The patriarch of the Jackson family wants justice served against whoever contributed to Michael Jackson’s sudden death on June 25 — and hinted ominously that it may be others besides the legendary pop star’s doctors who could be liable.
“Someone should pay,” Joe Jackson, 80, told NBC’s Jeff Rossen during an exclusive interview that aired Monday on TODAY. “Not just someone, but all of ’em should pay that’s involved.”
Asked if he was referring to his son’s doctors, Jackson said, “I didn’t say doctors. Everybody else that’s involved.”
Who’s to blame?
Joe Jackson’s sit-down with NBC News came just hours after a Saturday charity tribute concert at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in honor of what would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday. Earlier in the day, Jackson was given a posthumous honor: a star on the Palms’ Walk of Fame.
More tributes are planned even as Jackson’s body will finally be laid to rest Friday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, Calif., some nine weeks after his death. But the main focus now isn’t on Jackson’s storied career in entertainment; the spotlight is on how he died and who may have contributed to his death.
The eye-opening coroner’s report put the spotlight on Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal physician. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office stated a toxicology study done on Jackson showed “lethal levels of propofol,” a powerful anesthetic Murray admitted he administered to Jackson, but claimed he was trying to wean him off at the time of his death.
Murray has stated Jackson suffered from pronounced insomnia and relied on propofol — which Jackson called his “milk” — to put him to sleep. Murray tried a combination of other sedatives to help Jackson sleep the night before his death. The next morning, upon pleading from Jackson, Murray gave him what amounted, for Jackson, to half a dose.
It worked in getting Jackson to finally go to sleep. But after leaving Jackson’s room for a few minutes, Murray said he returned to find Jackson not breathing, according to court documents.
Joe Jackson, typically dressed to the nines with a black fedora, pin-striped suit and dangling earring for his NBC interview, spoke in short bursts of carefully chosen words. Still, his frustration over how his son died showed through as he told Rossen, “I’m not angry, I’m mad,” because he had no idea what was going on medically with Michael.
Jackson told Rossen he had no knowledge that his son, from whom he was largely estranged, had insomnia, or that he was taking a drug usually administered only in surgical settings to cope with it.
“I’m mad about it because I didn’t know all this was going on. That’s what I’m mad about,” Jackson told Rossen. “I didn’t know he was taking that type of medication. First time I ever heard about the drug.”
“[We want] justice to be done,” he said. “And that’s what’s being done.”
While Michael Jackson left a music legacy that includes the best-selling album of all time, his personal legacy remains his children: Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, nicknamed Blanket, 7.
Michael’s mother, Katherine — to whom Joe Jackson is still married although they live apart — was awarded sole custody of the children. As part of the custody agreement, Joe Jackson, whom Michael long charged physically and emotionally abused him, agreed not to be involved in the raising of the children.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see them. “I’m their grandfather,” Jackson told Rossen. “I see ’em … well, I see ’em enough.”