle punctures, said Dr. Michael Baden, a medical examiner not involved in the Jackson case.
“Usually if it looks normal with the naked eye, it looks normal under the microscope,” said Baden, who recently performed a second autopsy on actor David Carradine. People close to Jackson have said since his death that they were concerned about his use of painkillers. Los Angeles County medical examiners completed their autopsy Friday and said Jackson had taken prescription medication.
Medical officials also said there was no indication of trauma or foul play. An official cause of death could take weeks.
Larger in deathThe father of Michael Jackson says he does not believe stress over the intense series of concerts the King of Pop planned for his comeback led to his death.
Joe Jackson also said in an interview airing Sunday that he believes his son will be larger in death than he was in life. The patriarch of the Jackson 5 said he wished Michael Jackson were around to see the outpouring of affection since his death.
"Michael was the biggest superstar in the world and in history," Joe Jackson told Fox News Channel’s “Geraldo at Large." "He was loved by everybody, whether poor or wealthy or whatever may be."
There was no word from the Jackson family on funeral plans. Many of Jackson's relatives have gathered at the family's Encino compound, caring there for Jackson's three children.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday he had spoken with Jackson's brothers Jackie and Jermaine and plans to meet with the family Sunday at their request. The family is considering a series of simultaneous global celebrations and other ideas as they decide how to commemorate the life of the King of Pop, he says.
Sharpton says the family is frustrated that so much of the media attention has focused on Michael Jackson's problems. They want to make sure he's remembered for his spectacular contributions to music and culture.
Questions around children
It remains unclear who Jackson designated as potential guardians for his children. Those details — likely contained in the 50-year-old singer's will — have not been released.
An attorney for Deborah Rowe, the mother of Jackson's two oldest children, issued a statement Saturday asking that the Jackson family "be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace."
Sisters Janet and La Toya arrived Saturday at the mansion Jackson had been renting and left without addressing reporters. Moving vans also showed up at the Jackson home, leaving about an hour later. There was no indication what they might have taken away.
The Jackson family issued a statement Saturday expressing its grief over the death and thanking his supporters.
"In one of the darkest moments of our lives we find it hard to find the words appropriate to this sudden tragedy we all had to encounter," said the statement made through People magazine. "We miss Michael endlessly."
"They're hurt because they lost a son. But the wound is now being kept open by the mystery and unanswered questions of the cause of death," he said.
A person close to the family told The Associated Press they feel upset and angry about a lack of information about those who were around the pop superstar in his final days. The person requested anonymity because of the delicate nature of the situation.
Jackson never communicated to his family who he had in place to handle his business affairs, the person said, adding that they were told by the singer’s phalanx of advisers that he likely had a will, but it may be many years old. The family is distrustful of what they are being told — but they are determined to find out more, the person said.
“There are decisions going down without the family being in the loop; it’s becoming an issue,” the person said.
Randy Phillips, AEG Live president and chief executive, said earlier Friday that it was Jackson who insisted that Murray, a financially troubled cardiologist who was with the entertainer when he collapsed Thursday, be put on the tour payroll.
Jackson had been rehearsing for 50 London concerts aimed at restoring his crown as the King of Pop. He died Thursday at age 50 after what his family said appeared to be cardiac arrest.
Desperate 911 call A 911 call from Jackson's rented home reported that his personal doctor was trying to revive him without success.
An emergency dispatch call released by fire officials shed light on the desperate effort at the mansion to save Jackson's life before paramedics arrived Thursday afternoon.
In the recording, an unidentified caller pleads with authorities to send help, offering no clues about why Jackson was stricken. He tells a dispatcher that Jackson's doctor is performing CPR.
"He's pumping his chest," the caller says, "but he's not responding to anything."
Asked by the dispatcher whether anyone saw what happened, the caller answers: "No, just the doctor, sir. The doctor has been the only one there."