Michael Jackson's personal doctor, whose role in the singer's final hours has been the subject of intense speculation, spoke with Los Angeles police Saturday as the doctor's attorney affirmed his innocence.
Attorneys representing Dr. Conrad Murray released a statement Saturday that the doctor is cooperating with authorities. The statement also said that Murray considers himself to be a friend of Michael Jackson and is very distraught over his death.
Murray, a Texas cardiologist who also is licensed to practice medicine in California and Nevada, was hired by Jackson's concert promoter to oversee the singer's daily care leading up to a highly anticipated series of shows in London.
William Stradley, a member of the law firm representing Murray, told the Associated Press that the doctor is a witness, not a target of investigators.
Among those with questions about Murray's role in Jackson's death are members of Jackson's own family. They reportedly have been frustrated and angry over what they see as a lack of information about Jackson's final hours and have sought a second autopsy of the pop music icon's body.
Records reveal years of financial troubles for Murray, a 1989 graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville who practices medicine in California, Nevada and Texas.
Over the last 18 months, Murray's Nevada medical practice, Global Cardiovascular Associates, has been slapped with more than $400,000 in court judgments: $228,000 to Citicorp Vendor Finance Inc., $71,000 to an education loan company and $135,000 to a leasing company. He faces at least two other pending cases.
Court records show Murray was hit last December with a nearly $3,700 judgment for failure to pay child support in San Diego, and had his wages garnished the same month for almost $1,500 by a credit card company. Another credit card claim for more than $1,100 filed in April remains open.
He also owes $940 in fines and penalties for driving with an expired license plate and for not having proof of insurance in 2000.
Best-selling author Deepak Chopra, a licensed medical doctor, said he first became concerned about the pop star's prescription drug use in 2005, when Jackson visited him shortly after his trial on sex abuse allegations.
Chopra said Jackson asked him to prescribe painkillers and already had a bottle of OxyContin.
"I was kind of a bit alarmed. I said, 'Why are you taking that. You don't need that,' and then I started to probe a little further, and after I grilled him a little bit, he admitted he was getting them from a bunch of doctors," Chopra said.
Chopra said he refused to prescribe the medicine, but over the next four years the nanny of Jackson's children would periodically call to say that a parade of doctors was coming to his homes in Santa Barbara County, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.
She told Chopra she felt they were overmedicating him, and one time she even tried to stage an intervention with Chopra's help, he said.
Each time, Jackson would discover the nanny's calls and then shut himself off from Chopra to avoid discussing the issue, he said.
Chopra, a spiritual adviser, said he last talked to Jackson directly about his drug use about six months ago and spoke with him on the phone about two weeks before his death.
But they did not discuss drug use on that call, and Chopra said in his final months, Jackson seemed much healthier and excited about his upcoming concerts in London.
"This is a strange addiction. You cannot get these pills or injections unless a physician prescribes them, and he had this bunch of enabling doctors who were in a sense criminals. And they get away with it half the time — and I hope they don't this time," he said.
"It's become a culture with celebrity doctors who in one sense get a sense of importance by hanging around with celebrities."
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.