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Mansion Mystery Death: The Search for Truth
Aired September 8, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
A millionaire, a mansion, and a mystery. Police ruled Rebecca Zahau`s bizarre death a suicide, saying she tied herself up. Is that even possible? Her family says no way, and they`re going to tell me why.
And the Michael Jackson death trial begins. Was Conrad Murray a man desperate for money or a caring doctor who got in over his head?
Let`s get started.
Tonight, she was the girlfriend after a multimillionaire found hanged in his mansion in San Diego. Now new questions surface about this so- called suicide. The question is, was it really murder?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This beautiful woman, Rebecca Zahau, was found hanging naked at her billionaire boyfriend`s San Diego estate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Days after what turned out to be a fatal fall by her boyfriend`s 6-year-old son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How and why and would a beautiful with no history of mental illness strip naked, bind her own hands and feet in elaborate knots, and then hang herself?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None of that is consistent with suicide.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn`t pass the smell test.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that homicide should be so quickly ruled out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The San Diego Police Department are prepared to reopen this investigation.
PINSKY: Results of the autopsy on Rebecca Zahau rule her death a suicide. We`re going to get the details of the autopsy report and the investigation into her death in a bit.
But first, I`m joined by a special guest tonight. Here with me is Brandy Memarian.
Is that correct?
BRANDY MEMARIAN, REBECCA ZAHAU`S BEST FRIEND: Memarian.
PINSKY: Rebecca`s best friend -- Memarian. I got it.
And on the phone, I have Rebecca`s sister, Mary.
Brandy, I want to go to you first. You and I -- I`ve talked to Mary before, and she`s told me about her sister. Tell me who she was to you.
MEMARIAN: She was like a sister. She -- just a very dear friend. We met through bible college. Actually, she was a correspondent student, like I was telling you previously. And I was the administration. And we --
PINSKY: Just became friends.
MEMARIAN: We became friends through that, yes.
PINSKY: Was this, like, something completely out of character, like this is --
PINSKY: -- like something from outer space?
MEMARIAN: Absolutely. She was a very strong person, had very strong convictions.
PINSKY: Would her faith -- I`m sorry to interrupt, but would her faith do you think have made it even less likely? I asked her sister this the other day. It seems like she was a person of deep faith.
PINSKY: And suicide wouldn`t be something that would --
MEMARIAN: Yes, it isn`t, like -- it doesn`t really, like, summarize what her faith was. She was a Christian.
And even as a Christian, we have issues or whatever. But she believed -- she would always encourage me with my hardships, that I can`t solve people`s problems, I can`t be anyone`s savior. Even recently, she was telling me something to that regard, just be there for them and pray for them.
She knew only God could save, only God could really redeem people in matters. And so, you know, with this whole situation and the note on the door, and just how it`s all unfolding, I just think it should be reopened. I don`t think there`s enough evidence there.
PINSKY: Well, we all have a big question marks over our head as all these questions -- the media is hammering on it,, and yet they won`t reopen. I don`t understand.
Mary, I want to go out to you. You`ve said to me in the past that she never showed signs of depression, talked about suicide.
I read today in the autopsy report that one of the things that also was reported -- I think you spoke to her about this -- that she wasn`t overwhelmed by the boy`s accident. I mean, she didn`t express over -- didn`t blame herself for it, let`s put it that way.
MARY ZAHAU, REBECCA ZAHAU`S SISTER: No.
ZAHAU: She was upset like anybody would be upset. If my son was hurt, I would be upset. She got teary-eyed when she talked about it, but yet she was still able to talk about other things that were going on today. And she was able to talk with mom and dad, and she was still able to talk about other things.
PINSKY: So, Mary, again, I want to ask you -- Brandy is saying that it`s completely out of character. Do you agree with that? And let me just tag on to that a question. Did she ever have any strange thinking or strange ideas or anything that could have suddenly spiraled out of control?
ZAHAU: Definitely not. You know, I think every one of us have hard times in our lives where we get upset, we`re sad for a few days in our life. But all of us deal with it differently.
And for Rebecca, it`s her family and her faith. That`s how she deals with it.
And I think they blew it out of proportion by picking out the line where my other sister said she had lost some weight in January, and the two other letters that they`d found on her cell phone. And they kind of picked and chose what would support their conclusion of a suicide. They did not look at the whole picture at all.
PINSKY: Well, speaking of the whole picture, there`s one particularly odd circumstance surrounding the crime scene. On the police report, again, and the autopsy report, there was this report of writing on the hallway outside the bedroom door in sort of black paint. The quote there said "She saved him. Can you save her?"
Mary has told me, Brandy, that the writing, the sort of script, the block letters that were used to put that on the wall, that Mary couldn`t find any evidence of Rebecca using that kind of block lettering anywhere, ever. And that statement, does it mean anything to you? Can you make sense of it even?
MEMARIAN: No. I mean, she was very poetic, and she was an artist of sorts. But her handwriting was very -- it wasn`t like that. I mean, just recently, she wrote me a card, and she never used block lettering. That just wasn`t her.
PINSKY: And how about the statement, the quote itself? It`s a weird --
MEMARIAN: It is. It`s just -- she didn`t speak like that. She wasn`t -- I don`t know. It doesn`t sound like something she would say.
PINSKY: Now, let`s sort of ask the questions of people who are perhaps suspicious out there. And is there any possibility that she had flipped into some sort of altered state at the news of the young boy`s death, and was doing and saying and thinking things that were just completely out of character?
MEMARIAN: I mean, is it possible? I mean, it`s hard -- I mean, anything`s possible, right?
PINSKY: Well, I guess I`m asking you as someone who knew her. If I were someone that knew someone, and they had a period -- times where they got a little paranoid, or had some strange thoughts, I`d go, well, guess they really got -- they flipped -- did you --
MEMARIAN: That wasn`t her character. It just was not.
PINSKY: That was not her.
Mary, you agree with Brandy about that?
ZAHAU: Yes, I do agree. And how do you explain the fact she was talking to me several times both the day of Max`s injury and on Tuesday, the day before she died? She went about normal routines.
She went shopping with my little sister who was there visiting her. She went to eat meals. You know, she was talking to me on the phone. She went about doing a normal routine. If she was that unstable, how do you explain her normal behavior pattern?
PINSKY: Mary, I absolutely agree with you and Brandy.
I thank both of you for joining me today.
And the question is, even more so, hey, we just want the truth. Why not reopen this thing and put some of these doubts to rest, or look into them a little bit?
And Brandy, I`m sorry you`ve had to go through this. I can see the distress that it`s caused you. It`s a very, very sad story.
More details from the autopsy report that calls Rebecca`s death a suicide. But how is it possible that she tied her own hands?
There. Look at that. Come on, now. I haven`t seen anything like that since I watched the movie "Master and Commander."
And the question then -- and I`m going to have some experts in here talk about specifically ropes and how they work. And could it -- is it even possible that a young woman that has no rope experience to do something like this? And should this case be reopened?
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Maybe she was going to bind her feet with Duct tape and she switched to the rope. Well, then where`s the Duct tape? Maybe somebody else was attempting to put Duct tape around her feet, or maybe did put Duct tape around her feet when she was being subdued and then took it off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So was this really a suicide, or could it have been murder?
Rebecca Zahau`s body was found hanging from the balcony of her boyfriend`s multibillion-dollar mansion. Something I want to point out already is peculiar, the fact that somebody goes down. Usually people go up to hang themselves.
Another thing is she was naked. I did a little research today on naked suicides, and there are some sort of typical patterns to that, as rare as they are. One of them being people sometimes are in a psychotic state. The other is complete, complete self-deprivation and depravity, none of which we`ve seen any or heard any evidence that was likely the case in Rebecca`s situation.
Also, hands and feet bound, a shirt stuffed in her mouth, blunt-force trauma to the head. The autopsy still finds this a suicide.
But how does she bind herself? And where did the blows to the head come from? And there was this question of tape on her legs.
All questions that just remain unanswered, and we`ve been chewing on it in the media.
Joining me now is Anne Bremner, the attorney for victim Rebecca Zahau`s family; Roy Black, a criminal defense attorney; and Lyndsey Philpott, a forensic knotting expert and consultant on the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation.
Anne, I`m going to start with you. The autopsy rules a suicide, by tell me why you aren`t buying it.
ANNE BREMNER, ATTORNEY FOR REBECCA ZAHAU`S FAMILY: Well, I did the same research you did, Dr. Drew, and I couldn`t find any of these involving women, first of all. And then, with the binding, they showed in their video at the press conference that she could bind her hands maybe behind her back, but that would take a contortionist Cirque du Soleil artist to do the remainder that`s alleged.
We`ve heard that she actually died on her back from some of the pathologists. Even when you look at the crime scene itself, the bed didn`t move. It looks like it was picked up and then moved.
And I could go on and on. They didn`t compare the footprints to hers. And of course the note, not her writing, and the note refers in the third person to somebody else: "She saved him. Can you save her?"
And it`s such a bizarre, kind of ritualistic kind of stage slaying. I`ve talked to all kinds of experts in getting prepared to bring this back to the San Diego Sheriff`s Office to ask them to reopen this case, as I think most of us think they should do, and everybody agrees that it`s something other than suicide.
PINSKY: Let me ask one quick question, Anne. Why are they resisting? Why not just reopen it? Does it cost a lot of money? Do they lose face or something? Why not?
BREMNER: You know, the only -- suicide`s out of the question, Dr. Drew. But so many questions remain, and that`s one of them.
Seven weeks, why the rush to judgment? I mean, some cases take weeks, months, years, decades to solve, especially homicide cases and even suicide cases.
So why the rush, especially when they only met with the family, with me, formally two days before they made that announcement? And the family at that time had many questions that they posed and new facts that they gave that showed there wasn`t a suicide to the investigators. Now they have even hundreds of questions more in new facts.
But back then they told the investigators, don`t close this. We asked for that, and the next thing we knew, they were having a press conference and closing the case as a suicide.
PINSKY: How did Rebecca bind both her hands and feet and throw herself off the balcony?
Now, we saw that video there where it looks -- that, to me, looks difficult. But I`ve got a forensic specialist here, Lyndsey Philpott, a knotting expert who worked on the JonBenet Ramsey case.
I`m actually really grateful you`re here, because if it`s possible, show me how. Somebody who had no experience with rope, looking at that video, it seems extraordinary to think that somebody in an altered state perhaps could sit down, never having worked with a rope before, and bind themselves, and do it the way we saw in that video.
LYNDSEY PHILPOTT, FORENSIC KNOTTING EXPERT: It`s a very curious thing to be able to tie yourself in knots. And seeing the way in which the video displayed it, you first of all have to find the halfway point on the line, and then put it over yourself like this.
PINSKY: How would you know to do that? I would not know to do that unless I were a sailor from the 17th century or something. And I`m a young woman in distress. I`m going to think to do that?
PHILPOTT: I really don`t think that anybody could think to do that.
PHILPOTT: And it`s very difficult for me even as an expert to be able to manipulate these lines in some way so that I can -- you can see it.
PINSKY: And she actually did it behind her back. Then she got it -- but then --
PHILPOTT: And then to take them off there and put them behind her back would be tantamount to contortionist, because you then have to try to figure out where things are going and how they`re going to get there.
And what would be the purpose? What would be the purpose in showing that your hands are tied behind your back? After all is said and done, if you`re going to be committing suicide, aren`t you mainly concerned with asphyxiating or breaking your own neck as a result of that?
PINSKY: And then the feet too were bound, I guess, although I haven`t seen any video on what kind of binding she allegedly did there. That, too, seems very, very bizarre.
PHILPOTT: I haven`t seen anything which indicates the kind of binding around her wrists, nor have I seen anything indicating the kind of knot around her ankles.
PINSKY: And by the way, how about having the knowledge to be able to have the right kind of -- I wouldn`t know what kind of knot to put around a bed to make sure I wouldn`t just fall to the ground. I mean, isn`t even that in itself a little challenging?
PHILPOTT: That is challenging.
PINSKY: And how about the noose? I don`t know how to tie -- how would she (ph) know how to tie a noose?
PHILPOTT: There`s a number of different ways of tying a noose. You can tie one by doing this. But as you can see, if you put the end in the wrong place, that will simply come apart and you`ll be left with nothing.
You have to put it into the right place, and you have to know to put it into the right place so that it would actually stay in position. And then once it does, it`s going to tighten up around the bed post.
Most people will tie lots of knots. If they`re going to tie anything at all, they`ll tie lots of knots.
PINSKY: That makes sense to me. That makes sense to me.
PHILPOTT: They`ll tie lots of the long kind. And she wasn`t doing that.
PINSKY: And that`s not what she was doing, yes.
Well, listen, I really appreciate you being here, because to me this is one of the most mysterious parts of this, is watching an explanation on a video that`s supposed to show us how it was likely that she did it when, to me, it makes it even more mysterious.
Now, I have a copy of the autopsy report here. And in it, the coroner finds multiple abrasions on Rebecca`s head and one on her leg, where they found tape residual as well.
I want to read something to you hear. There were "three horizontally- oriented, parallel, somewhat evenly-spaced areas of sticky, tan-gray apparent tape residue."
Roy, I`m going out to you. The coroner`s report is suicide. Do you have the same suspicions that I do of all this? And why would she have tape residual on her legs?
ROY BLACK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Dr. Drew, everybody, when they first get into this, is skeptical about it. Even the police were. That`s why they had four independent police agencies investigating this case.
However, rather than get into all these opinions and theories and "what ifs" or what could have happened, instead I went and sat down and read the reports. When you read the reports, it`s fairly clear why they came to the opinion of suicide.
First of all, they took all these knots, the ones around her feet, around her hands, and the rope around her neck, and took DNA from it. And 10 different samples show it only comes back to her.
They tested the rope tied around the bedpost and the bedpost. All the DNA comes back to her.
Then they fingerprinted. They fingerprinted the door going into the bedroom, the door going to the balcony, the bedpost where the rope is. Even the paint tubes and the paint brushes they figured. Only come back to her and nobody else. She has paint on her hands and paint on her torso.
So all the evidence comes back to her. There`s no evidence of a third party. There`s no evidence of a struggle.
There`s dirt on this balcony. There are only her footprints on it. So, the question is, what conclusion can you draw from that?
This is a young lady who`s in excellent shape. Somebody had to -- if it`s a murder, they would have had to take her clothes off, they have to tie her feet, tie her legs, put a rope around her neck, take her upstairs, somehow tie this rope to the bed, take her out to the balcony, and throw her over without leaving a single piece of DNA or fingerprints or signs of a struggle at all. That`s why they say it`s a suicide, because there`s absolutely no evidence that any other party could possibly be involved.
Anne, back to you. How do you respond to that, number one?
And number two, my understanding is that Shacknai`s brother cut her down. Why wasn`t his DNA on the rope from having manipulated it to cut her down? So those are my two questions for you.
BLACK: Well, I can answer that, because that`s in a different part of the rope. That`s not where the knots are.
BLACK: They took the DNA where the knots were around her leg and around her wrists. That`s what`s important.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough.
I`m going to give Anne the last response.
Go ahead, Anne.
BREMNER: Well, thanks. I agree with you, Dr. Drew.
And in fact, it`s gloves, gloves, gloves. I mean, we know people use gloves.
And the fact of the matter is, they didn`t compare other people`s prints. They didn`t match her handwriting. They didn`t compare her own footprints there.
If she`d gone off the edge of that balcony, she would have had two footprints right before she went off, and they weren`t there. Contortionists would have to do this.
If they want to show this is possible, show us a video of all of it. Show us a video of everything -- hands, feet, gag, going over the side, noose, seaman`s knots, square knots, slipknots, to this bed that wasn`t dragged, was picked up and moved.
It`s all something that looks staged, not a suicide. And she was in shape? The cops said she was not in shape. The cops said she was losing weight and depressed. That`s their position.
So I could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is, just in that autopsy report, there`s so many questions raised, not answers. And not enough --
PINSKY: Anne, I have to interrupt. I`m out of time.
Thank you to my excellent panel.
PINSKY: We will be right back.
PINSKY: The so-called "Millionaire Mansion Mystery" has a lot of you questioning the police`s conclusion about this case. Some of you are confused. Some of you are outraged.
We posted this question on our Web site today: "What do you think happened to Rebecca Zahau?" Here are the results.
Eighty-seven percent of you said she was murdered. Just five percent of you said she committed suicide, and eight percent still unsure.
Well, let`s hear more of what you are thinking.
I`ve got Yvette up in Canada.
Go right ahead.
YVETTE, CANADA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Yvette.
YVETTE: Just wanted to make a quick comment that I can imagine Rebecca was devastated by the death of this child, but not to the point of taking her own life. And the thing that leaves me really cold is when her boyfriend and the father of the poor child spoke to his company after, there was no emotion at all. He wasn`t upset. And it just doesn`t add up.
PINSKY: Well, again, lots of questions. I agree with you.
I`m sure he was upset. I mean, this man is not inhuman. But it does make us wonder. It makes you stop and wonder.
The fact that this woman did not behave strangely before this all happened, had no history of suicide or depression, and also wasn`t blaming herself for what happened to the child, and then the bizarre quality of all this, I mean, could she have flipped into some sort of psychotic state? It doesn`t really usually happen like that.
Amy in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Go right ahead, Amy.
AMY, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Amy.
AMY: I just want to say, don`t think this woman killed herself. History has no women killing themselves sound like this. And that crazy message in the third person? As usual, money is probably covering up what actually happened.
PINSKY: Oh, I hate to think that, my dear. I hate to think that, but perhaps it is.
But again, the bizarre qualities are the fact that she jumped down to hang herself, as opposed to putting the rope up somewhere, as people normally do. The fact that she was naked, again, there`s documentation of naked suicide -- I did some research on it today -- but it`s highly unusual and doesn`t in any way fit particularly with this case.
And there are all these things we can`t understand about the ropes and all that, as you saw earlier. There`s no way she tied these ropes. That part just does not fit for me at all.
Now, on Facebook, Liz writes, "One of your guests said when a person contemplates suicide, they don`t think about jumping off a balcony. Rather, they would hang themselves from something up above. Do you agree?"
I agree, as I said just a moment ago. That`s one of the bizarre qualities of this case.
Another thing, by the way, the rope expert mentioned to me before he went out during the break was that the rope, when it went over the railing, there would have been 600 pounds of pressure when she hung there, and there should have been some indentation or something of the rail that the rope was over, as well as there should have been some effect on the rope. Apparently, he says, the ropes have certain signs of that kind of pressure being exerted.
Gina writes, "You asked Rebecca`s sister about whether Rebecca`s faith would make suicide even less likely? Forgive my ignorance, but do people of faith think less about suicide?"
It`s not so much that they think less about suicide in depressed states. It`s that there may be a greater barrier to suicide.
They may be more likely to reach out to, say, clergy or whatnot for help, if they get into that state. The other thing I was wondering is whether there was something about the family`s faith that would make it more difficult for them to admit that it was a suicide had it been one.
Up next, it has been two years since the death of the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson. Jury selection in the trial of his doctor began today.
Is Conrad Murray truly to blame? We will look at this very carefully. I have an excellent panel, and we`ll hopefully get some answers when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): The Michael Jackson death trial is finally underway and questions abound, but the first ones aren`t for witnesses, they`re for potential jurors, more than 400 of them. Will Jackson`s fame keep them from being impartial? Would you be able to separate your love for MJ to judge the defendant fairly? What details do we already know that they won`t be allowed to see?
Also, who is this man? Conrad Murray. Why did Jackson hire him? How did he get involved in AEG`s deal to take care of the pop star? Was he desperate for money? I`m talking to Jackson`s friend and spiritual adviser for the answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Tonight, the jury selection process begins in the trial involving the death of the world`s biggest pop star, Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson`s former doctor, Conrad Murray, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Murray is accused of administering a lethal dose of propofol to Jackson just before he died.
The defense has argued that jurors would be poisoned, so-called, by the publicity unless they were kept in isolation during the trial. Superior court judge, Michael Pastor, has shut down sequestration. Opening statements are set to be heard September 27th.
I`m joined by Judge Greg Mathis who is host of "Judge Mathis Show." And Judge Mathis was actually requested by Katherine Jackson to speak at Michael`s memorial service in Gary, Indiana just last year. And a friend and spiritual advisor to Michael Jackson, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is here. And at the courthouse, "In Session`s" correspondent, Jean Casarez. Jean, what happened today at the court.
JEAN CASAREZ, IN SESSION CORRESPONDENT: Well, today was the first day of jury selection. I was lucky enough to be inside the jury assembly room with all 160 perspective jurors, and I say lucky, because there was a lottery and only five public members people got in. But I saw many, many diverse, ethnic, every race and creed for perspective jurors, but when the judge came in and asked if anyone had not heard of this case, not one single solitary hand went up.
And so, the judge knew that he had a high-profile case on his hands. He issued an admonition order telling jurors that if they said or spoke at all about this case or researched it with anyone that they could be found in contempt of court and face jail time. But I`ve got to tell you, the other public members along with myself that got into the jury room, there were five altogether. The other four, no one knew this, but they were big Michael Jackson fans.
One woman had a t-shirt on that said MJ with her Michael Jackson`s button. She had to take it off, reverse her T-shirt before she could go into that jury assembly room. Another woman had a necklace with something of Michael Jackson on it that didn`t show. She was allowed to keep it on, but two women from Germany were also had won that lottery, and they came to Los Angeles all the way from Germany for Michael Jackson`s birthday and this trial.
PINSKY: It`s very interesting. It seems like rather than sequestration, it`s going to be an iron fisted judge managing the courtroom. It`s an interesting strategy. Here now are some of the questions from the jury questionnaire. OK. Here it is. It says in this questionnaire, this trial will be followed closely by the news media, do you think this will affect you if chosen as a juror? That`s one question.
Another, have you been prescribed medication by a friend who is a physician? Interesting. Another, have you accessed or posted any blog concerning Michael Jackson or Conrad Murray? Judge Mathis, what is the strategy here for both sides? What are they trying to accomplish?
JUDGE GREG MATHIS, HOST, "JUDGE MATHIS": Well, I think that on the defense side, they`d like to see the trial move to another jurisdiction where, perhaps, Michael isn`t as popular, because there`s nowhere they can go where he`s not known of. He was arguably the most famous man in the world prior to his death. And I think that the judge, of course, is trying to assure a level of fairness by making sure he gets an impartial jury.
But, impartial juries are hard to come by with people as famous as Michael. But, the good news is that you`ll have critics who previously didn`t care for Michael. And then, you`ll have fanatics who loved him to death. So, it kind of offsets each other.
PINSKY: Judge Mathis, is that questionnaire likely to trigger some data that would cause a change of venue?
MATHIS: No, not at all. They`d have to prove that there`s -- that the media would be so prejudicial or that the jurors would be so prejudiced by media coverage that they could not give a fair decision. Not the questionnaire as much. The questionnaire is pretty perfunctory. And the things that are answered there are pretty much expected.
I mean, if you`ve been victimized by crime, then of course -- if the crime was the same type you were victimized by, you would be removed from the jury. So, there are perfunctory things that would have you removed by the jury based on the questionnaire, but it`s the prejudice of the jury which occurs from the media that`s the concern.
PINSKY: I get it. So, the questionnaire is more this usual question they would do in any criminal trial rather than specific for Michael Jackson? Now, here`s defense attorney, Edward Chernoff, talking about why he wanted the jurors to be sequestered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD CHERNOFF, CONRAD MURRAY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We can trust jurors to be good human beings, but we cannot necessarily assume they`re not going to be looking at television and looking at the internet and all the other things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Jean, do you think the defense is going to be able to find jurors who aren`t biased by all this?
CASAREZ: They`re going to work real hard. You know, I interviewed Ed Chernoff last night on the eve before trial, and I asked him, are you concerned about the stealth juror? The one who wants to become famous and write the book and make a lot of money? He said, we`re very, very concerned about that. They have a jury consultant.
You know, it`s interesting, the judge said today to all the jurors that they would have to wait 90 days after the trial to accept any type of payment or benefit in regard to this trial and serving on this jury. An interesting thing jurors told right from the get go.
PINSKY: Well, I tell you what. I don`t think this thing is going to go away in 90 days. So, that probably doesn`t make any difference to somebody who`s trying to make money off this thing. Now, the defense, apparently, wants to make the drug propofol essential to the case. They are saying that Jackson gave himself a fatal dose by drinking it after Dr. Murray had injected him.
Prosecution wants an anesthesiologist to testify to say, and I agree, that you cannot die from drinking propofol. Rabbi Shmuley, did Michael ever talk to you about distress with sleeping or were you ever concerned about substance issues?
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, FRIEND, SPIRITUAL ADVISOR TO MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, like many celebrities, Michael lived the topsy-turvy live. Day was night and night was day. I don`t know if that was due to insomnia or the fact that he found the nights more peaceful, but what is certainly true is that, Drew, you know more than most about the corruption of celebrity, and that`s what this trial is all about.
There are simply too many Hollywood doctors who glare (ph) the line between being physicians and being pushers. Now, while Conrad Murray has the presumption of innocence, there are so many questions that need to be addressed. And foremost among them is, when he knew that Michael was a troubled soul, and anyone who is in Michael`s vicinity knew that, why didn`t they get him the help that he needed?
He didn`t need more painkillers. He didn`t need more antidepressants. He needed to get to the core of the issues that were troubling him. And I`m amazed that only one person is being put on trial. I predicted years ago and you (INAUDIBLE) was unfortunately so evident that Michael would die young. Of course, there were issues with -- you ask about prescription drug medication.
Michael famously admitted to it, I think, back in 1993. He had to be watched. He needed proper guidance, and anyone who wanted to stay in his vicinity often caved in order to remain in his orbit by simply giving him what he wanted. But a doctor`s job is to treat his patient, not to capitulate to their desire for self-harm.
PINSKY: Rabbi Shmuley, I agree with you 100 percent. My profession ill-served Michael Jackson. That is a bottom line here for sure. Now, the prosecution is going to show the "This Is It" rehearsals to try to prove that Michael Jackson was in great shape. Judge Mathis, do you think that video is going to be damaging to the defense?
MATHIS: Well, I`m not sure, because I don`t know if that`s as much a question as is the fact that Dr. Conrad Murray administrated a medication that was to be administered in a hospital setting. So, he whether he was in good shape or not, I don`t think it`s as relevant, because he took the medication or he was administered the medication to address his sleep disorder, not to address his physical health, at least, that`s my understanding. So, I don`t think that`s going to be as relevant as some might think.
PINSKY: Judge, you bring up an interesting point, which is that any in the four of us on this panel, if the medicines that he had received that night had been distributed amongst the four of us, we`d all be in bad shape no matter what the status of our health is today. We would be in trouble.
All right. Next, where did Conrad Murray come from? How did he become the King of Pop`s personal doctor? Should he have been Michael Jackson`s doctor in the first place? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: It`s absolutely shocking how many jurors think already they know everything about this case. Jurors who think that they know what`s going to be presented at trial. Jurors who think they know what the arguments are going to be. Jurors that have already made decisions about guilt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The charge of the defense involuntary manslaughter a felony, Dr. Murray. How do you plead?
DR. CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON`S DOCTOR: Your honor, I`m an innocent man. I, therefore, plead not guilty. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Dr. Conrad Murray pleading not guilty. Now, who is Dr. Conrad Murray? Imagine, one day, you`re an unknown physician, the next day, the entire world knows you as the doctor who may have been responsible for the death of Michael Jackson. It`s just massive. This all consuming reality is what Dr. Murray faces every morning when he gets up and every evening, particularly, if he can`t sleep.
So, why did Michael Jackson choose this doctor over, perhaps, more- qualified physicians? Jackson was willing to pay Murray a reported $150,000 a month. Now, you`d think that get anybody he wanted. Rabbi Shmuley, I know you knew Michael Jackson personally, and you`re very kindly actually invited me to New York City to participate in a charity event with Michael.
That`s where I met Michael. Why do you think he would have hired Dr. Murray, someone with really no specific outstanding achievements in his career, a lot of outstanding (INAUDIBLE) apparently. Why do you think that was the case?
BOTEACH: Well, and you kindly agreed to participate, and thank you, Drew. Look, it`s not fair for me to speculate. What I can say is that Michael often seemed to surround himself with physicians who would do what he wanted as opposed to what he need. Does Conrad Murray fit into that description? Well, that`s what this trial will tell us. But I remember that when we took Michael to a certain charity function for cancer, as he was leaving, he said he had hurt his back.
We went back to his hotel and he asked for a doctor, and I called a very eminent physician who comes out of the room, and he says, Michael just asked me for a quantity of painkillers that could kill him. And I remember going into Michael`s bedroom and saying to him, we were just told by this physician, you can`t live like this. And the very next night, it was a Sabbath meal at our home, and Michael stood during the dinner for the Friday night Sabbath meal.
I told him, sit and join us, and he said, no, I`m standing because my back still hurts, and I`ve taken your advice that you have to learn to live with your pain. So, Michael was aware that he needed to summon the will power to transcend the needs of these medications. But, you clearly see in the story the difference between doctors who said to him, no, absolutely not, versus doctors who may have been prepared to accommodate him.
And this is becoming an epidemic in Hollywood. And how many more celebrities do we need to see who inspire us when we`re young. We all grew up with the music of Michael Jackson. Whatever people feel about Michael, he inspired a lot of lives. He`s not with us anymore. Three children are orphaned. How many more times will this happen until we finally decide that doctors are not pushers.
And again, I don`t want to (INAUDIBLE). Maybe Conrad Murray is not there, but I also want to add, you know, when it comes to how we look at this trial, Michael wasn`t a caricature. He wasn`t Whacko Jacko. This was a human being who died. And I think we tend to lose sight of the magnitude of the human tragedy. Someone died here. And if someone is accountable for it, they have to pay a price.
PINSKY: I think everything you say is very interesting. I talked to Deepak Chopra about this very issue you bring up, and he raised to Michael and was sort of dismissed from his inner circle, because he wasn`t cooperating with what Michael wanted. Now, Jean, I know that Dr. Murray has seven kids. Apparently, five of them are from different women. He was not married, too. Sort of a ladies` man, I guess.
Are prosecutors going to make much of that in the case? Plus, apparently, he was calling some of his girlfriends during the time he was administering these medications to Jackson. Is that going to be an issue in this trial?
CASAREZ: You know, I think some of that may come out inadvertently, though, the prosecutors cannot overtly talk about how many children he had, unless, it`s relevant to the issues. Those phone calls, that`s going to be highly relevant to this case with girlfriend, so, yes, that will come in.
PINSKY: Now, we`re getting reports that Dr. Murray may actually take the stand in his own defense. Remember, Dr. Murray declared his innocence on YouTube. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: I have done all I could do. I told the truth. And I have faith, the truth will prevail. God bless you. And thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Judge Mathis, do you think it`s a good idea for Dr. Murray to take the stand?
MATHIS: No. That`s usually only a last resort to save your freedom. You know, the prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt, and that`s a tough bar to overcome. So, there`s really -- there`s really less fortune to be found in you getting on the stand, because it`s almost as if you`re proving your innocence instead of waiting for them to prove that very high bar of beyond a reasonable doubt. But when you`re desperate, then, yes you get up there.
PINSKY: I remember these conversations about Casey Anthony not that long ago. Rabbi Shmuley, back to you. Did Michael ever discuss with you his decision to hire Dr. Murray or were you involved in anyway with his relationship with Dr. Murray?
BOTEACH: No. Our relationship had terminated many years before. I remember -- what I tried to do, as you remember from the panel that you and presented together at Carnegie Hall, was to put Michael in serious situations where his voice could be heard. He wanted to be an advocate for children, but because of the 1993 allegations, no one would take him seriously if you work with kids. My solution was work with their parents.
So, you and I and the few others did a panel at Carnegie Hall where we tried to encourage parents to read their children bedtime stories, have regular family dinners with them, and Michael used his celebrity to highlight that cause. Michael had a very wholesome image of himself. And that`s why he would never take street drugs. He used to always criticized to me rock stars who slept with groupies, who had tattoos, who took drugs.
Therefore, if it wasn`t a street drug, if it was a prescription drug medication that administered to a doctor, I guess, in his mind, it wasn`t something bad because it was something necessary. It was something medical. And that`s where these doctors became so relevant. They really had to say to Michael, whether you buy something off the streets or whether you tell us to give it to you, it really makes no difference. The result is the same. You are endangering your future.
PINSKY: Rabbi Shmuley, I`m going to interrupt you real quick. Just tell you that in my world, my patients when they die of addiction, they die of prescription drug death. That`s the way it is today with most addicts. That`s the world we live in right now. So, the issues you bring up are near and dear to my heart. Were you aware of the magnitude of his substance abuse? Did he ever discuss it with you? Did you ever see bottles around?
BOTEACH: No, I never saw bottles of medication around. I was aware of it on certain occasions where he would sometimes call me and say to me I love you, I feel so close to you, and it was very warm and nice to hear, but it was clear to me that he didn`t sound himself. When we gave a lecture together auction university (ph), again, in pursuit of giving Michael a more serious voice and a more serious context, he arrived with a broken foot.
He said he had broken his foot while he was dancing. There always seemed to be a physical malady that necessitated a doctor`s presence. And there was a doctor then, and I remember, you know, feeling a little bit uncomfortable. A doctor had accompanied him. Was that really necessary? So, there were certainly indicators that Michael was using physical maladies almost as an excuse to turn to prescription medication.
PINSKY: Well, thank you, Jean, thank you, Rabbi Shmuley, and thank you, Judge Mathis.
When we come back, a couple to Jacksons make some shocking allegation. Again, it`s the Jacksons. We have all the details after the break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not conscious either?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he`s not conscious, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right. Is he on the floor? Where`s 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Let`s get him down to the floor. I`m going to help you with CPR right now, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Today was the first day of jury selection in the Conrad Murray trial. He`s charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Michael`s sister, La Toya, talked recently about her brother`s death and made this shocking allegation. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LA TOYA JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S BROTHER: I absolutely do believe he was murdered. I truly believe it was a conspiracy. Michael told me that this was going to happen. He told me what was going on. And yes, I do. He told me that they were after his catalog, and they will kill him to get it. Yes, Conrad was the fall guy, but there are other people involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Judge Mathis, she told me the same thing right here on this program. Do you think it`s possible that there was some sinister intent somewhere besides just the adulterated action of one physician?
MATHIS: Well, who knows? We do know that the catalog was worth nearly a half billion dollars or more. However, you know, it`s tough for me to believe in conspiracies being a judge. I have to go with the facts and empirical data, but who knows? The possibility of paying him off or him being a fall guy, I don`t know. I have no idea, but I don`t believe in conspiracies until they prove it by fact.
PINSKY: I agree with you. I mean -- these are hard things to sort of make sense of, but you know? Listen, Rabbi Shmuley, to you, what do you hope comes out of this trial? Is there anything where -- anything could have happened from this trial where Michael Jackson`s death would not have been in vain?
BOTEACH: Absolutely. First and foremost, I hope that we save the lives of other celebrities. Celebrities are still -- they`re human beings and too many of them are dying. I think there are young people who are in our movies and on television who are headed in that direction, and I hope that all of these corrupt doctors who give them -- administer these very disruptive medications will be -- will stop because they`ll have the living daylights scared out of them.
I also hope that Michael`s life will experience greater redemption. In the final analysis, Michael wanted to be more than a singer. He wanted to be more than an entertainer. He didn`t like that word. Michael wanted to be a voice for those who had no voice, primarily, children. Now, he corrupted (ph) that message a little bit when mistakes (ph) that he made, but the message remains valid. I`m hoping that more of that message will be focused on and people will hear what he really wanted to stand for as a result of this.
PINSKY: Thank you, Rabbi and thank you judge. I also hope there`ll be some sort of system put in place that sort of -- we can see what pharmacies are prescribing in a unified way. Some sort of overarching system which we don`t have today, believe it or not.
A couple of more words before I go. Thank you, gentleman. We spent some time tonight discussing Conrad Murray. Who is he? A physician. Some sort of hired gun for Michael Jackson. He was given a ton of money to live with Michael Jackson. In effect, this is where the relationship between the patient and the doctor went off the rail. It became adulterated by money, by celebrity, and by the fact that Jackson was dictating the care and the care was special.
In the world of medicine, whenever somebody gives special care, it`s not good. The standard of care is the standard of care for a reason. It`s because it`s the best. We give standard care to everybody. Everyone deserves the best. No one gets special care. And when people do get special care, the doctor/patient relationship is adulterated, and the health care becomes lower quality. Know this.
Hopefully, we`ll have a chance to talk about this during the course of this trial. His care was sabotaged. My profession ill served him. Thank you for watching. We`ll see you next time.