TheWrap Investigates: confidential records detail drugs, aliases used for prescriptions
As a multi-agency criminal investigation continues into the death of Michael Jackson, confidential police documents from 2004 suggest that the path into the dark world of the entertainer’s use of prescription drugs was lined with willing doctors and employees.
A police interview with former Jackson bodyguard Christopher Carter named five doctors who continually prescribed drugs for the pop star. (Read the full document here.)
“Carter said he would drive Jackson to doctor’s offices in New York, Florida and California,” according to the interview, labelled “highly confidential.”
He named “Dr. Klein, Dr. Metzger (unknown spelling), Dr. Barney from Solvang, Dr. Saunders and Dr. Farshchian,” the interview read.
“Carter described Jackson as being sharp and ‘in tune’ prior to the doctor visits and afterward he would be out of it and sedated.”
Dr. Farshchian told Carter that Jackson was addicted to Demerol, but that he’d been trying to wean the entertainer from it.
The police interviews were part of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department investigation into charges that Michael Jackson had molested Gavin Arvizo, a young man who frequently visited the entertainer with his parents.
Jackson was acquitted of the charges in 2004.
“Dr. Klein” refers to Arnold Klein, the Beverly Hills dermatologist who was Jackson’s longtime caregiver. His assistant, Deborah Rowe, carried two of Jackson’s children.
TheWrap called Klein’s office to ask whether he had illegally prescribed medications.
"We are not making any statement," said a female employee answering his phones at his Beverly Hills office. The employee hung up when asked if Klein was being questioned by Los Angeles police who are investigating Jackson’s death.
Alex Farshchian’s office did not respond to a message left by TheWrap. The other doctors could not be reached for comment.
Citing an anonymous source, The Los Angeles Times reported that the authorities are investigating five doctors and their treatment of Jackson, which may or may not have had an impact in the singer’s death.
It is not known what involvement the physicians cited in 2004 may have had in the final days of Jackson’s life or if they are part of LAPD probe, which is getting an assist from the DEA and the California Attorney General’s office.
It is a felony to illegally prescribe prescription drugs, meaning to prescribe drugs while knowing the patient is not in need of them for a medical condition. But legal experts say that the crime can be extremely hard to prove.
A preliminary LA County Coroner’s report on death was inconclusive as to cause of death. Toxicology tests on Jackson are expected within several weeks.
TheWrap has reported that the independent autopsy requested by Jackson’s family was, like the L.A. coroner’s findings, inconclusive.
Another confidential police interview gave further detail into doctors supplying Jackson with prescription drugs. Bodyguard Michael LaPerruque told Santa Barbara detectives that he believed Dr. Farshchian “may have been over prescribing medication.”
LePerruque told detectives that he picked up the prescriptions for Jackson and that they were usually written under the name “Chris Carter.”
“LaPerruque said that there were some doctors that were trying to get Jackson off of Demerol. He said there was one doctor in Santa Barbara that was upset with Jackson because he had been self-injecting.”
Carter told detectives said he would get Xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for Jackson under false names, including his own. Other names used for Jackson’s prescriptions included Frank Cascio, Jesus Salas and Joe Marcus.
“Jackson was taking 10+ Xanax pills a night,” he told detectives. Another employee said this was an improvement, since Jackson was “down from 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night.”
The investigation also included a toxicology report made from a snippet of Jackson’s clothing at the time. The report found that Jackson had four substances in his system: Meperidine (Demerol), Normeperidine, promethazine (an antihistamine) and cocaine.
The 2004 police documents do not mention Diprivan, also known as propofol, a powerful sedative used as an anesthetic, which police some said was in Jackson’s home when he died.