LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson's doctor halted CPR on the dying pop star and delayed calling paramedics so he could collect drug vials at the scene, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press that shed new light on the singer's chaotic final moments.
The explosive allegation that Dr. Conrad Murray may have tried to hide evidence is likely to be a focus as prosecutors move ahead with their involuntary manslaughter case against him.
The account was given to investigators by Alberto Alvarez, Jackson's logistics director, who was summoned to the stricken star's side as he was dying on June 25. His statement and those from two other Jackson employees also obtained by the AP paint a grisly scene in Jackson's bedroom.
Alvarez told investigators that he rushed to Jackson's room and saw the star lying in his bed, an IV attached to his leg. Jackson's mouth was agape, eyes open and there was no sign of life. Murray worked frantically, at one point performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Alvarez took over CPR.
Two of the star's children, Prince and Paris, came in the room and cried as they saw Murray trying to save their father. A nanny was called to usher them away and they were taken to wait outside in a vehicle.
The documents also detail an odd encounter with Murray after Jackson was declared dead at a nearby hospital. Murray insisted he needed to return to the mansion to get cream that Jackson had "so the world wouldn't find out about it," according to the statements, which provide no elaboration.
Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, rejected the notion his client tried to hide drugs. He also noted Alvarez was interviewed twice by police and gave different accounts of what happened in Jackson's bedroom. During the first interview, Alvarez made no mention of being told to tidy away medicine vials.
"He didn't say any of those things, then two months later, all of a sudden, the doc is throwing bottles into the bag," Chernoff said. "Alvarez's statement is inconsistent with his previous statement. We will deal with that at trial."
Alvarez and the others who gave the statements, Jackson's personal assistant Michael Amir Williams and driver/bodyguard Faheem Muhammad, could be key witnesses should Murray go to trial. Except for the brief appearances by the nanny and the children, Alvarez and Muhammad were the only others in the room with Murray as he tried to save Jackson before paramedics arrived.
A call to Alvarez's attorney was not immediately returned.
Jackson, 50, hired Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a series of comeback performances in London. He was participating in strenuous rehearsals and Murray would routinely meet him at the star's home in the evening for treatments.
The Los Angeles coroner ruled Jackson's death a homicide caused by an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives given to get the chronic insomniac to sleep. Propofol, a milky white liquid, is supposed to be administered only by anesthesia professionals in medical settings. Patients require constant monitoring because the drug depresses breathing and heart rate while lowering blood pressure, a potentially deadly combination.