Jackson estate slams Conrad Murray documentary

Wed Nov 9, 2011 4:36pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's estate on Wednesday slammed a tell-all documentary about the doctor convicted of causing the singer's death, and urged a TV network not to allow the physician to tell his story in which he labels the singer a drug "addict."

Dr. Conrad Murray, who sits in a Los Angeles jail awaiting sentencing for Monday's involuntary manslaughter conviction in the singer's death by drug overdose, is scheduled to appear in the documentary called "Michael Jackson and the Doctor" to air this coming Friday on cable TV network MSNBC.

On Thursday, NBC will broadcast the first part of a two-part interview Murray gave to journalist Savannah Guthrie before the verdict was returned at his trial. The interview will air on morning show "Today," which is promoting the related documentary on sister network MSNBC.

In the interview, Murray defends his care of the "Thriller" singer by saying Jackson was an addict and drug-addicted people act in a way that is "unreasonable," which Murray could not have foreseen.

The doctor's defense attorneys argued at trial that Jackson gave himself the drug that was responsible for his death, but the jury did not agree.

In a letter on Wednesday, Jackson estate administrators John Branca and John McClain said that even though Murray did not testify at his trial, MSNBC was allowing Murray to speak without fear of being grilled by court prosecutors.

"Thus, MSNBC gives Conrad Murray a platform to shift the blame post-conviction to Michael Jackson, even though a jury considered the evidence and rejected this very argument," the letter states. "We demand that you exercise proper judgment and refrain from airing this program."

Murray began working with the filmmakers behind the "Michael Jackson and the Doctor" project in November 2009 -- following Jackson's death on June 25 of that year -- and continued to appear on camera during his trial.   Continued...