MADRID (Reuters) - A week before jury selection begins in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, the late singer’s father renewed calls for a federal probe into his son’s death based on his belief a conspiracy was at work.
Joe Jackson, in Madrid to promote a worldwide tour of the hit Spanish musical “Forever King of Pop,” said on Friday he believes Dr. Conrad Murray was acting on behalf of other people involved in Michael’s career and said Michael had warned his family he would be killed over the publishing rights to hit songs such as “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.”
“I want to get the other people that’s involved, not just Dr. Murray. That’s why I‘m trying to get a federal investigation, so they can grab them all,” Jackson said.
He characterized Murray as “just the fall guy,” in an interview with Reuters, but declined to say who else he thought might be to blame in the death of his superstar son.
“I‘m not calling names, but they know who they are,” said the patriarch of the family of Jackson singers who helped define the Motown sound of the late 1960s and ‘70s.
“Michael knew that something was going to happen to him before it happened,” said Joe Jackson, who wore his customary black fedora and gold chains.
Michael Jackson, dubbed the King of Pop for his many hits, died in 2009 at age 50 in Los Angeles of a drug overdose only days before he was to begin a series of comeback concerts in London. Murray was hired by concert promoters AEG Live to care for the singer as he rehearsed, and he was giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol to help him sleep at home.
But propofol typically is used in hospitals, not as a sleep aid. Coroners have ruled propofol was the key drug that caused Jackson’s death and prosecutors have charged Murray with involuntary manslaughter for improperly administering it.
Murray has pleaded not guilty, and lawyers begin jury selection next week for a trial set to begin in Los Angeles on May 9.
Joe Jackson was in Madrid to present an agreement between the Jackson Family Foundation and the Summum Music production company for a worldwide tour of the hit Spanish musical “Forever King of Pop,” which the Jackson family has chosen “to represent Michael’s legacy across the world.”
Earlier this week Jermaine Jackson, the brother of Michael and a member of the Jackson Five singers, reached a deal with Crown publishing to release a memoir detailing his brother’s life and promising to leave “no subject off limits.”
In his life, Michael Jackson had claimed his father was abusive.
On Friday, Joe Jackson declined to comment on Jermaine’s book, saying he was working on his own. He did not give details of his memoir, other than saying it would look at his “hard times” early in life, raising a family, working many jobs and molding his sons into the pop stars they eventually became.
Jermaine Jackson’s book, titled “You Are Not Alone: Through a Brother’s Eyes,” is set for release in fall 2011.
Among the legacies left by the King of Pop, Joe Jackson highlighted his son’s entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. “Thriller” remains the top-selling album of all time.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to beat that,” Joe Jackson said. However, he predicted Michael’s youngest son, Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, would follow in his father’s footsteps.
“He reminds me of Michael when he was small. Some people say there’s never going to be another Michael in this life time. Well, we already have one, and he just happens to be a Jackson.”
Additional reporting by Iciar Paneda; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte