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Jackson Death Mystery

Aired June 29, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight rumor and speculation run rampant in the wake of Michael Jackson`s devastating and still puzzling death. Stunning claims about pills and needle marks make headlines. But contradictory reports beg the question, what is the truth? Was Jackson drugged up when he died? I`ll talk to one of the few men who can separate fact from fiction, a man who has been close to the Jackson family for years, Brian Oxman.

Plus, the doctor at the center of an escalating controversy over the final moments of Jackson`s life. The 911 call says Jackson was on a bed while he was getting CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just get him down to the floor. You`ll have to do CPR right now, OK?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Should the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate Jackson have put him on the floor? And what was his role in Jackson`s life? He`s lawyered up and fighting back.

Then, will more legal battles ensue? With Jackson reportedly up to a half a billion dollars in debt, are we in for a slew of lawsuits against the estate? And does a court fight over Jackson`s children loom? Will the woman with the strongest legal claim to Jackson`s two oldest children, their mother, Debbie Rowe, seek custody? And what about the nanny?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight as the world awaits Michael Jackson`s autopsy results, which now could take up to six weeks, rumor and speculation about the pop star`s death run rampant. There is an all-out battle of conflicting accounts.

London tabloid "The Sun" claims Michael Jackson had wasted away to 112 pounds, that his body was riddled with needle marks and scars, and that his head was virtually bald. The Los Angeles Coroner`s Office denouncing that report as inaccurate, further insisting that, quote, "Some of it is totally false." Some of it? Which part?

Jackson`s friend, Miko Brando, says he witnessed a very normal Michael at a concert rehearsal on the day before Jackson died. Here`s what he told Larry King.


MIKO BRANDO, MICHAEL JACKSON FRIEND: He was fine. He was dancing. He was singing. He was looking over some technical stuff. And as far as eating, he was eating and he was drinking some orange juice. He had some hot tea. He looked fine.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What to make of all this? I will separate fact from fiction with former Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman and other notables in just moments.

Meantime, a fresh scandal brewing over Michael Jackson`s father, Joe, and his bizarre comment at Sunday`s BET Awards.


JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: But I want to make this statement. This is a real good statement here. Marshall and I have - we own a record company called Ranch Records. Talking about Blu-ray technology. And that`s the next step."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Actually, not a really good statement. Should Joe have been plugging a project at this tragic moment? And what does that say about how he might interact with Michael`s three kids, seen here in photos acquired by just hours ago?

Michael`s mom Katherine named their temporary guardian. Temporary could be the operative word if the biological mom of the two oldest kids, Debbie Rowe -- remember her? -- puts up a fight.

And then there`s the nanny, Grace Rwaramba. Her bond with the kids said to be so strong, many considered her a surrogate mom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s get him on the floor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s get him down to the floor. I`m going to help you with CPR right now...

Did anybody see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you have a doctor there?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, why wasn`t he already on the floor? What about that doctor hired to be at Jackson`s side during his grueling comeback tour? Did he inject Jackson with narcotics? That doctor`s lawyer says absolutely not.


EDWARD CHERNOFF, LAWYER FOR DR. CONRAD MURRAY: Dr. Murray never prescribed Demerol, never administered Demerol, never saw him, Michael Jackson, take Demerol. And that -- and that goes, as well, for OxyContin.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So much to get to. I want to know what you think.

Straight out to my really amazing expert panel tonight: Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst; Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital; Dr. Bill Manion, forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey; Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition" and attorney. And I am delighted to be joined by Brian Oxman, former Jackson family attorney, who has been very close to the Jacksons for years and years.

Brian, I`ve got a question to ask you, but first, I`ve got to tell you, breaking news just in. The L.A. coroner is now saying drugs were found at Michael Jackson`s rented L.A. estate. Authorities left with two large plastic bags. So once again, drugs were found at Michael Jackson`s L.A. estate. We don`t know which kind.

But I have to ask you this, and I`ve got to hold up a headline. Take a look at this, OK. Today`s blaring head line in the "New York Post": "Autopsy Secrets: Jacko had only pills in this stomach; needle marks everywhere." Now, some are saying these are totally bogus. You have been on the scene for years. What do you have to say? Have you ever seen, for example, needle marks on Michael Jackson, Brian?

BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: I am afraid to say yes, that is absolutely correct. The problem is that some of these injections, which were really the subject of the trial in Santa Maria, and were testified to by the police about the records which they had found, by the vials of drugs which they had found, that they`re really not all that startling new.

The problem here was, Jane, that the use of the medications became rather pronounced. And despite the warnings from the families, the requests from the families, the love from the families, we are all rebuffed, and we were told no, you can`t intervene. You can`t do anything about it.

And I said, by gum, I`m not going to be silent if Michael Jackson winds up expiring, passing away because of drugs. I will be the first voice that is going to be heard. And I kept my promise, and I intend to continue to do so.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Brian, I want to clarify. What you`ve said is very, very important. Because this headline comes from, basically, a British tabloid, "The Sun." The coroner said it`s -- some of it`s inaccurate. But you`re saying the some that`s not inaccurate is the needle marks. You`ve seen them? I want to just clarify that.

OXMAN: I know that there are injection sites in Michael`s body. But other than that, this is a stunning report.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What drugs? What drugs? What drugs did he take?

OXMAN: Stunning. The answer there, Jane, is I`m going to bide my time and respect Michael`s privacy. Because I don`t think it is my place to do that, unless and until I am asked by people who have a position to tell me.

But what we do know, and we saw it all in the trial in Santa Maria, it`s a cocktail of drugs. The police testified from the witness stand about all the drugs which were found there. My goodness gracious.

So when drugs are found at Michael Jackson`s home, now, should we be surprised? Not by any extent of our imagination.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, right. In the days following his death, there have been a number of claims that Jackson was addicted to drugs. A famous friend of Jackson`s, Deepak Chopra, talked about it on "The Today Show" this morning.


DEEPAK CHOPRA, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Yes, Michael Jackson was addicted. His addition was started by and perpetuated by licensed M.D.`s. There was one attempt at intervention with his family. And after he found out that was being attempted, he isolated himself from both his family and me, and for the time being with his assistant, who is also the nanny to his children.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have another very special guest with us right now, Matt Alford. He`s one of the attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray, who was the doctor who saw Michael Jackson there, unconscious, and tried to resuscitate him.

What do you make of these two claims? Brian Oxman, the former Jackson family attorney, and Deepak Chopra, a friend, saying, "Hey, he`s a drug addict, and the doctors enabled him"? You`re representing a doctor who was there.


Yes, the thing we need to focus on, on something like that. Those interviews are very interesting. But what needs to be reiterated here is Dr. Murray, our client, did not become Michael Jackson`s doctor until the beginning of last month, in May of 2009. Therefore, these other situations that you`re talking about, these other doctors that may or may not have been able to help Michael Jackson.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I just jump in, sir? We just heard the L.A. County coroner saying that drugs were found in Michael Jackson`s rented estate, and they removed them.

You`re saying, and I`ve heard your side say, he did not inject Demerol or OxyContin, never. I understand you`re saying that. But if somebody`s an addict, can you observe that? Did he observe? Did this doctor observe Michael Jackson drugged up?

ALFORD: As far as Demerol or the OxyContin that we`ve talked about, you`re talking about now, no, he never observed him take those drugs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about other drugs?

ALFORD: Well, he was his personal physician. As far as any specific course of treatment, if any, that he did for Mr. Jackson, I`m not -- I do not know specifically. But I assume he may have prescribed him some drugs. But I don`t know specifically what those were.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we want to thank you for coming on and telling your side of the story.

Jim Moret, I want to bring you in to get some perspective on all this. Fill us in on what role this doctor, who was there, who attempted to resuscitate, unsuccessfully, Michael Jackson, had in Michael Jackson`s life, to your knowledge.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, one thing I really would like to know from Matt Alford, his attorney, is was he there because Michael Jackson wanted him there, or was the concert promoter, AEG, paying for this doctor to be there to ensure that Michael Jackson could perform all 50 dates?

You know, people close to him, Brian Oxman will tell you that Michael Jackson was often described as very frail. He had -- he had an injured back. He had injured his leg not long ago. When we saw him at the trial just a few years back, he walking so -- he was almost shuffling. It was almost as if he was 90 years old. And it`s hard to imagine that he could have endured the rigueur of a 50-date concert tour.

This doctor came on, late on the scene. He`s been described as not a live-in doctor but a doctor who lived near the area and was often staying there but did not live there.

And we heard in the 911 call that the doctor says he happened to walk in while Jackson was unconscious. And we heard a later report say that he was unconscious but had a pulse. So all of that would indicate that he went into some, I guess, respiratory failure first.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, nothing seems to add up here. He was preparing for a 50-concert tour, as Jim mentioned, at the time of is death. Now, take a look at this. Several pictures of him rehearsing just two days -- two days -- before this death, on June 23. Take a look at these pictures. Pretty amazing. There it is.

Now, Miko Brando, as you`re looking at these pictures, we`ve got to tell you Miko Brando, who`s a close friend, went to the last rehearsal Wednesday night, told Larry King, Michael Jackson seemed fine the night before he died. He was dancing, drinking tea, orange juice. Technical stuff, eating. He didn`t see anything wrong.

So I don`t understand, Lisa Bloom, how we reconcile these reports from Deepak Chopra and from Brian Oxman with the photographs we`re seeing of this guy who seems OK just two days before he died.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s because he`s on addict. And addicts are not entirely dysfunctional, as many people believe. But they have their ups and downs. Michael Jackson was an entertainer, a world-class entertainer.

When the lights were on, when the cameras were on, and when he was on stage, he`s shone. He pulled it all together. That doesn`t mean that that night or the following morning he wasn`t taking all kinds of medication that were bad for his health. Indeed, maybe he was taking medications to get his energy up so that he could perform, then taking medications so that he could go to sleep at night. I mean, that doesn`t surprise me at all. I think Deepak...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is what addicts do. I think you make a great point. That`s exactly what addicts do. They regulate and they modulate.

Everybody sit tight.

The shocking death icon Michael Jackson already surrounded by controversy. Did drugs play a role in this death? Did his doctor take proper action during his final moments? So many questions. I want to hear what you think of it all: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Give me a holler: 1-877-586- 7297. Weigh in. Share your thoughts on the tragic loss of the King of Pop.

Once again, let`s listen to Joe Jackson`s bizarre response to questions about his son`s death at the BET awards Sunday night.


JOE JACKSON: But I want to make this statement. This is a real good statement here. Marshall and I have -- we own a record company called Ranch Records. Talking about Blu-ray technology. And that`s the next step."




REV. AL SHARPTON, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: It is the determination of the family to be careful and deliberate on how they plan his celebration of life. Because you`re talking about a historic figure that really changed pop culture around the world.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Still no final world on when the official memorial will be. Tomorrow night, the Apollo Theater in New York, where Michael Jackson wowed crowds as a kid, will hold a tribute to the King of Pop.

Plus we`re still wondering if his home, Neverland Ranch, will be turned into a museum, something like Graceland. But Joe Jackson today said Michael Jackson will not be buried at Neverland.

So many questions. Straight to my panel. The phone lines lighting up.

I want to go back over to Brian Oxman for one second. You heard the attorney say, OK he never injected him with anything. No OxyContin, no Demerol. But people can inject themselves.

What do you know about that, Brian? Did Michael Jackson, in your opinion, you`re saying you know he had needle marks -- did he inject himself?

OXMAN: This doctor was relatively new on the scene. He had only been there for about two months. And that tells you a great deal, Jane. And that means that we have a serial group of doctors who were part of Michael Jackson`s life.

In the trial in Santa Maria, when the drug vials were presented, there were just so many doctors who were part of those presentation on the evidence, and so many people who were employees whose drug vials were found in Michael`s room.

So you can only say that the modus operandi continued. And that`s the fact that I warned about. I said this can`t continue; it`s got to stop. And...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I still don`t understand, though, Brian. I mean, did he inject himself, in your opinion, or not? Or did somebody have...

OXMAN: I never knew of any such thing, Jane. I never knew of any such thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can inject yourself, you know. It`s possible.

OXMAN: You sure can. You sure can. I never was privy to that and never heard of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Leigh, Maine, your question or thought?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. I`m so glad I got through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m glad you did, too.

CALLER: Especially on this particular subject. As you said, I`m from Maine, and we have a huge opiate problem in this state, namely OxyContin.

But I really just want to make a comment. It`s a horrible tragedy about Michael Jackson. He was a wonderful entertainer. But I do think it`s important to say that, although these doctors sometimes are out of control, that people are going to do the drugs if they want to do them. As you know, as an addict, you get what you want, especially if you`re Michael Jackson.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. As a recovering alcoholic, I say that, as well. When you`re an adult and you`re determined to do substances, you`re going to find a way to do them, no matter what, unless you`re locked up in a rehab.

Michael Jackson`s personal doctors come under scrutiny, as we`ve been discussing, for the care Michael got in the hours before his death. Let`s take another listen to the 911 call from last Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s get him on the floor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Let`s get him down to the floor. I`m going to help you with CPR right now...

Did anybody see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you have a doctor there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he`s not responding to anything, to no, no, he`s not responding to the CPR or anything, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, OK. Well, we`re on our way there, and if your guy`s doing CPR, as instructed by a doctor, he has a higher authority than me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Bill Manion, people are criticizing this doctor for not keeping Michael Jackson on the floor, which is where you`re supposed to do CPR, not on a bed.

DR. BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: That`s right. It`s much more effective on the floor, because you have a solid surface. So when you compress the chest, you get much better ventilation.

In addition, I have questions. I thought Mr. Jackson had a life insurance physical months ago. If he had been using drugs, that would have shown up in his blood and urine tests. And I would -- I would hope -- I know -- you know, every addict can deceive their doctor, but I sure would have hoped that, if the doctor had seen some of these pills around, that he would have been cued into something like this happening. I mean, with all the other big-name movie stars that have O.D.`ed on drugs, this is really not a great surprise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and he had a hundred-thousand-dollar bill at the local pharmacy.

All right, everybody. Stay right there.

Reports say Jackson was up to almost half a billion, some people say, in debt at the time of his death. Can we expect a lawsuit ambush against his estate?

Plus, one of TV`s most infamous pitchmen found dead inside his Florida home. I`ll have the shocking 911 call when we come right back with our continuing coverage of the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson`s death.



JOE JACKSON: I have a lot of concern. I can`t get into that. But I don`t like what happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Jackson`s father, Joe, told CNN last night he`s concerned about what happened the day his son died. The Jackson family has ordered a second private autopsy for the King of Pop in the hope of getting some answers. We have to wait six whole weeks for the L.A. coroner`s toxicology reports to come back.

Rumors running rampant about the condition of Michael`s body and his alleged addiction to pain meds. TMZ reporting he got a shot of Demerol the morning he died.

Straight to Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ. TMZ broke the news that Jackson died before anybody else. Now you`re reporting drugs were likely the cause of death. And you just got another piece of breaking news hot off the presses. What do you know, Mike?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, we`ll start with the drugs. Like you said, Jane, we are told from sources close to the investigation that drugs are most likely and increasingly becoming what they`re going to -- what`s going to become of what happened to Michael Jackson.

Obviously, we reported that he received an injection of Demerol about an hour before the 911 call came in. And we`re told probably, most likely other drugs and maybe a combination and toxic combination of drugs are going to have to do with what killed Michael Jackson.

Also, breaking news, just real quick, what you were talking about. This is going to be a dog fight when it comes to Michael Jackson`s estate. There`s a lawyer who used to work with Michael Jackson named Baranca (ph), who worked on the deal with him and the Beatles catalog who claims to have a will that Michael left, and he will be publishing and putting into the courthouse soon.

But we just received a document from the courthouse, from Michael`s mom`s attorney, who says that they have not seen a will. And a judge just agreed to make her administrator of the estate, at least until Monday, when they can figure out. They`re going to have a hearing the same day about the children`s custody, guardianship of the estate. So stuff is getting messy really fast, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. I saw this battle brewing when I was looking at the various reports. And as you say, you reported that Michael Jackson`s lawyer has a copy of his will and intends to file it with the court. But the Jackson family in their court document said they don`t believe Michael has a valid will. So right there, boom.

WALTERS: Well, I`ll tell you, in the document we just got, the story you`re talking about, Michael`s attorney -- I mean, Michael`s mom`s attorney says that there are several bank accounts that are in third-party possession. There is documents, assets, all kinds of stuff that is not controlled by Michael, by all these other people.

They want somebody to get in control of these assets so they aren`t misappropriated, so they aren`t sent to the wrong place, even specifically citing that some of them pay for the home in Encino that they`re living in right now. So this has to be done, and a judge agreed it needs to be stopped for now at least until Monday, when they can figure out what`s going on.

But like you said, this is going to get weird, and it`s going to get messy really quickly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with Michael Jackson tragically deceased, there are others who have pointed out, and it seems somewhat insensitive, but I`m just repeating what they`re saying, that the -- the spending has stopped. And the hemorrhaging of money has stopped.

So this estate is going to start creeping up to a break-even point at a certain point, with the downloads of his music sky-rocketing and then become profitable. And that`s when the battle is going to be worth it for whoever wins.

WALTERS: Right. I mean, you`re right. As this point you know that claims are going to start coming in. The first one being we were told Debbie Rowe will try to get custody of the two children she`s biologically the mother.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Because we`ve heard that she -- she doesn`t -- we`ve heard so many different reports. She doesn`t want it, we don`t know. You think she will?

WALTERS: I think she will, and I think that a lot of people are coming forward to get their hands in this estate. So it`s going to get messy, and here it comes, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Mike. Thank you for that excellent report.

More questions, more answers next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will more ferocious legal battles erupt in the aftermath of Michael Jackson`s devastating death? With Jackson reportedly up to a $500 billion in debt, are we in for a slew of lawsuits against the estate? And does a court fight over Jackson`s children loom or the woman with the strongest legal claims that Jackson`s two oldest children, their mother, seek custody? And what about Neverland?

Back with my fantastic panel and your calls, talking about the rumor and speculation unleashed in the wake of Michael Jackson`s sudden death. What role if any did drugs play and what about the looming battle over the will?

Mark Eiglarsh, you`ve been listening to it all. I was fascinated about what TMZ just had to stay about this battle of the will with essentially Jackson`s family saying there is no valid will. And Michael Jackson`s attorney saying he`s going to be filing that will that he has that he obviously thinks is valid in court.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And then there is the argument that that will from 2002 came before his trial and there were plenty of people who didn`t support him during the trial. That he might not want to get anything, no question Jane, the lawsuits are already in motion.

Now, he was known as the "King of Pop" but he was equally deserving of the title "King of Litigation." During his lifetime he was sued and had suits against royalty, PR, lawyers, there`s the person who directed "Thriller", the person who started "Thriller." After his death, nothing will change.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely not. I agree with you. I think in fact, we could see even more lawsuits.

Nicole in Georgia, your question or thought or ma`am?

NICOLE IN GEORGIA (via telephone): I`m just wondering why would they grant temporary custody to the mother when there`s been alleged abuse in the family for years?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have some thoughts I`m sure -- here are the three big players I would say in this custody battle. You have Katherine who got temporary guardianship for the kids until a hearing comes up. You got Debbie Rowe who talk -- everybody you talk to has a different opinion as to what she`s going to do or can do.

And then you`ve got the nanny, I wouldn`t underplay the nanny. Joe Jackson said, "Oh, yes, we love her we`re friends" but she said some unflattering things to the "Times of London" about Katherine.

BLOOM: Well, the nanny has no claims to custody of any of the children so we can put her aside, she can hope to stay on as the nanny. But that`s about it, but the caller raises an excellent question. And I couldn`t help but notice that Katherine Jackson filed for guardianship of the children just all by herself, as Katherine Jackson. Not Katherine and Joe Jackson, asking for custody, just Katherine.

And I think that was done strategically to keep him out of it, to keep those old abuse allegations out of it. Katherine, there`s nothing anybody has to say bad about her so she comes into court as we say with clean hands. She`s a good person to come into court and ask for those children and that`s why she got them, keeping Joe out of the court papers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the reason I mentioned the nanny, Jim Moret is that the reports are that Jackson -- some reports indicate Jackson wanted the nanny to take care of the kids because she`d almost become their surrogate mom and was really sort of the strength of the household.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": But Lisa is right she is the nanny. I mean, many kids become very close with their nanny. That doesn`t mean they have any legal claims to raising those children or becoming their guardian. I mean, Katherine is the paternal grandmother of those kids and she does have a legal right.

Just as Debbie Rowe, the mother of those children may have a right even though she tried to give those rights away. A judge later ruled that they were not fully given away. So she may have a claim as well. Although, she has nothing to do with the children whatsoever and by some accounts doesn`t want anything to do with those children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Joe Jackson catching a lot of flack for what he said last night on the BET Awards. Listen to this.


JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: I established a record company with Marshal (ph) and that company is called Marantz Records distributed by Blue Star and Blue Ray, yes.

So, we have a lot of good artists fixing to come out. And I was asked that question and I answered just like I was asked because they wanted to know what else I was doing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Gail Saltz, you`re the psychiatrist -- his son has just died and he`s promoting his entertainment project.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it`s bizarre. But it`s not anymore bizarre than what has been of the Jackson family.

I mean, Michael talked very openly about his father abusing him. Yes, I guess from the legal standpoint it`s cleaner that Katherine is not attached to Joe. But the fact is that they live in the same home, it`s pretty easy to question the well-being of the children.

So I mean, it`s hard to layer you know there is so much psycho pathology involved. And it`s not clear to me that Joe Jackson has -- sort of all of his thoughts -- are well-organized -- shall we say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s elderly as well.

SALTZ: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know guys, feel free to jump in on this.

MORET: But wait a minute, Jane, Jane -- Joe Jackson made very similar comments today at the new conference. And I have to tell you that a lot of reporters who are generally quite cynical or scratching their heads going what the heck is he talking about?


MORET: Because the fact is it that he just lost his son.

SALTZ: And at his age...

BLOOM: Jane, this could have been resolved so easily. If Michael Jackson had left a clear will, designating a guardian for those three children we wouldn`t be in the pickle that we`re in now. I mean, his parents swore in court papers today under oath that he died intestate; that means without a will.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how did they know?

BLOOM: That is the one thing -- this is why people need wills, especially prominent people who are single parents to designate where they want the kids to go.

BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Jane, I have to comment to this...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Brian, Brian come in.

OXMAN: I have got to comment to this, I have got to defend Joe Jackson. Let me tell you something.

Yes, Joe Jackson struck his children. Absolutely, no question about it, but I want to tell you something why he did it -- he did it because Gary, Indiana was the murder capital of the world.

And there`s one thing he said, I will not let my kids die on the streets of Gary, Indiana. I`m going to make them stars, I`m going to make them performers.

BLOOM: Oh, that`s no excuse for hitting a child.

EIGLARSH: Are we defending -- are we defending his behavior...

BLOOM: He`s accused of a lot worst than hitting.

OXMAN: Everyone of these kids, everyone of them, thank the good Lord that Joe Jackson took care of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying that if you don`t -- if you don`t listen to your kids they`re going to become a murder victim or a murderer?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Saltz, weigh in on this, we need a shrink.

OXMAN: Everyone of these children say, they bless the day that Joe Jackson made them into the performer that they are.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this...

SALTZ: Jane...


SALTZ: I mean, there are plenty of kids who grow up in areas of poverty who have very little, who are at high risk who never get into trouble and have never been beaten, for one.

For two, and let me say that Michael Jackson did not come out and thank his father for having been physically abusive nor did he attribute the abuse to his success. I find that to be just inane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know what, I have to say this, because I come from a show business background. And I went to a professional children school and I saw a lot of stage parents operating and you don`t become the kind of performer Michael Jackson became just casually.

It requires a kind of obsession that borders on abuse to learn at an early age those kinds of steps. And that`s the downside of stardom. That`s why so many child stars end up having a troubled life.

But Jim Moret, you come from Hollywood as well. I think you can weigh in on this.

MORET: Look, I was never beaten and I don`t feel I was ever abused. And I really respect and like Brian Oxman, and I know that he is a very close friend to the family. Although I think that to say that`s its ok to hit kids for any reasons.

OXMAN: It`s not ok. It`s not, Jim you are right it is not ok. And I don`t condone it. But what I`m telling you is every last one of the members of the Jackson family say that they bless the day that Joe Jackson...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, wait go ahead.

EIGLARSH: It`s almost like he`s justifying abuse. And there is no excuse for it in any county in this great land.

BLOOM: Thank you.

EIGLARSH: he would be prosecuted for doing what he did to Michael Jackson. We wonder why he came out the way he did, he was abuse by his father.

BLOOM: And every abusive parent has an excuse for doing it as a rationale. They think it`s for the best of their kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this -- wait -- this goes right back to the whole mentality though, of a couple of days after your son passes away, suddenly talking about your record label. And you`re...

MORET: Right, it`s bizarre.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but it`s bizarre but it`s that kind of crazy show business mentality that I`ve seen.

EIGLARSH: It`s so inappropriate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s so inappropriate.

BLOOM: And this is where Michael Jackson`s children are going now. It is why they are now; they`re living in that home.

SALTZ: That`s very concerning. I mean, they have been through a terrible, terrible trauma. They`ve already grown up in a really rather bizarre environment, where they are veiled, they`ve been isolated, their home schooled, they are kept away from other children. They had only one parent, this is a terrible trauma.

Now, I would be very concerned about what environment they`re going to be in. Are these people truly culpus mentis (ph) -- are they truly able to be caring, are they truly going to keep them away from any abuse?

And in terms of the nanny, if she was in fact like a surrogate mother and their biggest attachment, that would be another terrible, terrible loss in them, if she is kept away.

BLOOM: And how about that they have a mother that lives in the same city who apparently has wanted nothing to do with them?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes. It`s all bad and I just hope that that nanny who I think has gotten good reviews is able to stay in the picture.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody stay right there, more analysis on this tragic death of Michael Jackson.

And your phone calls are lighting up. We want to hear from you; 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Sound off on all the drama.

Plus, TV pitch-man, Billy Mays found dead in his Florida home over the weekend. Did a freak accident onboard a plane lead to his tragic end? I will have the very latest details up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More revelations in the tragic death of pop icon, Michael Jackson in moments.

But first, tonight`s "Top of the Block."

More sad news from the world of pop culture celebrity; uber-TV pitchman Billy Mays died over the weekend. Mays wife Deborah found him unresponsive early Sunday at their Tampa, Florida home. A frantic 911 call follows.


911 OPERATOR: Ok, tell me exactly what happened.

DEBORAH MAYS, BILLY MAYS` WIFE: I don`t know I just woke up right now and I went and looked at him to roll him over and his lips are all purple.

911 OPERATOR: Are you with him now?

MAYS: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: How old is he?

MAYS: 50.

911 OPERATOR: Is he awake?


911 OPERATOR: Is he breathing?

MAYS: No and he`s cold.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mays, famous for being the cheery front man with a booming voice for products like Oxiclean and Orange Glow. Mystery surrounded his death with speculation that he may have died from trauma suffered in a rough plane landing Saturday after a piece of luggage hit him in the head.

Earlier today the medical examiner addressed those rumors.


DR. VERNARD ADAMS, MEDICAL EXAMINITER, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA: There has been speculation about the possible role of an impact to the head that Mr. Mays received in a hard aircraft landing a few days ago. The autopsy revealed no evidence of any external or internal evidence of head trauma.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The autopsy did reveal Mays suffered from hypertensive heart disease and a blocked artery which can often result in sudden death. The final cause of death will not be known until after toxicology results in about 6-8 weeks.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

And it looks like we`ll have to wait just as long -- 6 to 8 weeks -- to learn what caused Michael Jackson`s death; that, according to the L.A. County Coroner`s office. And today at a press conference, Michael Jackson`s dad Joe, suggested memorial plans would wait for those results. 6-8 weeks for memorial plans?

That is something that we`re going to have to analyze. Now back with my panel and taking your calls.

Brian Oxman, what do you make of that? What do we know about possible funeral plans and then waiting that long for a memorial?

BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: We know that the numbers of people who are possibly going to attend this funeral would be utterly staggering, Jane. I said to somebody that it might 100,000. And they said what are you talking about? We`re talking about maybe million people.

And Jane, I just don`t know. It is anybody`s guess. And so, what`s happening is that authorities have to be contacted. The people who know to plan large events have to be consulted as to how it would be. Permits would have to be done with the police, with the government authorities.


OXMAN: This cannot take place without significant cooperation between governments and police agencies. So it`s complicated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a way it is kind of like a state funeral.

OXMAN: Literally.

Literally, Jane. It is one of the largest things we`re going to see if it`s going to be public. And for all we know, authorities could nix it, we just don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about the private funeral? Didn`t Joe Jackson say something about that today, Jim Moret?

OXMAN: We don`t know. There`s been no decision.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": The one thing he did say is that his son will not be buried at Neverland. There was some speculation that Neverland could become sort of like a Graceland.

But Neverland doesn`t look today like it looked a few years back. Jackson basically left it in 2005 and all of the rides are gone. All the animals are gone. All of the furnishings are gone. It would be a huge undertaking to bring all of that stuff back.

I think Joe Jackson basically put to rest any rumors that his son would be buried there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But as we know with the Jackson family, things can change moment to moment.

Yes, Mark?

EIGLARSH: Jane, will the memorial service be sponsored by Senior Jackson`s new record label?


EIGLARSH: Did I say that out loud?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, a little levity never hurt anyone.

Frida in Nebraska, your question or thought?

FRIDA, NEBRASKA (via telephone): Yes, I was just wondering if Michael Jackson suffered from depression and in some of the medication that was found, was anti-depressants?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Bill Manion, weigh in on how the toxicology tests will give us a clue to what Michael Jackson was experiencing in his final moments.

BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well the opiates and Demerol are known to cause depression with chronic use. And he certainly had a lot of bitter and very devastating emotional experiences in his life. He had physical burns, his scalp was burned, he had allegations of sexual misconduct, he had bankruptcy; he had plenty and plenty of stress in his life.

And certainly he could have been suffering from depression as a result of these factors and also the addiction to the drugs. And even if he was taking the drugs in therapeutic levels, if you mix several of these drugs together, even though they are in the directions that they are prescribed, they have synergistic effects. So even though they`re in therapeutic levels, they are having ten times the effect on the respiratory system.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The problem Jane is that we live think a culture where you go to a doctor for anything and you`re going to get a pill.

MANION: Give me a pill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are so right.

BLOOM: A few days later, you`re going to get another pill.

MANION: Exactly. BLOOM: I mean we are over-prescribing medication and Michael Jackson is probably the latest victim of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are absolutely right. And if there is one way that we can pay best tribute to Michael Jackson, Dr. Saltz, it would be to look at this crisis of epidemic prescription drug abuse.

BLOOM: Hear, hear.

GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: It is an epidemic but let me say that when you had a really traumatic childhood and you continue to have trauma as an adult or you continue to be in the spotlight as he was, it wouldn`t be shocking to suffer from depression. And many people who start taking a pain medication for, shall we say, a legitimate pain reason end up addicted anyway.

But certainly if they`re struggling with the depression, initially, drugs like OxyContin may make them feel relieved from their depression. It kind of makes them hazy or fogged out.

MANION: Exactly.

SALTZ: And so they may -- they are ripe, basically is what I`m saying, for drug abuse and addiction later, because they are trying to run from their feelings of depression. So that`s a very common combination

MANION: We cannot condemn all pain doctors. They serve a legitimate purpose for those who have severe injury and suffer every day.

BLOOM: But we can condemn a culture that over-prescribes pharmacological remedies for everything that`s wrong with a human being.

MANION: Agreed Lisa.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. I mean, half the time I don`t even know what those pills are curing.

SALTZ: Let me say that you would hope that somebody who had lived through what Michael Jackson live through would have been in some sort of psychotherapy. But the fact is that today even in 2009, there`s so much stigma and shame still attached to doing something like that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Saltz, do you think he really felt safe to go to a psychotherapist? Everybody reported on everything he did and said. That`s all he needs to do is sit down on a shrink`s couch and find out it`s coming out of a tabloid.

SALTZ: Oh, gosh. Jane, I wish you weren`t saying that. A real professional, the cornerstone of any decent psychiatrist, psycho analyst, psychologist, is confidentiality. You must have confidentiality. And it is -- what can I say? It`s punishable by removable of your license. It`s absolutely the anti-ethos to break that rule. That is the cornerstone. So he should have been able to go to somebody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I agree with that. And I`ve done therapy for years. Thank God there`s confidentiality.

SALTZ: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m saying that that was his fear, like a lot of famous people.

SALTZ: Well, if you think about a lot of things that went on in his home, this man sounds like he struggled with a lot of paranoia about a lot of things. I could well imagine that it would be difficult for him to go even though you would hope that he would have.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fabulous panel; stay right there. Michael Jackson`s controversial life cut short at the age of 50.

Back with more of your calls in just moments. Just what do you think of his final moments?





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Extraordinary video; 1,500 inmates in the Philippines paying tribute to the King of Pop in the form of some kind of inmate dance. That just shows you how he touched everyone.

We`re taking your calls. Mary in California, you`ve been so patient, your question or thought.

MARY, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes, hi, Jane and hi to everyone on the panel. I have a comment and then I do have a question.

My comment is I went to the trial in 2005 and saw Michael and I thought he was a very kind-looking gentleman and his mother was lovely. And my question is, how much did he weigh towards the end? Does anybody know? And was that a wig? And wigs that he wore? And that is directed to his attorney that would know. And I would also like to see Neverland...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I think a lot of people would see Neverland become a form of a Graceland. Brian Oxman, what about the weight issue?

OXMAN: He got down to about 108 pounds in the trial, Jane. It was very, very difficult on him. It was very, very difficult on all of us. And very truthfully, it`s taken a long time for everybody in involved in that case to recover.

What we saw Michael Jackson doing is he was finally recovering. He was finally starting to smile again. He wanted to get out and perform and be the entertainer that he knew he was. And that`s what I guess led to our problem that we`re facing right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, let`s talk about the whole ensuing potential custody battle. Katherine Jackson has temporary guardianship. What does that give her really?

BLOOM: Well, that gives her custody of the kids for now. She filed an emergency application because, look, nobody had legal custody of the kids right after Michael Jackson, their only parent, died. So somebody had to take control and she did and the court gave her temporary custody.

But if Debbie Rowe, the only surviving biological parent at least of the older two children says that she wants custody, she is first in line under California law and she would be entitled to those kids unless she`s an unfit mother or her parental rights have been terminated. So there could be, as you say, a big custody battle.

And P.S. on the low weight, I`m wondering if it`s the prescription medications in his system that killed his appetite, that made him so skinny because I heard he only ate like one very small meal a day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what`s really fascinating, though, in 2001, he was actually getting a little bit chubby. I think it was the trial that got to him that broke his spirit, even though he was acquitted.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.