Kevin Mazur/AEG via Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/AEG via Getty Images
The cause of Michael Jackson's death? Homicide.
According to a published report citing a law enforcement official close to the case, the popster died as the result of criminal wrongdoing, making it likelier than ever that his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, will now face involuntary manslaughter charges.
Meanwhile, E! News has obtained a search warrant affidavit unsealed today in Houston that quotes Los Angeles County Coroner's officials as saying Jackson had lethal levels of propofol in his system when he died.
"Toxicology analysis shows Michael Jackson had lethal levels of propofol in his blood," reads the court document.
Per the affidavit, Murray told the LAPD he'd been treating the 50-year-old singer for insomnia for six weeks and giving him 50 milligrams of the powerful anesthetic intravenously every night.
The doctor not only acknowledged that he obtained and administered propofol on June 25, the morning Jackson died, but he also admitted to leaving the King of Pop under the influence of the drug when he left the room to tend to other business.
The plot thickens.
According to Murray's account, Jackson was having trouble sleeping the night of June 24. Noticing that the Moonwalker was forming what he believed was an addiction, the doctor claimed he had been trying to wean him off propofol for some time with little success and, as a result, initially withheld the drug traditionally used only in hospitals and monitored by an anesthesiologist.
Instead, he gave Jackson the milder sedative Valium at 1:30 a.m. With Jackson still awake, he next tried giving him a shot of lorazepam at 2 a.m. followed by midazolam. When those failed to have any effect, Murray said he then decided to give him 25 milligrams of propofol, which induced sleep right away.
But in perhaps the affidavit's biggest bombshell, the cardiologist admitted to detectives that he left Jackson alone to go make phone calls to his Houston office and family members. When he returned, Murray found Jackson had stopped breathing. He immediately began performing CPR as one of the entertainer's employees dialed 911.
Such admissions don't bode well for the doc, whom police are considering charging with involuntary manslaughter. However, while it's now coming out that M.J. had lethal levels of the drug in his body, the L.A. County Coroner's office still has not issued an official cause of death.
Autopsy results have been delayed indefinitely.
One thing Murray can breathe a little easier about: Per the Los Angeles Times, investigators have not discovered any evidence that the doc bought propofol under his medical license or that he had obtained it illegally, noting Jackson had apparently been prescribed the medication from several other doctors, two of whom were reportedly based in Germany.
Meanwhile, Jackson's family is standing by for answers.
"The Jackson family has full confidence in the legal process, and commends the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department," family rep Ken Sunshine said in a statement Monday.
"The family looks forward to the day that justice can be served."
(Originally published Aug. 24, 2009, at 1:49 p.m. PT)