Published August 19, 2009
Michael Jackson’s personal physician will be charged with manslaughter within the next two weeks, a law enforcement source told FOXNews.com.
The source initially said Dr. Conrad Murray could be arrested as soon as next Wednesday — but investigators have decided to execute one more search warrant, likely at a Los Angeles pharmacy, next week in an attempt to gather more evidence against him. The arrest is now expected the following week.
Murray isn’t the only doctor who faces criminal charges in connection with Jackson's death on June 25. A law enforcement source told FOXNews.com that Jackson’s longtime dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, will be hit with charges related to medical malpractice. Investigators are still building their case against Klein, and he will not be arrested for at least another two weeks, the source said.
Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, denied that prosecutors had decided to charge Jackson's physicians. “Until police complete their investigation and bring it to our office, there is no way to know what charges may be filed and against whom,” she said.
But the source told FOXNews.com that the DA's office is currently in talks with investigators about whether they will offer Murray the option of surrendering in Los Angeles, or if he will be arrested in Houston, where he is currently staying.
Investigators initially had hoped to charge Murray with a more serious crime than manslaughter — a defendant may be charged with second degree murder in California without the presence of a motive — but prosecutors are concerned that a jury will be unlikely to convict without one, sources said. Unless a "smoking gun" is found in next week’s search, Murray will be charged with manslaughter.
Law enforcement sources previously told FOXNews.com that Murray admitted he gave the King of Pop the intravenous anesthetic propofol to help him sleep just hours before his death — and that propofol was at least a contributing factor in the 50-year-old entertainer's death.
Murray posted a video on YouTube Tuesday that his legal team said was intended to be seen by his friends and patients. The video, which was Murray’s idea, was shot last Wednesday at a Houston residence, a spokeswoman for his attorneys said.
Sirius Video, a Houston production company, was hired to film the cardiologist's first public words since Jackson’s death. But a company spokeswoman would not say who bankrolled the video. Murray is reportedly broke; his latest money troubles involve possible eviction from his Las Vegas home.
In the one- minute video, a bedraggled and teary-eyed Murray thanked his friends and supporters and said he has been unable to check his e-mail or return phone calls due to death threats.
“I want to thank all of my patients and friends who have sent such kind e-mails, letters and messages to let me know of your support and prayers for me and my family," Murray said.
"Because of all that is going on I’m afraid to return phone calls or use my e-mail. Therefore I recorded this video to let all of you know that I have been receiving your messages. I have not been able to thank you personally, which you know is not normal for me.
“Your messages give me strength and courage and keep me going. They mean the world to me.
“Please don’t worry. As long as I keep God in my heart and you in my life, I will be fine. I have done all I could do. I told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail.”
A spokeswoman for Murray’s legal team said the video was simply Murray’s way of thanking his supporters, and that the doctor’s friends and supporters who had provided contact information to the attorneys received an e-mail with the link to the YouTube video yesterday.
But others said the video was Murray’s "last testament" — a transparent attempt to garner sympathy and influence a jury pool.
“This was a total PR stunt,” said former Broward County prosecutor Kenneth Padowitz.
“I think what they’re trying to do is humanize him, trying to make him seem like this is somebody that maybe you could know and this is not a bad guy—that’s what they’re trying to do,” Padowitz said. “And for that limited purpose, it probably was effective….
“Is it a transparent attempt to get feelings in his favor? Yeah. It’s a gimmick.”
Padowitz said the video was certainly intended for widespread viewing, despite what Murray’s legal team says. And having his only statement come in a video format allowed for total control over what he said.
“They did it this way so there could be no questioning by a reporter, no cross examination by anyone, or anyone asking a question he could not answer," Padowitz said. "They just basically put out a PR piece.”
Klein, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, has admitted giving the painkiller Demerol — but not propofol — to Jackson, who suffered from insomnia. Klein has said he found out that Jackson was taking Diprivan, the brand name of propofol, to sleep when he was touring in Germany and warned his longtime friend of the dangers surrounding the intravenous anesthetic.
Last month the Los Angeles coroner issued Klein a subpoena to turn over all of Jackson’s medical records.
Klein also inserted himself into court proceedings related to custody issues involving Jackson’s three children.
In a statement linked to on Klein's Twitter account earlier this month, his attorney wrote: “Dr. Klein has always had a special relationship with Paris Katherine and Prince Michael, loves and cares deeply for these children and is looking out for their best interest. Dr. Klein has been involved with the children in sharing holidays and other special events and wishes to have the ability to continue his involvement as a very close friend of their father and offers his guidance and protection forever.”