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CNN Larry King Live
Michael Jackson Drug Abuse Details Emerge
Aired July 10, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Jackson's shocking pill habit and what he allegedly did to feed it. Confidential documents reveal that he popped dozens a night just so he could sleep.
Plus, Joe Jackson, the singer's dad, speaks out and blames foul play for his son's passing.
Then, the investigation into Michael's mysterious death -- where does it stand right now?
And we're going to go live to the memorial service in Jackson's hometown. Fans in Gary, Indiana say good-bye to a favorite son next on LARRY KING LIVE.
You're now looking live at a memorial service for Michael Jackson taking place at a baseball field in Gary, Indiana. The singer's father, Joe Jackson, is there. And we'll be bringing it to you throughout the hour.
But first, let's talk about developments in the investigation today.
CNN's Ted Rowlands is with us.
Attorney Mark Geragos is in New York. He's here, as well. And he was Michael Jackson's lawyer, by the way, at one time.
And Robin Sax, deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, joins us, too -- all right, Ted, what is this about we know more about pill use?
What do we know?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the pill use, we're getting -- every day, there's more people coming out of the woodwork, obviously, Larry, saying that Michael Jackson was addicted to X, Y and Z.
What's now come out is some circumstantial evidence that he may have had a severe addiction problem back when Mark was actually representing him during that child molestation trial.
A security guard told Santa Barbara County investigators that he was taking 10 -- in excess of 10 Xanax pills a night to sleep.
But this is just the latest, obviously, in a long series of people coming forward.
KING: Mark, what does all that mean?
MARK GERAGOS, MICHAEL JACKSON'S ONETIME ATTORNEY: I don't know what it means. A lot of the -- a lot of the stuff that's come out today are documents that were filed in connection with the search warrants years ago. And they basically were affidavits of cops who said they interviewed somebody and somebody told them something.
So they were double hearsay. And I've never put much stock in any of that, other than somebody who's got an ax to grind. And I don't know what something five years ago informs what happened now. And like I say, all it was, was allegations at the time and it's just rehashed allegations now.
KING: It seems peculiar to me.
Robin, last night, Ted interviewed police Chief Bratton, who said there was -- this could become a homicide investigation.
How does this figure as homicide?
ROBIN SAX, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, L.A. COUNTY: Well, the way that the law works here in California is there's different types of homicide law. And you can have murder -- first degree murder, which is what we normally hear about -- specific intent to kill. But in this case, this would be an involuntary manslaughter type of case. And that's what Bratton would be looking at.
KING: A doctor would be charged?
SAX: That's correct. Whether or not someone gave Mr. Jackson medication -- pills, whatever -- that they knew that could likely cause him to kill himself.
KING: Of course, a doctor getting paid by Mr. Jackson would be unlikely want to kill him.
SAX: That's correct but -- you would hope not.
But what the -- what would happen is that, you know, Mr. Jackson, having a drug problem, could seek -- seeing a doctor, trying to get a prescription for whatever drugs. And the drugs that we've seen in this case so far come forward are drugs that only a doctor could prescribe.
KING: Ted, logically, don't we really have to -- all this is conjecture until you get an autopsy?
ROWLANDS: Oh, absolutely. That's what Chief Bratton said yesterday, was that they're moving forward to cover themselves if it becomes a homicide investigation. But, clearly, they said the coroner's got the next move in this. Wait for the toxicology to come back and then they can move forward. KING: Mark, is it logical to move forward here if a doctor over prescribed?
GERAGOS: Well, the -- you know, there is some precedent for it recently, when the attorney general charged various people in connection with Anna Nicole Smith. And as Robin says, they can do it as a manslaughter. They also -- there's a recent California Supreme Court case which would give them some impetus, if they wanted to charge it as an implied -- what's called an implied malice second degree murder.
And what they're saying is, in line with your comment, nobody -- you don't have to have that intent to kill. But if there's just such reckless disregard or gross negligence, rising to a level where somebody knew or should have known, that could imply the malice and somebody could -- arguably, some ambitious or aggressive prosecutor could file charges up into including second degree murder.
KING: Now, Robin, is that a tough one to prove?
SAX: Well, I think there are difficulties in this case. You have a causation here. First of all, there are so many doctors in Michael Jackson's life, so many different people.
KING: Who do you blame?
SAX: Who do you blame?
Which doctor, which prescription, which drug was the lethal drug?
Was it the combination of the drugs?
Was it the reaction of different types of drugs?
So I think you're going to have -- whether, even if there is disregard and reckless disregard, as Mark is saying, you still have a causation of being able to point the finger at someone.
And who is that?
KING: What's the latest on the -- on the body, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Well, that's a still big mystery of where the body is. There's reports that the LAPD helped facilitate the removal of it from the Staples Center. And the family basically is saying we don't want to talk about it, because, clearly, they haven't made a decision on what they want for Jackson's final resting spot.
So it's -- it's a mystery, but the family wants it that way. And, clearly, if we knew where the body was, the press, unfortunately, they'd be camped outside that mortuary with they don't -- they don't want that.
KING: Mark, why can't he be buried at Neverland?
GERAGOS: Well, he could. He's got to -- the family would have to first get permission from the state and then, secondarily, from the county authorities.
I would imagine that, you know, he's a beloved figure in that county, especially in the northern end of that county. I would imagine that they probably would grant permission. And if they did, then they could bury him there.
And it's the -- it's up to the family to decide where they want to bury him. And whether or not the county is going to allow them to do it, I think, is secondary.
KING: Robin, if the autopsy says accidental death, not conclusive, does that end all this homicide business?
SAX: Well, it depends how much pressure the family brings forward in terms of -- I don't think it's going to completely end the investigation. I think that's going to -- it should. But I think that given the fact that Michael Jackson is a celebrity and now adorned the way that he has been adorned, I think that there is going to be a feeling that there needs to be some duty of due diligence in making sure that every, you know, T is crossed and every I is dotted and...
KING: There's a...
KING: There's a famous story in New York. John Garfield, the great actor -- pre-Brando actor, a terrific actor, died in unusual circumstances. He was found in bed with another woman. He was married. So there were stories like this every day in the press, until finally someone came up with a story that the next story will be Garfield's still dead.
Are we coming to that?
KING: Is Jackson still dead?
I mean how long does this go?
ROWLANDS: Well, that's a good question, because initially, I think it's going to go pretty heavy until the toxicology results come back. And then, if there is homicide as cause of death, you're going to have a whole another whoever the doctor is that gets charged, that will have a life of its own. So it could go a long -- a long way.
But it's a good question. I mean...
KING: Do, you know when we get the toxicology report?
ROWLANDS: According to the coroner I talked to yesterday, they said they're still looking at two weeks for the final report.
KING: And is that definitive?
Usually -- sometimes it's not definitive, right?
ROWLANDS: Absolutely. It may not be definitive, especially when you're talking about Diprivan, a drug that doctors say leaves the system very quickly.
KING: Thanks, Ted, as always.
Ted will be back at the end of the program.
You're looking right now at Jesse Jackson. He's at Michael's memorial in Gary, Indiana. The reverend will join us later.
More on the medical angle -- why would Michael Jackson be taking so many pills?
We're going to be joined by an addiction expert next.
Stay with us.
KING: That was moments ago at the Jackson memorial in Gary, Indiana -- dancers performing a routine to "Thriller" -- a tribute to the hometown hero, Michael Jackson.
Mark Geragos and Robin Sax remain with us.
We're joined now by Dr. Reef Karim, a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction. He's medical director of the Control Center in Beverly Hills.
What do you make of these reports that Michael was taking 10 Xanax pills a night?
And, again, that's not a fact.
DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST, ADDICTION EXPERT: Right. Ten Xanax pills -- it depends on what dose it is. There's -- there's two milligram pills, one milligram .5, .25. You know, it's -- it's used for anxiety. It's used for panic attacks. If it's .25 milligrams and there's 10, that's not that much.
KING: This will...
KARIM: But if it's two milligrams, it's a -- it's a fair amount. It's a lot.
KING: It's reported that he had employees getting drugs for him.
KARIM: Yes, that's...
KING: What kind of signal does that send to you?
KARIM: A big, huge red flag warning sign -- danger, danger, danger. When you're -- when you're at the point where you're undergoing deception -- complete deception to allocate and design a drug use program where you can get all these drugs from other people, it's a big time red flag that you need help.
KING: Has -- have you ever heard of anyone taking Diprivan at home?
KING: It's an anesthesia?
KARIM: Yes. It's an anesthesia drug that you use in an O.R. I mean it's -- just the fact that you would have it at home is, again, red flag number two. I mean it's all adding up. It's all adding up to a definitive problem.
KING: Does it look to you like people were involved that shouldn't have been involved...
KING: ...in giving him drugs?
KARIM: Yes. Think about it. You can't get those drugs on your own. I mean if you're surrounded by a lot of people that are yes people, that -- whose jobs, whose income, whose identity is based on you, what are you going to do?
KING: A lot of people could get Xanax for you, though, right?
Michael's father, Joe Jackson, told ABC News he believes Michael's death was due to foul play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY ABC)
JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I just couldn't believe what was happening to Michael because -- I just couldn't believe it, you know what I mean. And I do believe it was foul play. I do believe that. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Robin, what do you make of that?
SAX: Well, I think that there does have an aura of foul play, especially when you're talking about drugs that most of us never even heard of until this case came about. You hear about Xanax. We hear about painkillers. But -- but hearing about anesthetics that can only be given in an O.R. in an anesthesia, it takes it to an entirely different level. KING: Mark, does that fit the term of foul play, which I think of as murder by design?
GERAGOS: Well, I think that there's that connotation that if it's foul play, that somebody did something nefarious. And I think prosecutors or police would say, if they're building a case, that the nefarious act or the foul play is by giving drugs or prescribing drugs that ended up doing something that ended up in his death.
Whether that was an overdose or whether it was suppressing his system such that he couldn't breathe anymore and went into cardiac arrest, I don't know.
All of it, as you say, though, is speculation until you get a toxicology report and until the coroner finally rules as to what happened.
KING: Doctor, people keep saying these drugs -- Vicodin, Xanax and all this -- now somebody has got to benefit from these, I would assume, or why are they on the market?
KARIM: No. These -- these are very good drugs.
KING: Are they good drugs?
KARIM: Yes. They're very good drugs, taken as prescribed. And here's the thing. There are so many Dr. Feel Goods out there. And they're making my life miserable. I mean I'm sitting here trying to get people off of these medications. That's my job, as an addiction document. I'm trying to get them off.
And I'll get somebody, they finally are sober. I got them sober a couple of months. All is good. They take a little trip over to Dr. Feel Good in the Valley and all of a sudden, they're getting 30, 60, 90 pills.
KING: The father, Joe Jackson, is now entering the memorial at the baseball park in Gary, Indiana, where, of course, all of the Jacksons were born. That's a city about 90 miles from Chicago.
Robin, does this -- as a prosecutor, would you be looking around here?
Would you be -- would you be inserting yourself?
SAX: As a prosecutor, I would want to keep my eyes wide open right now, to look at all of the people that are coming forward now, look for what everyone has to say.
I'm very curious as to Joe Jackson's position. Now, all of a sudden he's calling foul play. He's had some other interesting colorful pasts that makes me question his integrity.
So I'm looking at it all.
KING: Well, how would he know if there was foul play there? SAX: Especially if he didn't have a relationship with him for a number of years.
All right, we're going to take a break.
When we come back, we're going to meet two top medical examiners.
Our panel will hold, because we'll be coming back to them and back to Gary, Indiana, as the salute to Michael in his hometown continues.
Back in a moment.
KING: Father Joe Jackson is about to be -- in fact, he has been introduced at the memorial in Gary, Indiana.
J. JACKSON: You know, it's always good to come back home, you know that. But I've been around the world so many times and so it does feel good to be back home.
Jesse, how you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hear it for Joe Jackson. He'll be back just a little bit later in the program -- just a little bit later in the program. All right. The mayor's going to do the presentation. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Joe says he'll be right back up later on, OK?
All right. We're going to let him enjoy the show.
KING: We'll be back in a moment.
Don't go away.
KING: Joining us now in Pittsburgh, Dr. Cyril Wecht, the forensic pathologist and former coroner of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
And in Stanford, Connecticut, Dr. Henry Lee, professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven and author of "Blood Crimes."
Now, Dr. Wecht, what about this, from a toxicology report, would tell you there was a homicide?
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, homicide determination is a legal one, as Miss. Sax and Mark have already portrayed. It will be the determination of the prosecutor's office.
I've been involved in a few cases at the federal level, one now in West Virginia, in which charges of homicide have been brought. There's a specific federal statute if somebody supplies drugs, sells or just gives drugs resulting in someone's death...
KING: All right. Will -- all right.
Will the report then, in your opinion, be definitive?
WECHT: It will be definitive in terms of the drugs that led to his death. It will not necessarily be definitive in terms of all the drugs that have been prescribed indiscriminately, improperly for him over the years. And there's no way to determine that. He doesn't have lengthy hair which can be studied through segmental hair analysis. So you can only go back a matter of a few days or so on in the tissues...
KING: I got you.
WECHT: ...and the metabolites.
KING: Dr. Lee, how long do drugs stay in the body for determination at autopsy?
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN: Well, it depends on the type of the drug. Of course, this investigation involves a multi-faceted -- toxicologist's report, medical examiner, of course, forensic scientists and homicide investigator, if it's a homicide.
We have to look, say, use two different approaches, one called data mining. The second one is a record cross checking.
The data mining, you have to seize all the records from the physician's office, including the computer. Then we look at all the drugs seized in any pills or vials from his home, try to cross check them, look at the names, look at the date, look at the pharmacy, whether or not it was prescribed to Jackson himself or his friends or an employee -- try to do a data mining and determine that's a homicide or not.
KING: I've got you.
Dr. Wecht, if it...
KING: Dr. Wecht, if Diprivan is found, which is an anesthesia, performed in a hospital, would that automatically indicate, to you, foul play? WECHT: Well, I would not call it foul play as we use it as forensic pathologists in coroners and medical examiners' offices. That is used to indicate that somebody did something of a deliberate nature.
However, if Diprivan was given to Michael Jackson -- prescribed by some physician -- and it was administered by him or anybody else at his home, then as far as I'm concerned, it goes beyond negligence. It goes beyond simple malpractice. It rises to the level of gross wanton negligence, which, as I understand it, is manslaughter.
Diprivan is a hypnotic anesthetic. It is to be used only in hospitals by an anesthesiologist, a trained nurse anesthetist. You have to watch the respiratory rate. You have to watch the heartbeat, the pulse, the blood pressure, because that drug can produce a marked drop in blood pressure, all of a sudden can lead to respiratory depression. And you have to have all of the armamentarium that an anesthesiologist has at his or her...
KING: All right...
WECHT: ...disposal. You don't have that at somebody's home. That goes beyond simple negligence, well, I prescribed...
KING: Yes. And Doctor...
WECHT: ...a few more drugs unnecessarily.
KING: Doctor Lee, I had Diprivan recently in a hospital for a cataract surgery. It was very simple and very effective. And I woke up and in a minute it was like gone.
How long does it stay in the system?
LEE: Well, it's supposedly only a few hours after you wake up and -- but some, you know, it depends on what the dose is and how long, you know, being -- you being used that quite a bit with other drug and maybe it will stay in your system longer.
KING: Would an autopsy show it, Dr. Wecht -- always, would it show Diprivan if that was in the body?
WECHT: Well, as -- as Henry has pointed out, it does lead to a metabolism very quickly. But it will be present for a few hours. And they will be looking for it not only in the blood, but in the tissues. And that kind of analysis will take a while.
And by the way, Larry, I think that they would be very wise if they also sent specimens to a separate, independent forensic toxicology lab for corroboration, for backup in a case of this nature. And I would be willing to bet that they -- they may well have done that.
So they'll look for metabolites of all the drugs that have been mentioned on your program and that have been referred to previously...
WECHT: ...to see whether there's any evidence of those drugs in his system.
KING: So, Dr. Lee, then, this -- if you're going to send it to other labs, this is not an exact science?
LEE: Oh, that's an exact science. Of course, you know, any leading toxicologist, they can do a lot of different analysis to confer. And to date, the instrumentation is so good and I don't think any problem. Just confirmation, basically, to back up the study.
KING: All right. I got you.
Thanks, Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Henry Lee, two of the top pathologists in the country.
We'll be back with Dr. Reef Karim, Mark Geragos and Robin Sax.
What, if any, are the similarities between the Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith cases, if any?
We'll talk about that after the break.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist; Mark Geragos, defense attorney; and prosecutor, Robin Sax, author, by the way, of "Predators and Child Molesters."
Any of you see a similarity with Anna Nicole Smith?
SAX: Well, I think the similarity, clearly, is in the drug use and the sad, awful story and the tragedy of loss with young kids. I see that as being similar.
But I also see a lot of differences in terms of the caretaking. I think Anna Nicole Smith's caretaking was much more limited to one or two people, as opposed to the plethora of people Michael Jackson had around.
KING: Chief Bratton spoke about this last night with doctors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE: In looking at his prescription drug history, the doctors that he's dealt with over the years, we have the cooperation of the DEA and the state attorney general's office, who keep those records. So those are being looked at by our personnel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mark, you're a defense attorney.
Are they going about this the right way?
GERAGOS: Well, there's only, basically, one way that they can go about it at this point. Until they get records back and that they can determine what the cause of death was and whether or not there's a toxicology report that shows levels, there's only so much they can do.
And what Henry was describing in terms of taking a look at whatever pill bottles were found and then going back and seeing who prescribed it and whether or not the -- a certain doctor knew that other doctors were also prescribing, that's generally kind of the Investigation 101.
KING: All right. So they're -- they're staying right to core, in your opinion?
GERAGOS: Yes. This is...
GERAGOS: This is standard operating procedure. And the A.G.'s office being involved and the DEA being involved is appropriate, especially in a case that's this high profile. There's always going to be -- every alphabet agency is going to be involved in order to determine whether or not there's been any kind of misconduct.
KING: Dr. Karim, you deal with people who are addicted, right?
KING: Explain something baffling to me.
KING: If I told you, see these drugs, they kill people...
KING: If you take these, you're going to die.
KING: A lot of times you get overdosed, you're going to get habitually addicted, why would anybody start with them?
KARIM: Why would they start with them?
Why would anybody take a drug? KARIM: Here's the thing. If -- if it's an illegal drug, like a heroin, a cocaine, I get -- I totally get what you're saying, right. But some people are really unhappy in life. Some people are really anxious in life. Some people get access. And it's not like we all walk around and the addicts in society have a big A on their forehead to know that they're addicts. A lot of people don't know they're addicts.
KING: Could a doctor know if someone is susceptible to addiction? Someone should not be prescribes Vicodin.
KARIM: Somebody with a genetic history, a family history of addiction, somebody who has a mental health disorder. Yes, they could be more vulnerable than anyone else.
And in the future, we're going to do chromosomal typing. We're going to look at something called endophenotexture (ph). We're going to know what specific people, based on their genetic history, are more susceptible to addiction.
KING: If there is a prosecution, suppose a doctor is arrested and charged, would you prosecute that vigorously?
SAX: I absolutely would prosecute it vigorously. I think that there is not enough coordination that's done, actually, between the agencies, between the state in terms of holding doctors accountable for a huge, huge lethality and addiction. And I think there needs to be a precedent set and be able to help people get out of their own way.
KING: If there's an assumption that Michael was a predator -- since he was found not guilty, it would be an assumption -- wouldn't that benefit the defendant?
SAX: Would that benefit the --
KING: Because the jury would say, Michael Jackson brought it on himself. He was a bad guy.
SAX: Well, I don't think -- I think you kind of have to equate it like to gang crime. When you deal with a gang crime, you have the murdered -- the victim is a murderer themselves. But you have to look at it as the crime itself. Here I look at the doctor completely separate from the personality of Michael Jackson. And I imagine that all that evidence about his past and sexual abuse would be excluded.
KING: Mike, why are doctors susceptible to celebrities and giving of drugs?
GERAGOS: Because they're human just like anybody else. I think part of the problem with prosecuting cases like this is the argument, the obvious argument is, look, if this doctor wasn't doing it, some other doctor was. Clearly, when Chief Bratton talks about the numbers of doctors that they're investigating, that would be, from a defense standpoint, the first place that you'd point. You'd say, how do I know, if I'm a doctor, that doctors A, B, C, D, all the way down to doctor Z, wasn't the one who was also prescribing. He wasn't telling me. If he wasn't coming to me, go to somebody else.
So it's an entirely very difficult kind of thing, I think, to prosecute. Although, at a certain point, if it's over a period of time, then you have to show that there's a problem. I think Cyril's point earlier, though, is probably one of the most telling. If there is something like Diprivan there, if you can show that somebody prescribed it or that they gave it to him and he was in home use -- and all of this is speculation, obviously -- then that's a real problem.
That, in and of itself -- if you parade in as a prosecutor the number of witnesses who say, no, this should never be in the home; it should only be in a hospital; that's something that is going to resonate with jurors.
KING: Yes. Mark and Robin will be back with us. Dr. Karim will be with us on another night, I'm sure, because this is never-ending. Jesse Jackson is next. Don't go away.
KING: All right, we go now to Gary, Indiana, where Reverend Jesse Jackson is standing by. What's that scene been like, Jesse?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: This is phenomenal, you know. In Hollywood, we saw the finished products, the Lionel Richie, the Jennifer Hudson, the Stevie Wonder. Here is the raw product.
You are discussing now the X, Y, Zs of Michael's life. Here are the ABCs. Here's where it all began. Eleven people, nine of them living in a four-room house on Jackson Street. And that was his first platform to learn the dance, to sing, a father, two jobs, a disciplinarian who taught music by night, a mama who was a seamstress.
This is the family origin of this great family.
KING: What's the reaction of the people of Gary toward him?
JACKSON: They feel so proud of the fact that he came from here. But they also talk so much about the Jackson family and its values. You know, when you think about 11 people living in four rooms, six boys in bunk beds in one room, with their parents and three girls in the front, and then that house had a structure, a work ethic, a sharing of responsibility, a sense of mutual obligation.
Michael comes from these origins. So that's just the family comes. And of course when you have a two-parent household, religious values and strong discipline, it creates great by-products.
KING: Jesse, isn't middle America kind of bothered by all they hear about Michael?
JACKSON: Yes, they hear a lot. But what they know is that he was to them the most phenomenal recording artist in the history of the world. For him, they were proud of him, a hometown boy who made good. And that's the balance of what they hear and what they know.
I think, in the end, he'll be known by his musical genius, by his dance, and by his innovation. They do not know quite what all of the innuendoes and rumors mean. So they're more patient than people who have to put up with 24-hours news cycles.
KING: As a man of the cloth, are you concerned if there was drug use and improperly given by doctors? Does it bother you?
JACKSON: It bothers me very much that we know that the doctor did not talk with the parents, did not talk to the coroner, did not talk sign the gift certificates, was alone enough for his car to be impounded, only showed up later with a lawyer.
It raises very suspicious questions, of course. And went from inquiry to investigation, it does concern me. And that Michael was involved in self-prescribed drugs were hurtful to him. And here's a doctor. Why didn't the doctor do his hypocritical -- his Hippocratic oath and do his duty.
We don't know the answers to these questions, but we're willing to wait and find out.
KING: Agreed. How's the family doing?
JACKSON: Well, it seems to me that you have a big family, number one. And one that has now -- they've lost a lot. They have a lot left. And the family has very strong religious values. Mrs. Jackson is a very strong, devout, practicing Jehovah's witness and so is Rebbie. At the heart of this family is this grand matriarch, and a two parent household that gives them strength and gives them guidance.
I watched them over these past few days and watched that family come together to build the great momentum we saw in the event on this past Tuesday, to watch his children interact with their grandparents in that compound, behind their cousins.
So I think, even though there are unanswered questions that they have, and there is still some angst, there is great strength in this family.
KING: Do you agree with Reverend Sharpton that Michael's importance was bigger than music? That he broke down more racial barriers than we give him credit for?
JACKSON: Well, he was a product of an era of when they were coming down. How can I put this? I first saw Michael performing for the Richard Hatcher inauguration of 1967. The Voting Rights Act had been just two years.
Then a summit at Expo. So as political walls were coming down, more blacks and whites go to school together, lived together, play ball together, sing and dance together. He was, in some ways, a product of that age and helped create it.
Before there was a Michael reaching across, there was Nat Cole doing Christmas songs, but couldn't quite get across, a 15-minute TV show without sponsors, a combination with Sinatra. So we reached out for a long time, but Michael came at a time that -- as walls were coming down, he was building bridges. It was the perfect mix for the man in his time.
JACKSON: Thank you, as always, Reverend Jesse Jackson, on the scene in Gary, Indiana, at this memorial service tonight. We'll be back in 60 seconds with more.
KING: Here's a look, by the way, at the best of -- highlights from the Michael Jackson Memorial under way in Gary, Indiana, tonight. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: An anesthesiologist who's also a pain management expert will join our panel next. What does he have to say about Michael's alleged drug use? We'll find out together.
KING: We're back. Mark Geragos, Robin Sax and Ted Rowlands remain. We're joined now by Dr. Vimal Lala, anesthesiologist, also a specialist in pain management and treatment of addiction. Ever heard of Diprivan in a home?
DR. VIMAL LALA, ANESTHESIOLOGIST, PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST: Never. There's no medical indication to use Diprivan outside of a hospital setting or an ambulatory surgery center.
KING: It must be given intravenously?
KING: Therefore, you couldn't do it yourself. There's no pill, is there?
LALA: There's no Diprivan pill. However, somebody who injects themselves with certain medications can certainly inject themselves with Diprivan.
KING: How could you possibly obtain it?
LALA: Very difficult. Even in the medical world, only people that can really obtain it are anesthesiologists or directors of a surgery center or a hospital.
KING: Now, this is still speculation. We don't know if it was in the house. We don't know if it's going to be in his body, right? If it is, would you be shocked? LALA: I would be shocked. This is the first time in my career I have ever heard of Diprivan being used in someone's home.
KING: What do you make of it, Robin?
SAX: I think that that's very telling. I think this is a drug that can't be confused with a recreational drug. This is not a drug that can be confused with having everyday practices or uses for people to use on their own. I think it's pretty damning.
KING: Ted, don't you wonder, aren't there strong sleeping pills out there that people can get?
ROWLANDS: I wonder about a lot of things in this case. One of the things with Diprivan, which is interesting, it's not regulated. So prosecuting this would be, I think, difficult, because there's no need to regulate it. It's not supposed to be outside of the hospital.
KING: It's just given in surgical matters by trained anesthesiologists, right?
KING: Mark, wouldn't that indicate if a doctor did do that in the house, that's evidence of a crime?
GERAGOS: When you just heard your previous guest say that he's never heard of that in a home setting, and I've heard, I can't tell you how many doctors say the exact same thing, that's about as damning a testimony that you could ever want if you're a prosecutor trying to prosecute somebody, and the worst thing that's coming at you if you're defending a doctor in that situation.
KING: If you take it a lot, would you even build an immunity to that, if you took Diprivan regularly?
LALA: Diprivan is so powerful that you can sort of build a mild tolerance to the medication, meaning maybe an anesthesiologist has to administer a few more milligrams to put somebody to sleep; but it's impossible to actually build an immunity to the medication.
KING: If you did it yourself, you could die easily, because you don't have oxygen and you don't a hospital scene around you?
LALA: Easily, easily. I use the medication in my practice as an interventional pain specialist about 10 to 15 times a day when I do procedures. And when I do it, there's an anesthesiologist with me that's administering the medication. And many times, if you just give a little bit too much of the medication, the patient stops breathing.
KING: It's not a pain killer, right?
LALA: No, only for anesthesia, only to induce sleep.
KING: But if you were in pain, it would take your pain away, because you'd be fast asleep, right? LALA: No.
KING: It wouldn't?
LALA: There's no pain analgesic properties of Diprivan at all.
KING: So if you were having a severe migraine and given Diprivan, you would still feel the effects of the migraine?
LALA: That's completely different, because there are studies that show that Diprivan may help ablate migraine headaches. But when we're talking about just general pain, back pain, joint pain, neck pain, there's no pain properties to the medication.
KING: Robin, doesn't this whole pain thing boggle you? The flood of it that's out there; so many people in pain, emotionally and physically.
SAX: It seems to be the convenient excuse. Everybody has some kind of pain. At what point are we going to start managing our pain and dealing with our pain short of medication and drugs?
KING: Hold on. I was hearing two things at once. I'm sorry. I think I was hearing from the service. I didn't mean to interrupt you. Ted, what do you make of it, just as a member of society?
ROWLANDS: One of the things that is interesting is that people around him, and that nurse that came forward, said that he was having trouble sleeping and this was sort of his thing. That is apparently why he was using it. As crazy as it sounds to anybody else, maybe because he apparently used it in the tour years ago. He was getting up for this tour and he was getting decent rest with this, and this was sort of his mentality.
KING: Mark, you defended him, you spent some time with him. What indications did you see, if any, of Michael and drug addiction?
GERAGOS: I will tell you that when I was representing him, and it was off and on for about 18 months, I did not see any evidence of a disabling drug addiction or anything else.
I saw somebody who was always engaged obviously in his defense and frightened to some degree about what was going on. I didn't see any evidence of what has almost become I think, in a way, a caricature of who he was.
So I don't know what to make of it. I render no opinion. I think a lot of it is speculation. I'm not so sure that a lot of the people who are out there saying certain things are actually telling the truth as they know it. The only people I think would know are people in his inner circle within the last six months to a year. As we know, not a whole lot of them are talking.
KING: Isn't that one of the grave dangers, Robin, of a story like this.
SAX: Absolutely. Fishing through --
KING: On a 24 hour news cycle, rumors become fact.
SAX: That's right. People like myself and Mark, who are -- he is in a little bit different position, because he worked with him and knows him very well. But we are speculating. We are looking at this. But I think it is clear, at least from the toxicology, or what we think the toxicology reports are going to say, that if this drug was there, and someone is using that drug to sleep, that is a problem.
KING: We don't know it? Do we, Ted?
ROWLANDS: People have been reporting daily, hourly about things that we don't know about.
ROWLANDS: A lot of it is false. Remember the first day? He had a shot of Demerol an hour before he died. No one is talking about that anymore.
GERAGOS: Larry, that's exactly the problem. This story, with the stories previous to this in the last couple of years -- obviously, there is always a scandal du jour. All of these things get reported. Some website posts it. Then somebody else picks it up. Then it's according to this source, according to that source.
Before you know it, the thing gathers momentum and is stated as fact. There is so much of this that has absolutely no basis in any fact whatsoever and it becomes so speculative. It really does a disservice to the legitimate mainstream media.
KING: Let me get a break in. Back with more of the panel. In connection with a comment made by our guest Dr. Arnold Kline on Wednesday's program, we were contacted by Uri Geller, who said he did not personally receive any money whatsoever in connection with the Martin Bashir interview with Michael Jackson. The doctor said he did. The Dr. Kline interview will be repeated tomorrow night. We'll be right back.
KING: That is the memorial service in Gary, Indiana, the hometown of the Jacksons. Let's take a call for a panel. Chicago, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I was wondering about the interaction between the Diprivan and the Xanax? Could that be the cause of the death, or the Demerol too?
LALA: All of the medications combined have a synergistic effect. Meaning you're taking Xanax; that can cause some respiratory depression, given the level of the dosage. Then you add Demerol, which is an opiate medication, which also causes sedation and respiratory depression. And then the Diprivan, that is a pretty lethal combination, if it is not in a monitored setting.
KING: So let's say it would be damaging to take Diprivan with another drug.
LALA: Of course.
KING: That is why if you are going into the hospital, they want to know what drugs you have taken in the previous 24 hours. You would want to know in a patient being operating on what is in his body?
KING: That could affect the giving of Diprivan.
KING: Does it look, Ted, if it's going this way, like they are leading to charges here, if it goes the way we are assume?
ROWLANDS: Yes, absolutely, just because of the infrastructure in place with the LAPD and the AG and the DEA all working to collect evidence. They are looking at all the doctors, looking at all the prescriptions. If indeed there is something in the blood and the coroner comes back and says this is homicide, you can bet there are going to be some charges.
Whether they will stick, who knows. But there will definitely be aggressive charges.
KING: Does it look that way, Robin?
SAX: Just from --
KING: Is that the road we are traveling?
SAX: The road we are traveling, I would like to say, is a road of investigation, a thorough investigation. It appears that if the evidence comes back where we can determine who the suspect was, and causation, what drug caused the death, then yes, I would imagine there to be charges.
KING: Mark, are you preparing to defend someone?
GERAGOS: I have been contacted. I haven't -- I don't know that I'm not conflicted in this situation. So --
KING: Have doctors have contacted you on the concept -- you can tell me without telling the name.
GERAGOS: I have. And I just haven't decided whether I'm conflicted on that. I think I probably am.
KING: Because you represented Jackson?
GERAGOS: Right. I just think that there's too many -- ethically, it is too thorny a situation for me to get into. KING: But is it a case if you were not involved with Jackson, one you would like to take?
GERAGOS: It is always -- any time you have a case where there are these kinds of issues, if you're a defense lawyer, this is the kind of case you live on, because you've got what I would consider to be an ambitious prosecution. You've got a situation where it is a novel theory to some degrees. It is kind of cutting edge in terms of using the criminal law in ways it is normally not used.
If you enjoy the intellectual exercise of being a lawyer, that is intriguing. Any defense lawyer is going to be intrigued by it.
KING: Dr. Lala, without putting words in your mind, this boggles the mind to think of that drug in the home?
KING: By the way, anesthesiologists use it. The average doctor wouldn't use it, right? There'd be no reason for a practicing physician to use it.
LALA: No. It's only used for anesthesia.
KING: That should be made clear. Only used in surgery in hospitals.
LALA: In hospitals.
KING: Or in a doctor's office? Could it be used in a plastic surgeon's office?
KING: I want to get that. Thank you all very much, panel. Ted, stay on the job. Ted Rowlands is always somewhere. We thank him and Dr. Lala, Mark Geragos, Robin Sax and our guests earlier. Tomorrow night, we repeat our interview tomorrow with Dr. Arnold Kline, and Sunday night repeat our memorial show following the memorial that was held last week at Staples.
Anderson Cooper is on assignment in Africa. Erica Hill is sitting in for him. Right now, Erica on "AC 360." Erica?