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Remembering Michael Jackson

Aired June 26, 2009 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Deepak Chopra is joining us now from Los Angeles.

He was a very dear friend. And you -- you really -- that really came through in your words today, Deepak.


BLITZER: Tell us something, you know, about Michael Jackson that you want the whole world to know about right now, at this really, really tragic moment.


So, you know, I think the whole world does know, to some extent, that the -- that Michael was a victim of childhood trauma and abuse. There's a lot of medical literature, Wolf, that shows that, when you have been verbally or mentally or physically or sexually abused as a child, that this has physical consequences on you, that -- there's a paper in psychosomatic medicine that says children who have experienced this have a very like -- high likelihood of autoimmune diseases.

What the world doesn't know, most people don't know, is that Michael had lupus, which is an autoimmune disease. He had vitiligo, a skin disorder, which is also an autoimmune disease. It causes great disfigurement of the skin.

So, he hid from the world because he was -- in many ways, he had a sense of shame. He had a sense of self-loathing, which expresses as autoimmune disease also. So, he would cover himself up. And, of course, the world called him "Wacko Jacko" for that reason.

He also, as a result of his childhood trauma, had this tendency to mutilate himself, in a sense. This obsession with plastic surgery was, in a sense, an expression of that mutilation.

People called him weird. And he would very frequently say to me: "Why do they call me weird? Aren't -- isn't the world weird, where we have climate chaos, global warming, extinction of species, war, terrorism, where there is genocide in places like Sudan? Isn't that weird? Why do people think that's normal?"

And, you know, when we talked about even simple things, like the -- the grizzly bear disappearing in Canada, he would start to weep. He had a lot of compassion. He had a lot of love. He had a lot of innocence. He had a lot of joy. And, at times, he could go ecstatic.


CHOPRA: I remember...

BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a second, Deepak. His relationship with -- with his three kids, you saw that up close.


BLITZER: What was it like?

CHOPRA: Well, whenever I saw the kids with him, they were extremely well-behaved. They were very playful. He would play with them. They loved their father. And they loved people around them. You know, those are very beautiful children. And, fortunately, they're really normal.

BLITZER: I want to read to you what you wrote on "Huffington Post" in your "Tribute to My Friend, Michael Jackson." And then I want you to explain this.

CHOPRA: Mm-hmm.

"He was surrounded," you wrote, "by enablers, including a shameful plethora of M.D.s in Los Angeles and elsewhere who supplied him with prescription drugs. As many times as he would candidly confess that he had a problem, the conversation always ended with a deflection and denial. As I write this paragraph, the reports of drug abuse are spreading across the cable news channels. The instant I heard of his death this afternoon, I had a sinking feeling that prescription drugs would play a key part."

All right, elaborate.


So, 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 -- a (INAUDIBLE) license.

And he asked me for a prescription for a narcotic. And I said, "What the heck do you want a narcotic prescription for?"

And it suddenly dawned on me that he was already taking these, and that he had probably a number of doctors who were giving him these prescriptions. 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 pains and musculoskeletal pains from the stress that he was going through.

I said: "Michael, you don't need these drugs for that. There are so many ways to do it." And, for a while, I lost him. You know, I have had that happen with many with other celebrities in Hollywood. There's a plethora of doctors in Hollywood, they 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 light 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 -- 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. And 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 -- the United States, is not street drugs, but medical prescriptions given legally by physicians.

BLITZER: He seemed so frail to all of us who saw him. And you saw him on many, many occasions. You have known him, what, for 20 years.

Was he really frail? How much did he weigh? Because he seemed almost sickly at certain times.

CHOPRA: Well, recently, he had gone on a diet. He was excited about his concert in England.

He was talking about this new song that he had done. He had shared the music with me. I think I'm the only person who has the music right now. And he wanted to bring some of the lyrics. We were talking about how the trees our lungs and the rivers are our circulation and the earth is our body. And he was thinking really big. So, he was excited. He was practicing. He was fasting. And, yet, he wasn't physically in a condition to do this. And he was not confronting his drug addiction, which is the big problem.

BLITZER: You're convinced that drug addiction contributed to his death?

CHOPRA: I think, Wolf, it was responsible for his death, not just contributed. It was the thing that caused his cardiac arrest. You know, when you have enough drugs in your system, your heart does go into an arrhythmia and your respiration stops. I am told that he was given an injection of Demerol a little time before he died, which is the worst thing you can do. You know, you need to give somebody narcan, which is a narcotic antagonist. I think the drugs killed him.

BLITZER: Do you know what drugs he was taking specifically?

CHOPRA: Well, at one time I knew about OxyContin. I knew that he would get injections of Demerol and other narcotics. And I was really desperate to try and help him. But, you know, you can't help somebody who is going to deny it or -- his best tactic with me was that he would refuse to call me often. And then he would call me two, three weeks later and say he was sorry but, you know, he had been busy and it wasn't the drugs. But it was the drugs.

BLITZER: So, he was really addicted to these prescription drugs? Is that right?

CHOPRA: In my belief, yes, from what I know, he was.

BLITZER: When was the last time, Deepak, you spoke with him?

CHOPRA: I spoke with him several times in the last couple of months. I was in New York at a barbershop when my cell phone rang and it was him on the phone. I spoke to him about a few weeks ago when I came to Los Angeles and he wanted to give me this music. But I was doing a seminar and I didn't have the time to go to his house. So, he arranged a very elaborate way of getting these tapes to me, these CDs in over three bodyguards and a limousine with shaded windows. You would think he was transferring the secrets of the CIA to me. And finally I got these tapes, and it took me a long time to open the package because it was covered in layer after layer after layer of plastic. So, he was very kind of in a sense insecure about people knowing what he was up to, whether it was his music or his life, because he had been hurt by the world.

BLITZER: He really confided in you over the years, didn't he?

CHOPRA: Yes, over 21 years. I was -- he was my little brother. I feel really bad for him.

BLITZER: It's a sad, sad story no matter how you write it. The relationship that he had with young boys, let's say, and this is a sensitive subject. As you know, your kids played with him. Right?

CHOPRA: Right. Repeated stayed with him. They knew him from the age of 12 and 13, both my daughter and my --

BLITZER: Did you ever see anything inappropriate there?

CHOPRA: None. My children swear that they never saw anything inappropriate, that he was always impeccable. My son traveled with him on his "Dangerous" tour. And, you know, I would visit them during the tour. I went to Romania. And after the concert, we would go to the room and drink bottled water, and then he would meditate and he would go to sleep. So, those are the good days of Michael.

BLITZER: What kind of relationship did he have with his family?

CHOPRA: He had a love/hate relationship in many ways. He would tell me all about the kind of abuse he suffered as a child, especially from his father. But he did care for his brothers and sisters. He was proud of LaToya, and he also cared deeply about his mother. And even though he had not very nice things to say about his father, he still cared for them and he cared for them in more ways than one. He took care of them financially, as well, in many ways. So, he was traumatized. You know, as you know, he was a Jehovah's Witness. He became famous very early in life. And yet his childhood at home was not a childhood. It was a childhood of punishment and abuse, and then he would have to go door to door trying to give people Jehovah's Witness literature. And he was very intimidated by doing that. He didn't know what was going on the other side of the door. He was scared about that.

And yet, you know, when he spoke of people, he said I cannot understand why people can be harsh. You know, if you see his interviews over the years, you will see that he almost always, not almost, always behaves impeccably, speaks impeccably, and with respect. That was the thing that was very true of Michael. Now, of course, you know, he had a lot of trauma, and as a result of that, a lot of his behavior was not understood by people. But as far as I know, you know, and I didn't live with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he was always impeccable. He -- I frequently asked him about his obsession with children, and he said he had never had a childhood and he wanted to, therefore, be with children and that children were not mean to him. That was one thing he frequently said, that people were mean to him but children were not. And so, he enjoyed their company. And whenever I saw him, he was very playful, very playful, with his children, with my children, and children that I saw him in contact with.

BLITZER: You never saw anything inappropriate there.


BLITZER: Let's talk about the Demerol for a second.

CHOPRA: Hmm-hmm.

BLITZER: You believe he was injected with Demerol. You don't know that first hand.

CHOPRA: No, I just heard that in the news, Wolf. I only heard that in the news.

BLITZER: But over the years, did he ever tell you he was taking Demerol?

CHOPRA: Yes, he was given Demerol by his physicians.

BLITZER: And other narcotic painkillers.


BLITZER: The ones that you mentioned. Did you think he was mentally, psychologically, physically prepared for this comeback right now, this world tour that he was about to begin?

CHOPRA: It's difficult to say, but I can tell you one thing -- whenever we spoke, he was excited about this tour. He was not afraid of this tour. He was not intimidated by this tour. He was excited about this. He was practicing, and he was -- there was a sense of joy whenever we talked about it.

BLITZER: What do you think is going to happen to his three kids now?

CHOPRA: It's a big problem. You know that one child is the daughter of -- is from Debbie, and the other two children are from other sources.

BLITZER: I thought two of the kids were from Debbie and one was from a surrogate mother.

CHOPRA: OK, well, they're going to be separated I fear, unfortunately.

BLITZER: The three of them will be separated, you think?

CHOPRA: I have a feeling. I mean, right now they're with -- I'm told with Michael's mother. The nanny of the children who I told you was somebody that I introduced him to, who had been a volunteer in my organization since the age of 12, she met Michael when she was 18. She's now in her 30s. And she's the one who's been taking care of them. And she's grief stricken right now and the children apparently are asking for her, and they are with Michael's mother, and she's on a plane right now from London to Los Angeles.

BLITZER: She was originally from Bangladesh. Is that right?

CHOPRA: No, she's from Rwanda.

BLITZER: Rwanda, that's right. I knew she was from -- and she's coming back and I'm sure the kids will be happy. But tell me about these kids, because we don't really know much about them, and you've met them on many occasions.

CHOPRA: I've met them but, you know, meeting them is different from living with them. To me, they were the most normal of kids and, you know, they played with my granddaughter, who is now seven years old. One of Michael's kids is about the same age. They're like normal children all the time.

BLITZER: It's really a sad moment. Have you spoken to his family over the past 24 hours?

CHOPRA: I have not spoken to his family. And, you know over the years, I've very infrequently spoken with them. I've spoken to his brother on one occasion, to his mother on a couple of occasions, to LaToya on many occasions. He was very proud of LaToya.

BLITZER: If you could say something to Michael Jackson, Deepak Chopra, right now, and if you knew he was listening to what you were saying, what would you say to him?

CHOPRA: Michael wanted to be understood. Michael wanted to also create joy for the world. He was the closest thing I ever came across to what I can call the exultation of spirit, the ecstasy that comes to you when you touch that part of yourself which is divine. And Michael gave that to millions of people. And I would like the world to remember Michael as he was when he was in that ecstatic state and when he couldn't view the world with that ecstatic state. BLITZER: Deepak Chopra, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us at this moment. We really appreciate it.

CHOPRA: Thanks.

BLITZER: Deepak Chopra joining us. A lot of stuff to digest there. Remember, we're awaiting the coroner. He's about to come out to the microphones in Los Angeles with his preliminary report on the autopsy of Michael Jackson. Stand by for live coverage.


BLITZER: 1969 hit, "I Want You Back." Let's listen in for a second.

There he is, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5. What a hit that song was. We now, by the way, have the tape of that 911 call alerting police that Michael Jackson had collapsed in his home and stopped breathing. Listen to this urgent plea for assistance.


DISPATCHER: Fire paramedic 33 what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.

DISPATCHER: OK sir, what's your address?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 100 North Carroll Wood Drive, Los Angeles, California, 90077.

DISPATCHER: Carroll Wood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carroll Wood Drive, yes.

DISPATCHER: OK, sir, what's the phone number you're calling from and what prompted this act to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we have a gentleman here that needs help and he's stopped breathing. He's not breathing and we're trying to pump him but he's not --

DISPATCHER: OK, how old is he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's 50 years old, sir.

DISPATCHER: 50, OK. He's not conscious? He's not breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's not breathing, sir.

DISPATCHER: OK, and he's not conscious either?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's not conscious, sir.

DISPATCHER: OK. All right. Is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the bed, sir. He's on the bed.

DISPATCHER: OK, let's gets him on the floor.


DISPATCHER: Let's get him down to the floor. I'm going to help you with CPR right now, OK?


DISPATCHER: We're already on our way there. We are on our way. I'm going to do as much as 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.

DISPATCHER: Oh, you have a doctor there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he's not responding to anything. He's not responding to the CPR or anything.

DISPATCHER: Oh, OK. We're on our way there. If you're doing CPR instructed by a doctor, he's a higher authority than me. If they're on scene.


DISPATCHER: Did anybody witness what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Just the doctor, sir. The doctor's been the only one here.

DISPATCHER: OK, so did the doctor see what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctor, did you see what happened? Sir, he just -- if you can please.

DISPATCHER: We're on our way. We're on our way. I'm just asking these questions for the paramedics while they're on the way, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. He's pumping his chest, but he's not responding to anything, sir. Please.

DISPATCHER: OK, OK. We're on our way. We're less than a mile away. We'll be there shortly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

DISPATCHER: OK, sir. Call us back if you need any information.



BLITZER: All right, let's bring in Drew Griffin of CNN Special Investigations Unit. The doctor who was there at the house at the time, what do we know about him, his whereabouts, his cooperation with authorities? Help us, Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Yes, a lot of speculation today when we were told or it was being reported that the doctor was missing. In fact, the detectives did interview that doctor briefly last night. Then they towed his car or the car of his sister from that home, telling us that medications inside that car may be pertinent to this investigation. But this afternoon, Wolf, we're being told by the Los Angeles Police Department there doesn't appear to be any cooperation issues with this doctor.

They fully intend to do a more exhaustive interview with that doctor. He is a cardiologist. He is based in Nevada and Las Vegas. He has offices also in Texas, and he's licensed to practice in California, Texas, and Nevada. Doesn't appear to be any problems on his records, but, boy, that was a very interesting interview with Deepak Chopra talking about those drugs. And that, of course, is where the speculation of this investigation is going, which, I might add, Wolf, is still a death investigation, not a criminal investigation.

BLITZER: Because there's no evidence, at least not yet, of any foul play, is there?

GRIFFIN: That's absolutely right, and police have stuck to that. They went and they, quote, unquote, processed the home last night, but as far as I can tell from the witnesses who were there, it was not processed like a crime scene as if homicide detectives were going in there with fingerprint kits, etcetera. They looked through the evidence and they determine if this is going to be a death investigation as it is right now, which means basically they are aiding the coroner and helping the coroner come to the conclusion of how Michael Jackson died.

BLITZER: All right. I want you to stand by because we're awaiting the coroner to come out momentarily, we believe, within perhaps a half an hour, looking at live pictures over there, outside the coroner's office in Los Angeles. We'll go there and hear the coroner's initial report as soon as he comes to those microphones. Throughout this hour, we're speaking with people who knew Michael Jackson and knew him well. You heard my interview with Deepak Chopra just a few moments ago. Shelly Berger was the manager of the Jackson 5, a job given to him by Motown founder Berry Gordy himself. Shelly Berger is joining us now from Los Angeles. First of all, Shelly, what goes through your mind right now as someone who's known Michael Jackson what, for 40 years?

SHELLY BERGER, FORMER JACKSON 5 MANAGER: Yes, about 40 years, yes. Although I haven't spent time with Michael over the last 10 or 15 years.

BLITZER: But you knew him as a little boy when he was a star with the Jackson 5.

BERGER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Did you immediately know, then, that he was amazing?

BERGER: Well, the story goes I was involved in all of the artists that Berry Gordy was personally involved with, so I was involved with the Supremes, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson. And one night, I had just come in off a tour with the Supremes and I got a telephone call, we've just signed this new group and you are going to manage them and you have to come down to the recording studio right now. I said, why do I have to come down to the recording studio? If you tell me I'm managing them, I'm managing them. And I know what I have to do. He said no, no, no. You must come down to the studio right now.

BLITZER: And what was the purpose of that?

BERGER: The purpose was for me to meet and see the Jackson 5. So, I walked into the studio, and there are five kids. And Mr. Gordy said, this is Shelly Berger. He manages the Supremes, he manages the Temptations, he manages Smokey Robinson, and now he's going to manage you. Show him what you can do. And they proceeded to do a James Brown song. And Michael started performing. And I cannot tell you what was going through my mind. My age, I still talk about putting a needle on a groove of a record. You know a number-one record when you just drop the needle. You know a superstar when something comes at you that you've never seen before since maybe Sammy Davis Jr.

BLITZER: So, you saw that right away in Michael Jackson?

BERGER: Absolutely. Absolutely. It was mind-boggling.

BLITZER: And you worked with him -- you worked with the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson closely for a number of years. What was he like as a young boy?

BERGER: Can I tell you that I don't ever think that I had a full conversation with Michael unless it was talking about a show or what we were doing at a given moment. If Michael was not on stage, he was very, very quiet. He was watching television. He was watching cartoons. He was drawing or doing something. He was very --

BLITZER: I ask the question, did he seem like a tormented young kid or a happy young kid?

BERGER: He certainly didn't -- he didn't seem tormented, but there was so much activity going on at the time. And he -- when Michael was performing, Michael was a 40-year-old man, Michael was a man who at nine years old had an ingrained talent and ability that people work on for 15, 20 years. It was mind-boggling.

BLITZER: And so, right now, as you think about the fact that he's dead and it's hard to believe that at this stage Michael Jackson is dead at only the age of 50, you want to just share a final thought? BERGER: Well, listen. The world has suffered a great loss since yesterday. But people at Motown, the family, the Motown family lost a son, a brother, and a friend that you just cannot -- there are no words to really say what the loss is.

BLITZER: Shelly Berger, the former manager of the Jackson 5. Shelly, thanks for joining us.

BERGER: Wolf, it's my pleasure. Thank you. I wish it was on a happier note.

BLITZER: I wish it was, too. Thank you.


BLITZER: There are prayers and praise for Michael Jackson coming in from around the world. Upon his death, people have said he was magic, a musical god, and a bright, bright light. Some people who played prominently in his life also are reacting. Motown founder Berry Gordy says, "A Michael Jackson only comes along once." Quincy Jones, who produced the best-selling album of all time, "Thriller," says, "His legacy will be felt upon the world forever." Lisa Marie Presley, briefly married to Michael Jackson, said, and I'm quoting right now, "Words fail me." Madonna says this, and let me quote Madonna. "I can't stop crying." And among other celebrities, Justin Timberlake says, "We have lost a genius." Beyonce says, "His impact was bigger than any other artist." And Usher simply says, and let me quote Usher, "May God cover you." We're going to stay on top of this story. Remember, we're awaiting the coroner to emerge to those microphones and brief us on the preliminary results of the autopsy. Stand by.

Meantime, President Obama is firing directly back at the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling his behavior outrageous. There are new developments in a growing war of words.

And a new round of apologies by a governor caught cheating on his wife. Will they quiet growing calls for his resignation?


BLITZER: "Smooth Criminal," Michael Jackson performing. Let's listen. What a talent, Michael Jackson. We're awaiting the coroner's results, the preliminary results. There's going to be a news conference outside the coroner's office in Los Angeles shortly. We'll have live coverage as soon as it starts. You're looking at these live pictures from outside the L.A. County Coroner's office. In the meantime, let's check in with Brianna Keilar. She's monitoring some other important stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Brianna, what's going on?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Obama probably won't be saying he's sorry to Iran anytime soon, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is demanding the president apologize for criticizing the country's crackdown on demonstrators. Standing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the president said it is the Iranian president himself who must answer to his own people. Mr. Obama condemned the leader's behavior calling it, quote, "outrageous."

The wife of powerful House Judiciary Committee Chairman Democrat John Conyers admits she took bribes. Detroit city councilwoman Monica Conyers pleaded guilty today in federal court. Prosecutors say she twice accepted money to support a multimillion-dollar deal with a Houston sludge recycling company. She faces the possibility of five years in prison.

The first h1n1 vaccine could include an unprecedented 600 million doses. That is more than the number of seasonal flu and childhood vaccines produced in a year. Health officials must confront several problems before a swine flu immunization could materialize this year. That includes finding enough workers to give the shots and keeping track of the side effects compared to the seasonal flu vaccine.

Five of the black teens known as the Jena six pled no contest to the beating of a white classmate. The students will serve seven days' probation and pay a $500 fine and court costs. The group initially faced attempted murder charges in the 2006 attack on Justin Barker. Barker has a civil suit against the group. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right Brianna, thank you. To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, the world remembers a musical icon. We have reporters standing by to bring you up to date on all the latest developments on the sudden death of Michael Jackson. A special look at how Jackson broke down racial barriers and helped other black artists make it big. Many are wondering what happens to his three young children. Will there be custody challenges? We're working that story, as well.

And an Iranian cleric delivers an ominous warning to opposition protesters as President Obama renews his criticism of the regime in Tehran. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Hasn't even been 24 hours since the world learned of the death of Michael Jackson and the shock and the disbelief are still very real, as is the outpouring of grief around the world. We're following a number of new developments this hour. We're awaiting a news conference from the Los Angeles County coroner's office which performed an autopsy on Michael Jackson this morning. Also, police want to talk once again with the doctor who was with Michael Jackson at his home when he died. And Jackson's close friend, Elizabeth Taylor, has just released a statement on his death saying, "Her heart and mind are broken by the news."

Let's go to Kara Finnstrom. She's joining us now just outside Michael Jackson's home in Los Angeles. Is the family saying anything today so far, Kara?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not officially. But we are starting to get a little bit of information, Wolf.

Just behind me here, this is the home where you mentioned Michael Jackson was living, where he went into full cardiac arrest yesterday. But about 12 miles away from here is the family compound, the Jackson family compound, in Encino. We've also had crews there since Michael Jackson's death. And a little earlier today for the first time we did see Michael Jackson's father, Joe Jackson. We got some pictures of him in the driveway of that home with Jesse Jackson, talking.

Jesse Jackson went into the home, spent some time with the family, came out afterwards and did tell us that the family is gathering, kind of supporting each other. He was asked about how Michael Jackson's three children are doing, because we really haven't received any information about them yet. He gave a very short answer but essentially said that they were doing ok.

Now, back out here in Holmby Hills, much quieter here today than it was overnight. But Wolf, really the most interesting thing that has developed here was late last night investigators were on the scene and they actually towed away a Silver BMW from inside the Holmby residence.

And what CNN has now been able to confirm is that BMW belonged to Michael Jackson's private physician and the detectives are looking to speak with him. They told us that they wanted to take that car away. They've impounded it because they believe there may be some medications inside the car that would be pertinent to their investigation. And they also told us they're looking for him to speak with him.

But a much quieter scene out here today; from what we understand, the investigation inside has completely wrapped up. We just got security forces there, Wolf, kind of making sure that nobody gets inside and that nothing -- you know, this is a crime scene -- nothing leaves the home.

BLITZER: If any of the family members come out to those microphones out there, Kara, let us know. We're anxious to hear from them, obviously, as well.

Kara thanks very much.

And we're getting ready to hear from the coroner in Los Angeles county with his preliminary results of the autopsy this morning. We'll have live coverage of that. That's coming up, we believe, fairly soon.

The "King of Pop's" money mess. So, what happened to Michael Jackson's millions? And what was he really worth? We're following that story.

And the President and the pop star: when Ronald Reagan invited Michael Jackson to the White House.


BLITZER: Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the greatest selling album of all time.

Remember, we're standing by to get that result, the preliminary results of the autopsy by the L.A. Coroner's office. We'll go there live as soon as the coroner comes to those microphones.

Michael Jackson made and spent a fortune and actually died in debt. How is this really possible? We asked our Brian Todd to take a closer look.

Brian, it's one of the great mysteries of this story.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. It's fascinating to look at, Wolf, very complicated. The scope of Michael Jackson's ability to make money may have been eclipsed only by his penchant for throwing it away. He went through several financial advisers over the past years, and what emerges is a very messy estate.


TODD (voice-over): In building his fortune and then squandering so much of it, Michael Jackson did nothing in small measure. The zenith of his career illuminated not only a dazzling stage talent, but a shrewdness for business virtually unmatched by any superstar.

ETHAN SMITH, WALL STREET JOURNAL: The really smart, beneficial thing he did in 1985 was he bought a company called ATV Music Publishing, which held, among other things, the copyrights to 251 Beatles' songs.

TODD: Jackson outbid even Paul McCartney for that, paid almost $48 million for part of the Beatles' catalog, which is now reported to be worth more than a $1 billion.

But his last years were also marked by such uncontrolled spending that he had to borrow millions against those holdings just to have some cash flow. He's believed to have paid about $100,000 a month in rent for his last house in Bel-Air.

The Neverland ranch with its Ferris Wheel, merry-go-round, life- size statues and arcade games cost him millions a year just to maintain. It's now partially owned by an investment firm that saved Jackson from foreclosure.

Jackson's shopping sprees, like one captured in a 2003 documentary, were legendary for bizarre excess.

Bruno Del Granado marketed Jackson's 1991 album "Dangerous," featuring one of his last major hits, "Black or White."

Del Granado remembers the last time he saw the "King of Pop" in Manhattan in 2002.

BRUNO DEL GRANADO, FORMER EPIC RECORDS MARKETEER: He was staying at the Plaza and he had the top-suite floor and there was maybe five, six people with him, which is great, but you think, wow, this is a little bit lavish.

TODD: Legal fees and costly settlements over child abuse allegations and broken business deals put an enormous strain on Michael Jackson's empire. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: There were many lawsuits and Jackson often paid settlements to avoid going to trial and that was a big financial burden.


TODD: Michael Jackson's final bottom line is not clear and likely won't be for a while. At his death, he's reported to be about half a billion dollars in debt. It's not clear if his assets outweigh those debts and analysts say the financial picture is so complicated it could take years to sort out, Wolf. It is a real mess.

BLITZER: And he was getting ready for a huge new world concert tour...

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: ...that could have had an impact on that.

TODD: That's right. 50 concert dates in London planned with Billboard's estimate for ticket sales, other projections for merchandise and other things. It's estimated it could have brought in more than $100 million for him, would have gone a long way to pulling him out of that hole.

But people who follow this business say it was never all that clear that Michael Jackson was really ready for this tour, so that was an open question, whether it would have been successful.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thanks very much.

We got an idea of Michael Jackson's spending habits earlier this year when the contents of his Neverland ranch were scheduled for auction.

Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton is here.

Abbi, this was a vast collection of stuff out there.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: It really was absolutely staggering how much Michael Jackson owned. It was last year when ten semi-trailers of furniture, of antiques, vehicles, games were taken from the Neverland ranch, scheduled to be auctioned off sometime in April. The catalogs are still on line. You can flip through what was on there.

Right now we're in the section with just deals with games -- with arcade games -- and that section alone goes on for 50 pages and there are five catalogs like this that you can look through online. It goes way beyond this.

There are vehicles, illustrated golf carts, a golden throne is one of them, hundreds of antiques and memorabilia; 2,000 items in all. It never was auctioned-off. There was a lawsuit for Michael Jackson challenging the legality of the auction. It was then settled. And the auctions didn't go ahead. Darren Julien is the head of the auction house that was going to organize it. He said that several weeks ago all of that was returned to the Michael Jackson camp.

BLITZER: Now, today some more Michael Jackson memorabilia, if you will, or other items were about to be auctioned off.

TATTON: From the same auction house, Julien's Auctions. This is separately and coincidentally. This has been arranged for a few weeks now. Just about a dozen items, some clothing from the "Victory tour," a clothing, a belt from the "Bad" era, handwritten lyrics, all of this in about a half an hour is due to be auctioned off, completely coincidentally.

A couple weeks ago they were estimating how much that might reach. They thought then about $6,000 to $10,000. Obviously, that was before yesterday.

BLITZER: Yes, it's going to be worth a lot more right now. All right, Abbi. Thank you.

Exactly what killed Michael Jackson? That's the question so many people are asking right now. Just ahead, we're waiting to hear from the medical examiner in Los Angeles. Stand by.

And a pop star's political pull; how Michael Jackson won over former president Ronald Reagan.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Headlines from around the world mourning Michael Jackson, a pop star of world, world class.

We're just getting in a statement from his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe Jackson. Let me read it to you because it indicates something potentially very, very significant.

"Though Michael is now at peace," she says, 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."

Debbie Rowe is the mother of two of those children, and that that statement would indicate she would be interested in getting custody. She gave up custody to Michael Jackson but at least two of those kids are hers so we'll see what happens. We have a full report on that coming up.

Coroners examining Michael Jackson said earlier today that toxicology tests may not be available for weeks and that a cause of death may not be determined until all the tests have been returned.

Let's get some more now from our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, Deepak Chopra told me just a little while ago here in THE SITUATION ROOM, he's convinced that prescription drugs contributed to the death of Michael Jackson.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. But you know what? When we hear from the coroner, as we expect to hear pretty soon, he doesn't have to tell us anything. By law, they do have to make autopsy results available to the public, but when all the i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed and that report is final, which usually takes weeks. So, we may not hear anything from this coroner.

So, I just want to be clear about what sort of they have to say and what they don't have to say.

BLITZER: And how long does it usually take, Elizabeth, to get the results of all these drug tests?

COHEN: That's an interesting question. I think there's been a lot of confusion so I want to try to clarify it.

I've been talking to medical examiners who said, look, it takes weeks to know exactly how much of any given drug someone had in their system. But the same day they do an autopsy, they know if there were drugs or not and medical examiners are pretty good at pinpointing what kinds of drugs are present.

So, I would expect that today, once they finished that autopsy, they'll know if drugs were present in his system and they'll probably have a pretty good idea of what kind of drugs are present. But, again, they do not have to tell us.

BLITZER: What kind of medications can lead to cardiac arrest?

COHEN: Well, several different medications can lead to a cardiac arrest, both legal and illegal, for example narcotics like Demerol and Oxycontin, or steroids and amphetamines. All of those could contribute to a cardiac arrest.

BLITZER: Do we know what kind of medical conditions he had?

COHEN: Wolf, it's an interesting question because there are so many rumors spreading, but let's talk first about what we do know.

Here are some conditions that we've learned about from Michael Jackson and his people over the years. We've heard for example in 1990 that he had chest pains, 1993 that he had vitiligo which is a skin disorder and then in 1993 he became addicted to prescription painkiller and then on and off throughout the years he had back pain.

There have been tons of rumors flying around that Michael Jackson was anorexic and that that's what caused the cardiac arrest. There had been rumors that he had a rare genetic condition and needed a lung transplant. There are so many more I can't even name them all, but those are just rumors flying around on e-mails.

BLITZER: Elizabeth Cohen, stand by. We're awaiting the coroner's results, report, at least the preliminary report. We'll have live coverage of that coming up. This is the face of Michael Jackson we've all come to know in recent years, but as those of us who have watched him over the past few decades know, he now looks very different than he once did.

Since he burst onto the scene as a child, Jackson's nose and facial structure changed dramatically. That's reportedly because he underwent the results of numerous cosmetic surgeries, including eight on his nose alone.

Jackson's skin also has gotten lighter. He blamed it on a rare disease, but people kept asking questions about his transformation until his death.

When Ronald Reagan met Michael Jackson; why the late president of the United States invited him to the White House and what surprised him about the King of Pop. Stand by.

Another apology and more bible quotes from South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for his actions surrounding his affair with an Argentinian woman. We'll have an update for you on that as well.

Stay with us here on THE SITUATION ROOM.




BLITZER: Michael Jackson performing "Man in the Mirror;" what a moment that was.

When Michael Jackson was at the height of his career back in the 1980s, everyone wanted to meet him, including the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider is joining us now with more on this story.

Was Michael Jackson ever connected with any political figure?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he was, to the biggest political figure of them all.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): On May 14, 1984, Michael Jackson met with none other than the President of the United States.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To Michael Jackson with appreciation for the outstanding example you have set for the youth of America and the world.

SCHNEIDER: President Reagan wrote in his diary that day, "A ceremony on the law to honor young Michael Jackson who is the sensation of the pop music world -- believed to have earned $120 million last year. He is giving proceeds to the campaign against drunk driving. He's totally opposed to drugs and alcohol and is using his popularity to influence young people against him."

Reagan added, "I was surprised at how shy he is."

MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: I'm very, very honored. Thank you very much Mr. President and Mrs. Reagan.

SCHNEIDER: Pop stars want legitimacy. Politicians want to reach young people particularly Republican politicians. President Richard Nixon for instance had welcomed Elvis Presley to the White House in 1970. Nixon saw Elvis as an ally in the campaign against drug abuse.

In a memorandum summarizing the meeting Nixon aide, Egil "Bud" Krogh wrote that Presley indicated to the president in a very emotional manner that he was quote, "on your side." Krogh noted that three times during the meeting, President Nixon told Elvis how important it was for him to retain his credibility. A point President Reagan also alluded to with Michael Jackson.

REAGAN: Michael Jackson is proof of what a person can accomplish through a lifestyle free of alcohol and drug abuse.


SCHNEIDER: We now know what an intentionally personal struggle Michael Jackson, like Elvis Presley, had to face -- Wolf.

BLITZER: History unfolding. Thanks very much for that Bill Schneider.

Michael Jackson had three children. What becomes of them now? Who gets custody? With two different mothers plus his family, there's the potential for a custody battle.

And the wife of South Carolina's governor has some strong words for her cheating husband.


BLITZER: Another apology from South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford over his affair with a woman in Argentina. His wife also had something to say.

Our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is joining us now with details. What did the governor have to say today, Jessica?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, today, there were new calls for Governor Sanford to step down. And a chief critic of his has asked state law enforcement and the state senate to investigate the governor's actions. But the governor has no intentions, at this point, of stepping down.


YELLIN (voice-over): Governor Mark Sanford has a heavy heart, but no plans to leave his job.

GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't say anything definitive. My hunch would be that it's a good example with regard to my boys, if you fall down in life that you get back up.

YELLIN: Not everyone in the state agrees.

A second South Carolina newspaper is calling for his resignation arguing, "The entire episode vividly illustrates irresponsibility and poor judgment."

And one of the governor's chief critics is demanding an independent investigation into Sanford's actions alleging possible misuse of state funds and abuse of power.

JAKE KNOTTS, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE: I would take his resignation in a heartbeat so that South Carolina can move forward.

YELLIN: One bit of good news for Sanford? So far his lieutenant governor who would get the job if Sanford leaves is not pushing for him to go.

ANDRE BAUER, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, SOUTH CAROLINA: I am not out to decide one way or another what the governor should do.

YELLIN: Meanwhile, the governor continues his apology tour, humbling himself to his cabinet.

SANFORD: I wanted generally to apologize to every one of you all for letting you down.

YELLIN: And to local reporters.

SANFORD: This whole process is tough for everybody and that includes you all. And so I apologize.

YELLIN: One person who won't weigh in on the governor's political future -- his wife.

JENNY SANFORD, GOVERNOR SANFORD'S WIFE: His career is not a concern of mine. He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children.

YELLIN: Sanford says he understands.

M. SANFORD: Let me give credit to my wife Jenny who has been none other than magnanimous.


YELLIN: Now Sanford says he has been calling elected officials around the state apologizing and he even issued a statement today, Wolf, saying he hopes to follow the example set by David in the Bible. He says when David had a fall, he got back up and went back to work -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jessica Yellin thank you.

And happening now, we're waiting for new information about Michael Jackson's death. The coroner is expected to make a statement very soon as people around the world mourn the loss of a superstar.