Conrad Murray may never have taken the stand in his involuntary manslaughter trial, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t want the opportunity to defend himself to his many critics.
With that in mind, Michael Jackson’s doctor sat down with the Today show, prior to the jury rendering a guilty verdict, and for the first time, spoke extensively about the details surrounding Jackson’s death, his use of propofol and what, if any, responsibility he accepts.
NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie questioned Murray in the interview, which will air in two parts this week, and began with the day Jackson died. She asked if he could really have been properly monitoring his patient given his recorded history of emails, texts and phone calls at the most critical juncture of time.
Was he distracted?
“No, I was not,” Murray said, before going on to defend his actions. “When I looked at a man who was all night deprived of sleep, who was desperate for sleep, and finally is getting some sleep, am I gonna sit over him, sit around him, tug on his feet, do anything unusual to wake him up? No.”
He acknowledged that he walked out of the room to make phone calls, and that he “could not see” Jackson or, more critically, hear if he stopped breathing, but said, “I would think if he got up and he called to me, I would hear him.
“But he was not on an infusion that would cause him to stop breathing, and that’s the reason they talk about I was not supposed to be monitoring him at that time, because there was no need for monitoring.”
Guthrie also questioned Murray on what seems to universally be considered an extreme deviation from the standard of care, his home administration of propofol.
“I looked at my condition with Michael not as I, not as about giving it, but trying to find a method to take away something from him, that I felt he should not have been using on his own.”
Though he stopped short of admitting wrongdoing, he did seem to acknowledge that he had doubts about his behavior.
“I should have walked away. But if also I walked away, I would have abandoned a friend.”
Guthrie went on to hammer Murray on whether or not he thought he bore any responsibility for Jackson’s death, which he has been careful not to concede.
When Guthrie told him to “own your portion” of his passing, he simply replied, “Mm-hmm.”
“Well, I’m gonna say, that was not a foreseeable situation,” he began, before Guthrie interrupted with an incredulous, “It wasn’t?”
“No. Had I known what I know today in retrospect, that Mr. Jackson was an addict, and he had shared that information with me, addicts may behave in a way that is unreasonable and you may consider it.”
He went on to acknowledge that Jackson was a desperate man: “desperate for sleep.”
“And you left him alone with propofol?” Guthrie asked.
“He was, he was asleep,” Murray replied.
The interview airs in its entirety over two days on Today, Thursday and Friday