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December 21, 2014

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Michael Jackson death inquiry shifts to Las Vegas hospital

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Michael Jackson and Kenny Ortega rehearse for the King of Pop’s 50-date concert run in London beginning July 8.

*Check out this story with accompanying photos at VegasDeLuxe.com.*

In the days shortly after Michael Jackson’s untimely June 25 death, I wrote here at Vegas DeLuxe that eventually the trail of drugs and doctors involved with the King of Pop would lead here to Las Vegas. This week, I have been proven right.

Not only are investigators from the L.A. Coroner’s Office meeting with Dr. Conrad Murray, who has moved back here from Houston, but they also are trying to determine how hospital-only drugs used in surgery as an anesthesia found their way to Michael’s home from a Las Vegas hospital. I’ve been told the name of the hospital but will refrain from identifying it until the investigation is complete.

Fox News reported last night that the investigative team leading the inquiry into Michael’s death conducted interviews with physicians and personnel at medical facilities in Las Vegas on Monday. The network added that lead investigators from the LAPD’s Robbery and Homicide Division, along with several field agents from the DEA’s L.A. office, traveled to Las Vegas to look into leads that at least one drug believed to have contributed to Michael’s death originated in Las Vegas.

Dr. Murray’s lawyer Edward Chernoff confirmed to the Los Angeles Times and Fox News that LAPD detectives have questioned the doctor twice, and now this week the coroner’s officer wants another Q&A here. They’ve also requested additional medical records from Dr. Murray.

Dr. Murray was the physician attending to Michael when he went into cardiac arrest and died. Dr. Murray says he has had to retain 24/7 bodyguard protection since he was identified. He operated a medical clinic here in Las Vegas but shut it when he signed on as Michael’s personal physician for the California rehearsals and London run of the planned 50 This Is It concerts. Michael died after completing the filmed dress rehearsals just days before flying off to Britain.

Meantime, Dr. Murray’s lawyer said his client would cooperate with a new interview here in Las Vegas. “The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death. We share that goal,” he told the Los Angeles Times. Through his lawyer, Dr. Murray has said he administered no narcotics or other medications that should have caused Michael’s death and remains puzzled as to the performer’s death.

“We don’t have access to the most important information in this case ... the toxicology report. We’re still in the dark like everybody else,” the lawyer added.

On a side note, it’s been revealed this morning that Sony has acquired first rights to the videos and recordings of the This Is It rehearsals in L.A. for $60 million. Sony says it will be released to fans in a worldwide movie version in October, again confirming another very early Vegas DeLuxe report.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.

Updated at 11 a.m.: DEA agents have raided Dr. Conrad Murray’s Houston offices. While Dr. Murray is in Las Vegas this morning being grilled by detectives, TV news out of Houston has just begun reporting that DEA agents have raided his medical facility there under orders of a search warrant issued by a judge to the LAPD.

Dr. Murray’s lawyer told E! Entertainment News: “This is unexpected to us.”

Two uniformed Houston police officers have been reportedly stationed outside the Armstrong Medical Clinic there, and DEA spokesman Rusty Payne commented: “The warrant is absolutely related to the powerful prescription drug Propofol.”

Updated at 1:59 p.m.:MSNBC and ABC are reporting that a manslaughter charge is being brought against Dr. Murray, and his lawyer has confirmed it.

This is a developing story, and Vegas DeLuxe will continue to monitor it.

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