Was Michael Jackson’s death an accidental murder? Was it more than just an accidental overdose on drugs?
The LAPD seems to think so: starting right after Michael’s memorial service on Tuesday, sources say that homicide detectives began making calls to Jackson’s inner circle, asking tough questions.
The questions are centered on the doctors around the world who regularly prescribed sedatives and painkillers to Jackson without even seeing him. Among the names are Dr. Arnold Klein, whom Jackson was seeing three times a week before his death.
But there are others. Right now, websites like tmz.com are thrilling to reports from a 2004 police raid on Jackson’s Neverland Ranch that turned up all kinds of prescriptions made out to aliases and Neverland employees.
But Jackson died two weeks ago, so the real investigation will be centered on current doctors and what they were giving Jackson. Klein’s name is the one that keeps coming up as the most contemporaneous. There are no doubt others, from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.
Investigators might want to look into how Jackson got the drugs he needed when he was in Bahrain from 2005-2006, Ireland in 2006, and Virginia in 2007. Jackson also lived near Alpine, New Jersey in 2007 before returning to Las Vegas.
LAPD Chief Bill Bratton told CNN yesterday that based on the questioning by detectives of those closest to Jackson “we will have an idea of what it is we are dealing (with) — are we dealing with a homicide or are we dealing with an accidental overdose?”
But it’s clear that the LAPD already is thinking murder accidental or otherwise. That’s why the questions are coming from homicide.
Two things are clear though: Jackson admitted to his drug problems in a 2007 deposition. And he was running up bills of $48,000 a month at his local pharmacy. Revisit my reporting on these two important facts:
Michael Jackson gave a deposition on July 25, 2007, that fully addressed his drug use. The testimony came about because of a lawsuit with former manager Dieter Wiesner.
This is what it looked like in the actual transcript, obtained exclusively by this reporter and written about in 2007. Here it is again:
Q Were you impaired by the taking of prescription medications or something else at the time you signed these two documents?
A I could have been.
Q Is that best of recollection, that you signed these while impaired, not knowing what they meant?
A I could maybe say so, but I’m not — I don’t remember them.
It’s not like Jackson misunderstood the questioning, either. In the same line of examination, the attorney for Wiesner managed to get this in as well:
Q How long in 2003 were you impaired because of the taking of prescription medication?
A I don’t know.
Q Was it most of 2003?
A I’m not sure.
Q Did Dr. Farshchian prescribe that medication for you?
A No, it wasn’t Farshchian. I think it was a local.
And then there’s also this exchange:
Q As of March 31, 2003, were you still impaired because of the taking of prescription medication?
A I could have been.
Q During the period of time you were impaired by the taking of prescription medication, was this an impairment that lasted like all your waking hours, or did it come and go?
A It comes and goes, not all of the waking hours, of course not. Yes.
Q Now, during the period of time you were taking this medication when you weren’t impaired, did you ever tell one of your advisors that you were [concerned] about your impairment and they better watch what you were signing during this period of time?
A Not that I recall.
Dr. Alimorad Farshchian, of course, was Jackson’s doctor upon whom Jackson relied heavily in 2002-2003.
It was Dr. Farshchian — founder in 2000 of the the Center for Regenerative Medicine — who accompanied Jackson from Florida back to California in February 2003 with the Arvizo family.
The Arvizo’s eventually filed charges against him that consumed Jackson in a trial and took away a couple of years of his life.
Jackson’s vagueness about his business transactions didn’t go over so well, I was told. As usual, he claimed to have no memory of people or events that had already been documented or testified to in other cases.
After losing a multimillion-dollar case to another former partner, Marc Schaffel, Jackson was convinced by his attorneys to settle the Wiesner case instead of letting it go to trial.
For Jackson, the admission in sworn testimony that he was “impaired” thanks to too many prescription drugs was startling. It may play a part in the answer to how Jackson tragically died yesterday at age 50.
Michael Jackson was spending $48,000 a month in prescriptions, according to my sources. The print-outs of the bills are said to come in eye-opening stacks.
The prescriptions were written mostly by his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein of Beverly Hills. They were mostly filled at his local drug store, Mickey Fine Pharmacy, also of Beverly Hills.
The list of drugs, which was read to me in part, was staggering. Many of the prescriptions were not made out to Jackson but to aides, nurses, other people who worked for him, and, primarily, to a person called Omar Adams. I’ve learned from another source that “Omar Adams” was a name that Jackson made up for a fictitious alter ego.
None of this should come as a surprise. Back in July 2002, I published a story about Jackson’s monthly spending that rocked his world. Included in legal papers for a lawsuit filed against him by an ex-manager was Jackson’s monthly budget for the fall of 2001. The story can be found here.
At the time, Jackson owed Dr.Klein $25,000 and Mickey Fine Pharmacy $10,000. A few years later, the pharmacy sued Jackson for arrears on his account. They said they’d been making his skin-whitening cream and he wasn’t paying for it.
Sources say that the police have now in their possession many vials of various drugs prescribed by Dr. Klein. That should be good news for Jackson’s recent personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was on the scene when Jackson died.
In a story yesterday I quoted a Jackson insider as saying, by the way, that they thought Dr. Murray was introduced to Jackson by his manager of 2008-2009, Tohme R. Tohme. However, Mr. Tohme’s friends insist that he not only didn’t introduce the two, but that he never even met Dr. Murray or had heard of him. So there.
Other doctors may be involved. Back in 2002, another doctor, a lupus specialist named Dr. Allan Metzger was owed $20,000. Jackson suffered from lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease, although he denied it.