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The Situation Room
Investigation Begins Into Jackson Death; Battle Over Jackson's Children?
Aired June 26, 2009 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This hour, I will talk to the man known as the father of Motown, Berry Gordy. He will be joining us.
A sad battle may be brewing over the custody of Jackson's children -- the money and the emotional scars they may inherit from their father.
And why President Obama says he doesn't take Iran's president seriously -- new reaction to Iran's post-election crackdown and its taunts of the West.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Looking at these live pictures of Hollywood Boulevard, where folks are coming to pay their respects to the king of pop, Michael Jackson. It's been like that in many places around the world. In fact, across the world right now, people are trying to accept and understand the sudden death of Michael Jackson.
That's only adding to the intrigue and notoriety that surrounded him most of his life. We are standing by to hear from the Los Angeles Coroner's Office that's performing an autopsy on Jackson's body today. We will bring you that briefing. We expect it to begin fairly soon. It's been postponed twice. But they say it's coming up this hour.
A former attorney for the Jackson family tells CNN he's been concerned about medications the pop star has been taking and whether that may have sent him into cardiac arrest.
And L.A. police are trying to get back in touch with Jackson's personal doctor, whose car was towed from the singer's home. We're told the car may contain medications pertinent to the investigation.
The 911 call made when Jackson apparently went into cardiac arrest was made public just a little while ago. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Fire paramedic (INAUDIBLE) emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I need to -- I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Sir, what's your address?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 100 Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles, California, 90077.
911 OPERATOR: You said Carolwood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carolwood Drive, yes.
911 OPERATOR: OK, sir, what's the phone number your calling from?
911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) exactly what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, oh, I have a -- we have a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing. He's not breathing, and we need to -- we're trying to pump him, but he's not...
911 OPERATOR: OK, OK. How old is he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's 50 years old, sir.
911 OPERATOR: Fifty? OK. He's unconscious? He's not breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's not breathing, sir.
911 OPERATOR: OK, and he's not conscious either?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not conscious, sir.
911 OPERATOR: OK. All right. Do you have him -- is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the bed sir. He's on the bed.
911 OPERATOR: OK, let's get him on the floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
911 OPERATOR: OK, let's get him down to the floor. I'm going to help you with CPR right now, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need (INAUDIBLE)
911 OPERATOR: We're on our way there. We're on our way. I'm going to do what I can to help you over the phone. We're already on our way. Did anybody see him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.
911 OPERATOR: Oh, you have a doctor there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he's not responding to anything. So, no -- no, he's not responding to CPR or anything, sir. 911 OPERATOR: Oh, OK. Well, we're on our way there. If your guy's doing CPR -- instructed by a doctor, he's a higher authority than me, and he's there on scene. Did anybody witness what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just the doctor, sir. The doctor's been the only one here.
911 OPERATOR: OK, so did the doctor see what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctor, did you see what happened, sir?
Sir, if you -- if you can please ...
911 OPERATOR: We're on our way. We're on our way. I'm just -- I'm just passing these questions onto my -- our paramedics while they're on their way there, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. He's pumping. He's pumping his chest, but he's not responding to anything sir. Please...
911 OPERATOR: OK, OK. We're on our way. We're less than a mile away. And we will be there shortly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. Thank you.
911 OPERATOR: OK, sir. Call us back if you need any help. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: That was the 911 tape that was released just a little while ago.
Let's go out to CNN's Ted Rowlands. He's outside the L.A. County Coroner's Office, awaiting this news conference.
As I say, Ted, it's been postponed twice now. We expect it to come -- to happen this hour; is that right?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we do expect it within this hour.
We just -- we don't know why it has been delayed twice. We do know that they went first to brief the family at an undisclosed location. And then they were going to brief the public. Another thing we don't know is what, if anything, of significance we're going to find out.
This is the initial briefing after the initial autopsy, which was performed earlier today. But, again, we're waiting patiently. We do expect it within this hour.
BLITZER: And then the coroner will be there. We will have live coverage. I want you to stand by, Ted.
I want to bring in Dr. Joshua Perper. He's a forensic pathologist, chief medical examiner Broward County -- that's in Fort Lauderdale. He's done many high-profile autopsies, including Anna Nicole Smith's.
Doctor Perper, let's talk a little bit about what we might be hearing from the coroner when he emerges at those microphones in the coming moments.
DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, the most important thing which is he's going to relay to us is what are the results of the autopsy, what are the physical findings, in other words, whether he found any evidence of natural disease or not.
But, even if he found evidence of natural disease, which is unlikely, because there was a recent physical examination of Michael Jackson, which was negative, and we don't have any history of a clear disease, is that he will tell us that he has to wait for toxicology.
It's possible that they are going to tell us about the urinary screen for toxic substances, which might indicate whether death is related to drugs or is contributed by drugs.
BLITZER: And because we heard from his close friend Deepak Chopra just a little while ago here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Dr. Perper. He believes that Michael Jackson was addicted to some of these narcotic painkillers and he believes that contributed to his death.
At what point would a coroner, a forensic pathologist like you, be able to make that kind of determination?
PERPER: Well, you cannot make the determination just based on the presence of the drug in the urine, because they do not necessarily reflect the blood levels.
The medical examiner would be able to make a definitive determination when he's going to have the levels of the blood in the -- of the drug in the blood, in other words, the concentration in the blood, because a drug can be low at levels which are low, at levels which are therapeutic, at levels which are toxic, or at levels which are fatal.
And that determination is going to be made according to the concentration of the drug in the blood. And, if the concentration is high, then the medical examiner will conclude that they were either the sole cause of death or a significant contributor to the death.
BLITZER: We're going to have you stand by, Dr. Perper, and help us after the coroner emerges with a statement. You will be able to assess for us what we have learned. If you can stay a little while, we would be grateful to you.
PERPER: Sure. BLITZER: Thank you very much. Dr. Joshua Perper is the chief medical examiner in Broward County in South Florida. He's done many high-profile autopsies, including the autopsy of Anna Nicole Smith.
Michael Jackson's death could lead to a legal battle over custody of his three children. Like so many aspects of the pop star's life, his family situation was complicated and rather unusual.
CNN's Kate Bolduan is looking into this part of the story for us -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at this point, it seems there are more questions than answers when it comes to the future custody of Michael Jackson's children.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Michael Jackson's three children were rarely seen. And, when they were, they often had their faces covered. Jackson infamously introduced his youngest to fans by dangling him over a Berlin hotel balcony in 2002.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BOLDUAN: Now 7 years old, Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, 12-year-old Prince Michael Jr., and 11-year-old Paris Michael Katherine face an uncertain future without the only parent they have ever really known.
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And the court is going to look at what is in the best interests of the child. One of those factors is going to be, who has had a strong relationship with those children? Who knows them the best? Who is a fit parent? Who has proven themselves to be a responsible family member?
BOLDUAN: CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom says, in typical circumstances, the surviving parent or a close relative would take over custody. But the Jackson family is anything but typical.
The two oldest children were born to Debbie Rowe, Jackson's second wife. The youngest was born to an unknown surrogate. Rowe gave up her parental rights, but later battled to get them back. In 2006, a California appeals court reinstated those rights.
CNN's Special Investigations Unit spoke to Rowe's former attorney, who says this could mean Rowe is first in line for custody of the two older children. But a court would have to decide.
Attorney Ira Spinsilver (ph) wouldn't reveal to CNN whether Rowe intended to seek custody.
BLOOM: The other biological parent -- and that is Debbie Rowe -- is presumed to get custody, if she wants custody.
BOLDUAN: A will could offer some clarity of who Michael Jackson himself wanted to care for his kids in his absence, but it's not known if he had one.
Attorney Debra Opri has represented the Jackson family in the past and was involved in the Anna Nicole Smith case. She says this shouldn't become a battle, because she thinks the kids should go with Michael's mother, Katherine Jackson.
DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY: The answer is cut and dry. It is the grandmother. It is Katherine Jackson. It is the person Michael Jackson, in my opinion, trusted most, most to take care of his kids.
BOLDUAN: "People" magazine is reporting that the kids are with their grandmother right now. One complicating factor, all the money from Jackson's estate that would go to child support could fan the flames of any custody battle -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kate Bolduan looking at this story for us.
And just a little while ago, we received a statement from Debbie Rowe Jackson.
The statement says this. She's the mother of two of Michael Jackson's kids: "Though Michael is now at peace, the world has lost a beautiful and loving soul. I appreciate the outpouring of support and prayer for Michael, all of his family, me and our children, and hope our privacy can be respected at this difficult time."
He titled one of his albums "HIStory." Michael Jackson hope facts of his life would beat out fiction. You're going to hear his haunting words in interviews over the years.
And protesting Iran -- in Sweden, demonstrators rush Iran's embassy in Stockholm, clashing with some staff members.
And apologize? After Iran's president demanded that from President Obama, President Obama has a quick answer. Wait until you hear it.
BLITZER: "Billie Jean" from the "Thriller" album. What a song.
Undeniable talent, unparalleled success, unusual scandals, all of it will be written into Michael Jackson's final biography. The boy star grew into a musical genius, but ultimately became something of a tragic figure. In interviews over the years, Michael Jackson would use haunting or disturbing words to break through tabloid fodder and tell his story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Describe the performance that you put on.
MICHAEL JACKSON, MUSICIAN: What I do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JACKSON: Well, most of my songs are fast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, what do you put into it?
JACKSON: Well, whatever I sing, that's what I really mean. Like, when I'm singing a song. I don't sing it if I don't mean it.
JACKSON: I would do my schooling, which was three hours with a tutor. And, right after, you know, that I would go to the recording studio and record. And I would record for hours and hours, until it was time to go to sleep. So, it would be nighttime.
And I remember going to the recording studio. There was a -- a park across the street. And I would see all the children playing. And they would be rooting and making noise. And I would cry. It would make me sad that I would have to go and work instead.
Oh, there's a lot of sadness about my past life and, you know, adolescence, and my father, and all of those things that just make me very, very, very sad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, he would tease you, make fun of you?
M. JACKSON: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would he -- did he ever beat you?
M. JACKSON: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did?
M. JACKSON: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that was difficult to take, getting beaten and going to stage and performing?
M. JACKSON: Yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why would he beat you?
M. JACKSON: Because he -- he saw me -- he wanted me to -- I guess -- maybe I don't know if I was a golden child, or whatever it was.
And just think. Nobody thought this would last.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
M. JACKSON: They were chanting they wanted to see the baby, so I wanted to show them the baby. I'm not going to let him fall.
It's very loving. That's what the world needs now, more love, more...
M. JACKSON: ... more heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world needs a man who's 44 sleeping in a bed with children.
M. JACKSON: No, you're making it -- no, no, you're making it all wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, tell me. Help me.
M. JACKSON: Because what's wrong with sharing love? I mean, you -- you don't sleep your kids or some other kid who needs love, who didn't have a good childhood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, I don't. I would never dream of sneaking -- sleep....
M. JACKSON: I would. I would.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, I would never dream...
M. JACKSON: Because you have never been where I have been mentally.
If you really want to know about me, there's a song I wrote, which is the most honest song I have ever written. It is the most autobiographical song I have ever written. It is called "Childhood."
M. JACKSON (singing): Have you seen my childhood?
They should listen to it. That's the one they really should listen to.
(singing): Before you judge me....
This is it. I mean, this is really it. This is the final -- this is the final curtain call. OK?
I love you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
M. JACKSON: I really do. You have to know that. I love you so much, really, from the bottom of my heart.
BLITZER: In his own words.
A secretive man, an eccentric lifestyle, and a mountain of debt, a combination that could prove tricky when it comes to untangling Michael Jackson's estate. But is there still a fortune there? And, if so, who gets it?
Plus, the man who discovered the king of pop, the Motown founder, Berry Gordy. He shares his memories of Michael Jackson. He's standing by live to join us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The L.A. County chief coroner, Greg -- Craig Harvey, is about to brief all of us on the autopsy results, the preliminary autopsy that was conducted on Michael Jackson.
We have been waiting now for several hours for this briefing. It was postponed twice. But now he's walking towards the microphones and will be speaking and giving us his preliminary results.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by to help us understand what we learn, also, Dr. Joshua Perper, the chief medical examiner of Broward County. Ted Rowlands is on the scene for us.
We're going to have live coverage right now.
There he is, Craig Harvey, the chief coroner of L.A. County, about to make a statement. He's walking up to the microphones right now. So, you know what? We will listen in to the chief coroner. He will tell us about this autopsy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been here since 6:00 this morning with our reporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look out. Look out. Let him in. Let him in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) let us in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let them in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have got more than one person. So, we're going to need this -- we're going to need some space in here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back it up, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few -- one step back from everybody, and we might be able to get everybody in here.
CRAIG HARVEY, OPERATIONS CHIEF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORONER: My name is Craig Harvey. I'm the operations chief for the Los Angeles County Coroner and the coroner spokesperson. I am here to announce that the coroner has concluded the autopsy for Mr. Michael Jackson. The cause of death has been deferred, which means that the medical examiner has ordered additional testing, such as toxicology and other studies.
Those tests, we anticipate, will take proximately four to six additional weeks to complete. At that time, once those test results have been completed, we anticipate being able to close the case and issuing a final cause of death.
There was no indication of any external trauma or any indication of foul play on the body of Mr. Jackson. And the Los Angeles Police Department has requested that a security hold be placed on the investigation of Mr. Jackson.
So, there's an extremely limited amount of information that we will be able to discuss about the case.
I have copies of our press release available.
QUESTION: Besides the toxicology, can you talk about the other additional tests?
HARVEY: The other additional tests that I'm aware of is neuropathology and pulmonary.
QUESTION: Has the family received the body yet?
HARVEY: No, they have not.
QUESTION: When will that happen?
HARVEY: I do not know.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) You were with the family this morning. How are they doing?
QUESTION: How are the family doing? How are they coping?
HARVEY: I -- I'm not aware of any of that information regarding the family.
QUESTION: How long did the autopsy take?
HARVEY: Approximately three hours.
QUESTION: Is that common?
HARVEY: That is not uncommon.
QUESTION: And why were there several delays in (OFF-MIKE) briefing (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: Why were there several delays?
HARVEY: It was just simply a matter of getting everybody together and the time involved in handling press inquiries that we have been handling. I have been a little busy.
QUESTION: Who notified the family members (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: The coroner -- the assistant chief, Ed Winter, who is out with the family now.
HARVEY: What was the question?
QUESTION: How long does it take for a body to be released to the family?
HARVEY: It's up to the family to make a mortuary selection. Once that decision has been made, the body is available for release.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) They are free to do that at this time?
QUESTION: They are free to do that at this time?
QUESTION: But they have not chosen a mortuary at this time?
HARVEY: Not to my knowledge.
QUESTION: Is it unusual that an autopsy is performed so quickly?
HARVEY: No. It's not that unusual for that kind of a turnaround.
HARVEY: Well, we know he was taking some prescription medications.
HARVEY: I can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Can you comment on...
QUESTION: ... what happened to him, ultimately?
HARVEY: What's that?
QUESTION: If those drugs affected him, ultimately?
HARVEY: I can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Is that something that will come out in the toxicology...
HARVEY: That will all be in the final autopsy report when it's available for release.
QUESTION: Was there any controversy about the death certificate signature by the doctor that was there or...
The problem with the death certificate is, there was no doctor to sign the death certificate, which then requires that the coroner become involved, because if there is no doctor to sign a death certificate, then it falls to the coroner to do that function.
So, that was -- that was why we became involved in the first place. Had he -- had he been under the care of a doctor, and that doctor been willing to sign a death certificate, the coroner would not have become involved.
HARVEY: He was pronounced in the emergency room at the hospital, yes. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)
QUESTION: Did Michael Jackson use the same drug as Heath Ledger?
HARVEY: I can't comment on any specific drugs that Mr. Jackson may have been prescribed or used.
QUESTION: ... you are saying there's no suspicious implications here about how he died (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: Not at this point, no.
HARVEY: No, there was not.
QUESTION: What do you expect to learn from the other pulmonary and the neuro (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: Those are just standard evaluations. The autopsy process is a rule-out procedure.
And you just want to make sure that all of the systems in the body are functioning normally.
HARVEY: I don't have that information.
QUESTION: Is there any injection marks?
HARVEY: No, not that I'm aware of. I couldn't comment on it if there were.
QUESTION: Is there conversation as to the doctor that was present at the time (OFF-MIKE) that doctor (OFF-MIKE) been available to talk to anyone (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: I can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Will there be special security measures taken to protect...
QUESTION: Will there be special security measures taken to protect the body?
HARVEY: Not any more than we would normally do, no.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the nature of the meeting between Mr. Winter and Michael Jackson's family?
HARVEY: Other than he's there just simply to communicate our information as the coroner to the family as the legal next of kin, that's pretty much his responsibility.
QUESTION: Could you just go over again what the next stage is for the family in terms of claiming the body? Can you just go over that again for me?
HARVEY: As far as the next of kin claiming the body?
All they simply have to do is select a private mortuary to handle the services. And then they the mortuary will present a document to us that is signed by the family. And, on the basis of that document, we will release the remains to them, and they will take it to their facility and prepare him for whatever funeral services the family has selected.
QUESTION: When is the earlier he would be -- his body can be released?
HARVEY: It's available for release now. We start releasing bodies, officially, at 6:00 p.m. this evening.
QUESTION: Were you able to determine and approximate the cause of death and time of death?
HARVEY: The time of death is what was established by the hospital in the emergency room.
QUESTION: And there's no -- would be (OFF-MIKE) if he died much prior to that time?
HARVEY: No, the time of death will remain what it was in the hospital emergency room. For now, it's by a physician.
HARVEY: Autopsy was finished at -- 3:00? Three o'clock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HARVEY: Oh, 1:00. The autopsy was finished at 1:00. Pardon.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) many different types of medications he was taking?
HARVEY: I can't comment on the types of medications. QUESTION: Who else was present besides the M.E.?
HARVEY: The police detective.
HARVEY: I believe just one detective, yes.
QUESTION: And no family members?
HARVEY: No family members would have been allowed in the autopsy room.
QUESTION: And is the family asking for a separate autopsy?
HARVEY: Not to my knowledge. I'm not aware of any requests yet.
QUESTION: Have you been able to talk to the personal physician that you wanted to talk to?
HARVEY: We have not spoken with any physician associated with Mr. Jackson or any member of the family.
HARVEY: I don't know.
QUESTION: Why does the LAPD (OFF-MIKE)
HARVEY: They're -- they have an investigation that is ongoing. And they would like that investigation to proceed without any further interference.
QUESTION: Mr. Harvey, any indication of usage of Demerol, the painkiller?
HARVEY: I can't comment on any specific drugs until the completion of the toxicology testing.
HARVEY: In general, right now, that is our current body release hours, 6:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight.
HARVEY: Correct. It's up to the mortuary to make the release arrangements.
HARVEY: It can stay overnight. Correct. And the private mortuary. All right? Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
HARVEY: Make a hole. Make a hole. I do have a card.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who is the gentleman we were just hearing from?
BLITZER: All right. So there he is, Craig Harvey of the L.A. County Coroner's Office giving us the headlines from this autopsy which has now taken places. The cause of death, he says, that decision has been deferred pending addition testing that has been ordered including toxicology tests, neuropathology test, pulmonary tests.
We've got experts who are ready to assess and help us better understand what we've just learned including our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Joshua Perper, the chief medical examiner of Broward County.
But, Sanjay, let me start with you. Tell us what we learned, in simple terms, out there.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's sort of what we expected. I think what we've been talking about all day, which is that, really, we're still left with a lot of questions, not a lot of answers.
A couple of things that they wanted to look for immediately, was there any indication that there was trauma to his body, was there any indication of foul play? And I might add to that, was there any indication of something that was just catastrophic, that was really obvious that could be definitely pointed to as a cause of death.
It sounds like none of those things were present, were true so they have decided to defer the cause of death, the final results, as you mentioned, Wolf, for several weeks, unlike four to six weeks according to what he just said. So this is a little bit what we expected.
And this is often how it goes, Wolf. As you know, you've covered a lot of stories like this. You just don't know the answers as quickly on.
BLITZER: Does it sound like it was a thorough autopsy, Dr. Perper? Three hours he said it took place?
JOSHUA PERPER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes. This sounds like a sufficient long for autopsy. Sure.
BLITZER: And do they have everything, Doctor? They're ready to release the remains to a funeral home and begin a funeral service. They have everything they need now to conduct all the additional tests, whether toxicology test or pulmonary test or whatever. They have all that material. They don't need the remains anymore.
PERPER: That's correct. They did the autopsy. They observed the finding. They took samples of the tissue and body fluids. And they are going to have everything they need at this time.
BLITZER: And when he says, Craig Harvey, Dr. Perper, that there was no indication of external trauma or foul play, that's likely to be the final determination even after four or six weeks of additional testing based on your experience?
PERPER: That's correct. That's what we expected. The interesting thing is that he did not make the statement that there's no evidence of natural disease. And he implied that there are two tests, which one of them, the neurological test, in other words, the examination of the brain, would be a standard procedure in such a case.
And the other one, the pulmonary test, is somewhat -- it will be puzzling because basically it means that maybe they saw the (INAUDIBLE), some kind of finding in the lungs which they couldn't make a determination whether this was an inflammation or pneumonia and therefore they wait for microscopic examination.
The only other test which usually is special and is done on the lungs is in cases there's an inhalation of gases, and then the particular gas which was inhaled can be determined to be present in the lungs but it's very unlikely in this case.
BLITZER: Go ahead, finish your thought, Doctor.
PERPER: I would say that basically what he said, what he implied that there was nothing dramatic in terms of physical finding to indicate any kind of natural disease. Without microscopic examination might show some changes like microscopic examination of the heart may show some inflammation or what we call myocarditis.
But, I think it's very unlikely. And therefore, it seemed that the medical examiner's office in Los Angeles concentrate almost solely, at this time, or primarily, rather, on the toxicological finding and the therefore there's a strong suspicion that this is a drug related or medication related death.
BLITZER: Sanjay, in addition to being a neurosurgeon, you're also a medical -- a certified medical examiner. Help me understand, specifically, because we heard from Deepak Chopra, a good friend of Michael Jackson earlier. He says that he believes these narcotic prescription drugs he was taking contributed to his death.
They're going to be taking pulmonary tests now with whatever parts of the body they have there to deal with the lungs, neuropathology test that deals with the brain, toxicology tests. Help me understand if they will be able to nail this down, definitively, whether prescription, pain killers, narcotic drugs, contributed to his death.
GUPTA: It is a big puzzle. I'm sorry. BLITZER: Go ahead, Sanjay. Sanjay, go ahead.
GUPTA: Yes. It's a sort of a big piece of a puzzle. We know at the end of life your heart stops. And that's sort of what the cause of death is. But the question they're trying to answer is what caused his heart to stop.
And as you mentioned, they're sort of taking off the laundry list of things that might be playing a role here. Your question is, are they going to, for sure, come up with a definite cause and effect, the answer is not for sure. They may have certain presence of medications and chemicals that are in his urine, and then confirmed at certain levels on his bloodstream.
In isolation, were they high enough to cause someone to either stop breathing or have some sort of heart event? May be hard to say. Was it in combination with other medications that caused the problem? They're going to have to be making some putting of the pieces of the puzzle together to figure that all out.
But the answer to your question is, not for sure, even after six weeks will we know what exactly caused his death.
BLITZER: And you want to add a point, D. Perper. Go ahead.
PERPER: I don't think I agree with a statement because I believe that after the four to six weeks, they are going to be able to arrive at clear toxicological results, whether it was a drug alone or mostly a combination of drugs. They will be able to say that this is what caused the death, the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson.
In other words, it seems quite clear to me that this is a direction which is going to yield the results. And I don't think that there's any evidence at this time that such result would not occur.
BLITZER: Sanjay, you want to add any point before I let go?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, I think, you know, you're starting to rule out things at this point. By virtue of the history, by virtue of the autopsy so far. You've got a lot of evidence pointing towards toxicology. We're going to have to see if they can put it all together and figure out whether or not the combination of medications or any -- again any medication isolation was that a high enough dose to cause the problems that we saw today? So that's going to be the work that's taking place over the next six weeks.
BLITZER: And once there's -- there's no final decision on the cause of death. That decision has been deferred by the coroner's office in Los Angeles. They say they need an additional four to six weeks of tests to come up with their final decision.
Dr. Perper, thanks so much for helping us throughout the day.
PERPER: You're welcome.
BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks to you, of course, as well. Let me bring in two other authorities on what's going on in the Michael Jackson death. Jim Moret, our old friend, a former CNN anchor. He's the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." He's also an attorney. And Bob Rasmussen, he's the dean of the University of Southern California Law School.
Jim, I want your thoughts on what we just heard from Craig Harvey of the coroner's office.
JIM MORET, INSIDE EDITION CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Sanjay Gupta just said there are more questions at this point than answers, and I think that -- the questions in particular are, there was a doctor who was identified in the 911 call as being in the room with Michael Jackson when he was in this distress.
The LAPD wants to talk to this doctor. Why was this doctor reportedly living at Michael Jackson's house? We also heard from Brian Oxman, the former family attorney, who yesterday on CNN quite emphatically stated that he was always concerned about drugs and their link to possible death in Michael Jackson's case, if something wasn't done.
He even compared Michael Jackson's case to Anna Nicole, calling people around Michael Jackson enablers. And they're clearly looking at toxicology as one of the causes. So at this point, we're early in the investigation, but it's leading down a horrible road that we've seen before.
BLITZER: Because he did say -- Dean Rasmussen, he did say that the -- Craig Harvey of the coroner's office that there was no indication of external trauma or foul play. And we assume that that conclusion will hold.
BOB RASMUSSEN, DEAN, USC LAW SCHOOL: Yes, I don't think you can see any evidence that's going to overturn that conclusion. And as I think as every is speculating, the question is, what was inside his body, not what happened outside his body.
BLITZER: And so where does this go from here, Dean?
RASMUSSEN: I think one of the questions is, you know, where is Michael Jackson's finances? We may have a sad situation here where the biggest pop star of all time could have died insolvent.
BLITZER: What does it mean for the kids?
RASMUSSEN: Unless he was able to put some assets away in a valid trust well before his financial problems arose, it could very well mean that they don't see anything.
BLITZER: That would be pretty shocking, given how many records he sold over the years, how many concerts were sold out, Jim Moret, and you covered him for a long time out there.
MORET: Well -- and there's always been talk about Michael Jackson spending much more than he earned. The good thing here is his spending has stopped. But I want to bring up another point. And that is the value of Michael Jackson's name and likeness. You saw this outpouring of support and the fans around the world who were stunned and saddened by Michael Jackson's death.
And when you look back at Elvis Presley's death which may have more similarities that we even cared to go through now, but Michael Jackson's estate may grow in value because you see a renewed interest in his catalog of music and a renewed interest in his name and likeness.
In Elvis Presley's case, that name and likeness sold recently for $100 million. So even if he is insolvent at death, Michael Jackson, his future earnings could possibly support those children.
BLITZER: And it's pretty amazing, when you think about it, Dean, that he may be worth a lot more now, potentially, than he was alive.
RASMUSSEN: He could, as Jim said. You know there's no more expenses. And what we're seeing on traffic, for example, iTunes and things like that, there's renewed interest in Michael Jackson's music. This could actually be recruit for him a whole new group of fans who hasn't been exposed to his music in the past.
BLITZER: Bob Rasmussen is the dean of the USC Law School and Jim Moret is the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in.
RASMUSSEN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: He's the father of Motown. The man who launched Michael Jackson on the road to super stardom. Berry Gordy, he's standing by live to join us with his memories of the king of pop.
BLITZER: Whenever we heard acoustic version of "I'll be there" I get chills. Just listening it brings back lots and lots of memories. What a song.
The father of Motown, Berry Gordy, is the man who discovered the king of pop. And Berry Gordy is joining us now from Los Angeles.
Berry, what can I say. I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. My deepest, deepest condolences to you, someone who loved Michael Jackson all these years. Give us some thoughts at this really sad moment.
BERRY GORDY, FOUNDER, MOTOWN RECORDS: Well, first of all, in the midst of all my sadness and depression about the events, I have to say that I am quite pleased at the outpouring of love that has come from around the world and here.
It's -- it's the kind of love that he deserves to have. And I'm so pleased with that because it's -- I'm just sorry he can't be here to see it because it is quite incredible.
BLITZER: Tell us something about Michael Jackson that we don't know but you want to share with us.
GORDY: Well, I don't know what you don't know, but I know when I first met him, I recognized immediately after I fought to not have an audition with him but Suzanne de Passe insisted that I meet with these kids and audition them.
And as soon as I did, I realized there was something so special about them that I had just gotten a new video recorder and I just sent for it and said get me that video recorder immediately because these guys are something special.
BLITZER: And you had special groups in Motown and the Temptations and the Supremes, and all those Smokey Robinson, but you immediately sensed that Michael Jackson was unique.
GORDY: Yes. But, as a kid, you know, you know, it was different than anyone I had other than Stevie Wonder. And he was the reason that I did not want more kid acts because he had an entourage, you know, a teacher, a tutor, you know, and a producer, and he had all these people with him.
And so when she told me about another kids group, I said wait a minute, I've got all these other stars and I -- the last thing I want is a kids group. But when I saw them they're no longer were a kids group, they were sensations.
They were tremendous and the lead singer, Michael, was just so incredible. And immediately, I was up all night trying to think of the type of song that would create excitement among people.
BLITZER: When was the last time, Berry, you actually spoke with Michael Jackson?
GORDY: It's been some time. At some affair here, we met and we talked. I'm not sure what that affair was but I remember Larry King was there was some function in L.A. here. And we all got together with Michael at the time. Larry, me and a few other people and he was a guest at that night.
I don't know, for sure, when it was. And maybe a few months back. But, I have not seen him since then.
BLITZER: We spoke with his friend of 20 years plus, Deepak Chopra, who really is suspicious that he was addicted to these narcotic painkillers and that contributed to his death. Do you have any reason to believe that?
GORDY: No. I can't -- I don't have a reason to believe or disbelieve because I wasn't, you know, in that inner circle that was around Michael during the last -- you know, the last few years.
BLITZER: As someone who really knows this business, do you think his comeback tour that he was scheduled to begin within only a few weeks was going to be a huge success or a failure?
GORDY: Well, knowing Michael, it would have been a huge success, for sure, because Michael was a perfectionist. He wanted perfection. You know, when he worked on a project, it wasn't about anything but the work, the project. And he would spend a fortune and usually too much money making videos or spending whatever it took.
So this was a tour that meant a great deal to him. He would have made it work because he had sold out dates already. And so it was a matter of his getting out there, doing his perfectionist routine that he works on night and day all the time.
BLITZER: Did you get the sense, because you worked with him, obviously, when he was a little boy with the Jackson 5 growing up that this was a young man who was being abused by his father. He was tormented. Or, because we've all heard and read the stories over the years.
GORDY: I personally had no indication that he was being abused by his father. I met his father several times. And I was never around -- I knew that they were very disciplined when they came to me, all of them. And we had no problems with them being on time. Rehearsal times, we would not allow anyone to come to their rehearsal.
They rehearsed every day. I moved them from Detroit, where I met them, out to California. And they ended up living with me because the last -- the first place they lived, they were making too much noise with their rehearsals.
And so I moved them in with me and we had a chance to work on their first four songs that they did that was produced by me and a group of people called The Corporation and that was the first group in history, as I understand it, that where their first four number one records went to number one. First four records went to number one.
And, they just, you know, they were just incredible. Once we put them on "The Ed Sullivan Show, " and Suzanne de Passe did an incredible job, there was Shelly Berger, who was the manager who worked for me, started booking them. And he guaranteed me that their very first date they would make $25,000, their first date.
And that was like impossible for a new group who had never had a date before. And Shelly Berger was right. And they went on from there to become what they became.
BLITZER: Amazing. And we want to thank you, Berry Gordy, not only for Motown, which was historic, of course, and all of us who grew up in Motown loved Motown. We want to thank you, but we -- especially on this day, we want to thank you for discovering Michael Jackson and bringing the Jackson 5 to the world. Appreciate it very much.
GORDY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Berry Gordy, a legend in his own time and certainly somebody we greatly respect and admire.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, Deepak Chopra, some haunting words from a very close friend of Michael Jackson. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: One of Michael Jackson's oldest and closest friends says the star waged a long battle with addiction. And he has no doubt it was drugs that helped to kill him. The author, Deepak Chopra, knew Jackson for 20 years and I spoke with him a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR & SIRIUS RADIO HOST: After the trial in 2005, Michael came and spent a week with me. He stayed at my house. He came to our center. And at one point, he suddenly asked me for a prescription. He knew I was a physician. I had a DEA license.
And he asked me for a prescription for a narcotic. And I said what the heck do you want a narcotic for, a prescription for? And it suddenly dawned on me that he was already taking these and that he had probably a number of doctors who are giving him these prescription.
So I confronted him with that. And at first he denied it. Then he said he was in a lot of pain. He said he had back pain. I knew all the pain was muscle aches and pain, and muscular and skeletal pains from the stress that he was going through.
I said Michael, you don't need these drugs for that. There's so many ways to do it. And for awhile, I lost him. You know I've had that happen with me with other celebrities in Hollywood. There's a plethora of doctors in Hollywood that are drug peddlers, Wolf. They are drug pushers. They just happen to be having a medical license.
And I hope that this episode today, this tragic death of a great human being will bring to life the huge problem we have in Hollywood with some of the medical establishment, the celebrity doctors who not only initiate people into the drug experience, but then they perpetuate it. So that the people become dependent on them.
I will be bold enough to identify these people at a certain time, but I think the police should do their own investigation. I think this is something that really should be investigated because it's a disease. The number one cause of drug addiction in the world, and particularly in the United States, is not street drugs, but medical prescriptions given legally by physicians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Deepak Chopra was friends with Michael Jackson for 20 years and speaking rather candidly about how he feels about what happened.
We're going to leave you with one of my personal favorites, Michael Jackson and some of the biggest stars singing, "We Are the World."