LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police raided the Las Vegas home and office of Michael Jackson’s personal physician on Tuesday as the probe into the pop star’s sudden death focused increasingly on the doctor who was at his side when he died.
It was the second raid on Dr. Conrad Murray in less than a week as officials seek evidence into the cause of the “Thriller” singer’s sudden death by cardiac arrest on June 25.
Murray’s lawyer said after the first raid last week that police and DEA agents were looking for “evidence of the offense of manslaughter.”
Their probe now seems focused on Jackson’s use of prescription drugs, particularly the anesthetic propofol and Murray’s possible involvement in providing it.
Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said federal agents, Las Vegas police and Los Angeles detectives entered Murray’s Las Vegas home and nearby office early on Tuesday morning looking for documents, but he declined to be more specific.
Last week’s search at Murray’s office in Houston yielded information from a computer hard drive, billing and medical records, vials of medication, a Rolodex card and other objects, according to court documents cited in numerous media reports.
Murray’s attorney, Ed Chernoff, could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday, but in a statement released one day earlier in response to media reports that the doctor was the key target of the investigation, Chernoff asked for patience.
“Everyone needs to take a breath,” he said. “Things tend to shake out when all the facts are made known, and I’m sure that will happen here as well.”
He noted that results of toxicology tests on Jackson’s body are not due until later this week
Since Jackson’s death, investigators have questioned and searched the offices of other doctors who treated him over the years, as news media reports have said the probe into his death is focused on his use of propofol to sleep.
Unlike others who have been part of the probe, including Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, Murray was Jackson’s personal physician in the weeks before he died. Murray was at his bedside trying to revive the pop star before he was taken to a Los Angeles hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Celebrity website TMZ has reported that Murray told Los Angeles police that he had administered propofol to Jackson only hours before he died, but that could not be confirmed officially.
Numerous other media organizations including the Los Angeles Times have cited unnamed sources as saying Jackson used propofol, which is sold under the trade name of Diprivan and used as an anesthetic for surgery. It is only supposed to be used while a patient is under doctor supervision.
Los Angeles coroners have said they expect to issue a report into the cause of Jackson’s death as soon as this week, following toxicology reports.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Sandra Maler