Slurring Jackson aimed to build hospital for kids
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Six weeks before Michael Jackson died, his doctor recorded the semi-comatose superstar mumbling what might have been his farewell address to the world.
In a slow, slurred voice, clearly under the influence of sedatives, Jackson spoke about leaving a performance legacy bigger than Elvis or The Beatles, and building a fabulous hospital for children with proceeds from his highly anticipated "This Is It" comeback concerts.
"Elvis didn't do it. Beatles didn't do it. We have to be phenomenal." Jackson is heard saying on the tape.
Jackson, known for donating huge amounts to children's charities, said his vision was driven by his love of children. In his ramblings, he envisioned the hospital would be big enough to aid a million children, with a movie theater and game room.
"That will be remembered more than my performances," he says. "My performances will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn't have a childhood ... I feel their pain. I feel their hurt. I can deal with it."
The full tape of the May 10, 2009, soliloquy by Jackson was played for the first time Wednesday during the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. A portion of the recording was played last week during the prosecution's opening statement.
The more than four-minute audio recording was found on Murray's cell phone by forensic digital expert Stephen Marx. There was no indication why Murray made the recording.
With Murray murmuring agreement, Jackson referred to the children of the world as "angels" and said, "God wants me to do it. I'm gonna do it, Conrad."
Murray replied, "I know you would."
And, as he had done long ago with his Neverland ranch, he spoke of a place to raise children's spirits. "They're sick because they're depressed," he said.
The tape was played by prosecutors to show that Murray knew for weeks how Jackson was reacting to heavy sedatives the doctor was administering to help his patient sleep.
Toward the end of the recording, there is a period of silence before Murray asks, "You OK?"
Eight seconds pass then Jackson mumbles, "I am asleep."
Marx, an investigator with the Drug Enforcement Administration, testified Wednesday that he retrieved another recording from Murray's phone and other files that showed he was busy e-mailing, texting and handling messages about insurance for Jackson's concerts during the time the singer was believed to be under the influence of the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Authorities contend Murray gave Jackson a lethal dose of the drug and other sedatives in Jackson's bedroom on June 25, 2009. Murray's attorneys say Jackson gave himself the fatal dose.
Prosecutors claim the doctor was too distracted to give his patient adequate care and allowed him to die on his watch.
Murray has pleaded not guilty. He could face up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
One voicemail message left for Murray came from Jackson's late manager, Frank Dileo.
"Dr. Murray, it's Frank Dileo," he was heard saying on the June 20, 2009, voicemail. "I'm Michael's manager. I'm the short guy with no hair.
"He had an episode last night. He's sick," Dileo says. "I think you need to get a blood test on him. We 've got to see what he's doing."
In the days ahead, the jury will hear from Murray himself, though it will be through a more than two-hour interview that police conducted with the doctor two days after Jackson's death. The defense has not said whether Murray will take the stand.
In later testimony Wednesday, coroner's investigator Elissa Fleak described what she found in Jackson's bedroom hours after the singer's death. The items included prescription medications and a small, empty vial of propofol discovered by the singer's bedside.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren held the vial between his thumb and pinky finger before showing it to Fleak and jurors on a projector.
Fleak said she and other investigators returned to Jackson's home four days later and recovered several bags from his closet that contained other bottles of propofol, including one that had been placed inside an IV bag. Some bottles were full, others were partially empty.
Authorities say the return trip was prompted by details Murray offered to detectives during the interview on June 27, 2009, that will be played for jurors in the coming days.
Walgren removed 37 bottles of propofol and other medications from evidence bags, labeled them with exhibit numbers, and placed them on the edge of the table where prosecutors sit.
By the end of the afternoon, the bottles formed two long rows on the table directly in front of jurors.
Fleak also identified a graphic photo of Jackson's lifeless body in a hospital gown that was shown on a large courtroom screen.
His brother, Jermaine Jackson, broke down and wept quietly, wiping his eyes with tissues. At the afternoon break, he left court and didn't return.
Walgren, his hands swathed in latex gloves, showed the witness and jurors 63 separate pieces of evidence from the bedroom, including what was described as medical debris stashed in three separate bags in a closet.
The items included torn packaging from IV bags, syringes and needles, catheter tubing and bloody pieces of gauze.
One small duffel bag decorated with a polka dot bow was marked, "Baby Essentials." It contained propofol, the drug Jackson referred to as his "milk."
AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.
McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP