updated 6/29/2009 10:21:55 AM ET 2009-06-29T14:21:55

Guests: Lee Cowan, Bob Bazell, Mike Taibbi, Nancy Snyderman, Carlos Diaz, Joe Madison, Norman Goldman, Harriet Ryan

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans. 

Live from 30 Rock in New York, breaking news tonight on THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC, the intrigue over what killed Michael Jackson. 

The autopsy is done.  The L.A. coroner will hold a press conference in this hour.  We‘ll tell you that entire press conference live, as soon as it starts, here on MSNBC.

Plus, Michael Jackson‘s final hours.  The 911 tape raises new questions.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: Did anybody witness what happened?

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

911 OPERATOR:  OK.  So did the doctor see what happened?

911 OPERATOR:  Doctor, did you see what happened, sir? 

Sir, we just—if you can please...

911 OPERATOR:  We‘re on our way.  We‘re on our way.  I‘m just passing questions on to our paramedics, but they‘re on the way there, sir.

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

(END AUDIO CLIP) 

SCHULTZ:  All that tonight, plus interviews with people who knew Michael Jackson throughout his incredible life and career. 

The passing of Michael Jackson has made a lot of Americans and people around the world pay attention and think, to think about what it must have been like to be Michael Jackson—a mega star since childhood, a loving friend.  You hear the testimony on this network, a loving friend to many.  A very complex person.  And he leaves with us a story full of intrigue and a career that was unparalleled, yet very troubled and debt-ridden. 

Michael Jackson was a hard person to figure out when he was alive. 

And it all seems more puzzling tonight in his wake. 

How could a star, a star as big as Michael Jackson, have so many peaks and valleys, and yet be so compassionate through it all?  America has been fixated on Jackson since he was 5 years old. 

In this hour, we‘ll bring you up to date on the latest and, of course, the live press conference from the L.A. Coroner‘s Office later on in this hour. 

Joining me right now is NBC‘s Lee Cowan, who is at the L.A. Coroner‘s Office. 

Can you explain to on your our viewers, give us some speculation or an exact reason as to why this has been delayed several times and now it‘s at the bottom of this hour? 

LEE COWAN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Ed, they never really gave a specific time.  They were hoping to have it sometime this afternoon.  They sort of said, well, we‘re going to come around noon, and they did keep pushing it back. 

I think at best, what we can really expect from this, I think, is a preliminary cause of death, which very likely will be what we already know, that it was cardiac arrest.  I think what‘s going to take a lot longer, obviously, ,is these toxicology reports.  They could take anywhere between six and eight weeks. 

We asked earlier, look, you can certainly move some of this stuff up given the prominence of this case.  And he said, well, there‘s some things you can move up, but some of these tests just have to sort of run their course, that‘s why it takes a certain amount of time. 

So, while we know the autopsy is completed, we‘ll probably get some preliminary results from it, I don‘t think we‘re going to get anything final at this.  So we can‘t expect too much I don‘t think out of this. 

We know that the medical examiner here, the coroner, had actually gone and talked with the family of Michael Jackson.  We know his father, Joe, is at the Encino home here in California, along with at least one of Jackson‘s sons as well.  So part of that may have just been time for him to go over there, explain what the autopsy results showed, and then come back here, as opposed to having the family come here, which is something we first heard. 

So, all of this is timing, but again, I don‘t think that there‘s going to be any bombshell that we‘re going to hear in the next half-hour or so. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.

Lee, now, what about who it is, Michael Jackson?  The world is watching.  The pressure‘s on. 

Would this be handled any differently than any other autopsy or any other briefing? 

COWAN:  Well, it‘s interesting.  We asked that.  I mean, clearly, security they say is up not only out here, outside the coroner‘s office, but also inside as well, to protect any information from being leaked out to the press or anyone else before the family is notified as to what‘s going on. 

So, in that respect, something is different.  But in terms of the actual autopsy itself, we asked the coroner this morning and he said, no, this is a standard autopsy.  It won‘t take very long, only a couple of hours.  And that seems to be the case. 

And in terms of the toxicology tests that were being done, he said they weren‘t testing for any specific drug.  There‘s been a lot of talk about Demerol in the media, and he said he didn‘t know anything about that at all.  They‘re doing a standard scan, he said, a toxicology report. 

Now, they may amend that and go back in and look for certain things after that, but I think they have to wait and see what they get from this initial scan.  So, overall, this is exactly the same kind of autopsy, minus the extra security concerns, that anybody else would get. 

SCHULTZ:  Lee, do we know, was Michael Jackson DOA?  When he got to the hospital, was it over? 

COWAN:  I think it probably was.  I mean, from the sounds of it, you don‘t hear people trying to resuscitate somebody for upwards of 40 minutes or an hour.  Some of the reports indicate that his personal physician that was there tried to keep doing the CPR when the paramedics got there.  The paramedics wanted to code him right there, and the doctor said, no, let‘s keep going, so they kept doing the CPR all the way to the hospital.  And from what we understand, maybe even continued on for a good portion after that, at least according to Michael Jackson‘s brother, for almost an hour in the hospital. 

But it sounded like—even when you listen to that 911 call, it sounded like nothing was working.  They couldn‘t get him breathing again, they obviously couldn‘t get him conscious again despite the repeated attempts to keep the CPR going. 

And after a certain amount of time, as you know, Ed, it is a futile attempt.  As much as you try, there comes a point of time there where, even if they did bring him back, it might almost be worse.  So, it does sound like this was pretty fatal right from the very beginning. 

SCHULTZ:  And finally, Lee, what has it been like outside the coroner‘s office today?  I‘m sure there‘s a lot of rubberneckers, people driving by, seeing what‘s going on.  Have there been a lot of the people that have come by? 

What has the scene been like out there today?

COWAN:  Well, it‘s interesting.  This morning, there weren‘t a lot of people.  We were out here bright and early, around 4:00 a.m. Pacific Time here, and there weren‘t a lot of people out.  Part of the problem was a lot of people had a difficult time figuring out where to go and mourn. 

Michael Jackson‘s star on the—in Hollywood was actually covered over last night because of a movie premier.  That ended late last night, but there wasn‘t that place that they could go right on the Walk of Fame to memorialize him.  So a lot of people went to the Jackson family home in Encino, but they couldn‘t get particularly close. 

A lot of people gathered outside the UCLA Medical Center yesterday right after the news broke.  But Ed, this afternoon now there‘s a pretty good crowd of people across the street.  A lot of people holding signs saying, “Honk if you love Michael Jackson.”

So there is certainly a scene.  I think people are just waiting for something.  And the only thing we can really wait for at this point is from what this autopsy result has to say, and it‘s probably not going to satisfy a lot of the people. 

SCHULTZ:  NBC‘s Lee Cowan in Los Angeles tonight outside the coroner‘s office. 

We want to remind our viewers tonight that we will be covering the press conference live, which is scheduled to begin—it‘s been delayed twice—it‘s scheduled to begin at the bottom of this hour. 

A lot of speculation about Michael Jackson‘s doctor. 

I want to bring in NBC News Chief Science and Health Correspondent Bob Bazell.  He has been checking into what we should know about this doctor. 

Bob, what do we know?  We‘ve heard so many things, so much speculation.  I guess I‘d like to know off the top, is it confirmed that this doctor was actually living with Michael Jackson? 

BOB BAZELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF SCIENCE & HEALTH CORRESPONDENT:  No, none of that has been confirmed.  There‘s been stuff on Web sites naming a certain doctor, but NBC News has not confirmed that is the doctor.  So we won‘t name him there. 

But clearly, we know from the 911 call that there was a doctor there, and that the doctor had been working on Michael Jackson before the phone call was made.  So whatever happened, happened in the doctor‘s presence, according to the 911 caller.  And that tells you there that was some interaction going on beforehand. 

So, this doctor—and also, these Web sites have reported that the doctor is talking to the LAPD—he may give more information than the autopsy did, because as Lee Cowan was just telling you, a standard autopsy of a 50-year-old person who died could tell you that he had a massive heart attack or a stroke or something very obvious like that.  And he may have. 

That could have been what happened to Michael Jackson.  We keep operating on speculation here.  But if he just died because his heart stopped, and his heart stopped because of a drug or something else, that‘s going to take a long time to determine what happened. 

SCHULTZ:  Do we know who the doctor is? 

BAZELL:  I don‘t know hot doctor is.  I‘ve heard a name mentioned, and I‘m not going to repeat until we confirm it. 

SCHULTZ:  Sure. 

BAZELL:  But there is a—there had been reports about a doctor who has been named on Web sites as being the one. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, law enforcement officials want to talk to this doctor.  Now, we understand that they‘ve already spoken with him and are going to be speaking with him again tomorrow. 

Is he being somewhat aloof, or has he been easily accessible to law enforcement? 

BAZELL:  It didn‘t sound like it took very long to find him.  Since they had the car that he rented and impounded it last night, they would have—either the car would have been—unless he didn‘t rent it in his own name, it would not have taken very long to find the guy.  And I don‘t think he would want to remain unfound for a long time. 

He clearly is the key player in this, a physician who, by all accounts, seems to have been present at the moment that Michael Jackson died.  You couldn‘t want a more important witness than that.  And it seems to be the case here.  And he is reportedly talking to the LAPD, although we have not heard anything directly. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  And we don‘t know anything, whether he‘s gone out and lawyered up or anything like that? 

BAZELL:  No, of course not.  We wouldn‘t have heard that until we get an official statement. 

But we did—there was a few interesting things in there.  I mean, one of the things in the 911 call, the dispatcher started to give the caller instructions on how to give CPR while the ambulance was on its way.  And we know that Michael Jackson was in a bed, and the doctor was trying to give him CPR on a bed. 

You don‘t want to do that.  You want to put somebody, if you‘re doing manual CPR, onto a hard surface and press on the chest that way to get the maximum compression. 

In terms of what was you might see in an autopsy, they‘re obviously going to see bruises from that, but they‘ll know that that was not foul play.  And they may also see whether or not there was any other kind of foul play, which is always the reason that you do an autopsy, when a doctor doesn‘t sign off on a death certificate. 

SCHULTZ:  And finally, Bob, was there anything on that 911 tape that caught your interest? 

BAZELL:  Well, mostly that there was a doctor there. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BAZELL:  And that the physician was—he was under the care of a doctor at the time that he died, although clearly the doctor, according to the—well, UCLA kept—it wasn‘t just a file—Jermaine had said that.  UCLA put out a statement that they continued to try to revive him when he got to the hospital, although I think he had been long since brain dead just from the nature of the account in the way it seemed to unfold.

So, I think that, probably, if it hadn‘t been Michael Jackson, they would not have continued the revival as much as they did, because, as Lee Cowan pointed out, if you revive somebody who‘s been—whose heart has stopped beating for more than six minutes, they are very likely to have severe brain damage, if they live at all.

SCHULTZ:  Bob Bazell, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

BAZELL:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Through Michael Jackson‘s troubles, his fans have stayed loyal.  This afternoon in Los Angeles and around the world, they mourned his death.

Joining us from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where fans have paid tribute all day to “The King of Pop” is NBC News Correspondent Mike Taibbi.

Mike, are you surprised at the outpouring?  And has it been consistent today?

MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  No, I‘m absolutely not surprised at all, Ed.  Believe me, the fans have been here since about 3:00 in the morning, when I got here.  The crowd is building steadily all day long to the point where at about midday, LAPD sent a contingent down to announce to people that they were going to be moved away from the star itself, which is just west of Tommy Lee Jones and Sharon Stone, and moved to barriers where they‘d be allowed to walk past Michael Jackson‘s star, which they‘ve been doing, all the waiting, an average about a half hour to do so.  And I see a couple hundred people just to the east of here still waiting to be directed by the police to get in here. 

No, I‘m not surprised at all.  And you know, Ed, going back to the trial itself, I remember during that trial how low the ratings were for Michael Jackson. 

Three out of four people in most polls, four out of five in some, basically said they believed he was a child molester no matter what.  And even after the trial, five percent—only five percent had a positive feeling about him, less than for O.J. Simpson and for Saddam Hussein.

And it was that low, and yet one day outside our workspace, I put his CD, ,the number one hits, in the car, opened the doors, all four speakers, and in literally 30 seconds there were dozens of people dancing around the car.  Total strangers.  I mean, that‘s the kind of effect his music had, that part of his legacy had, despite his legal troubles on the other side, which were legion and lasted a decade and a half. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Taibbi, thanks so much for joining us tonight. 

Coming up at 6:30, we‘re expecting the coroner‘s report in Los Angeles.  Dr. Nancy Snyderman joins me next with what to listen for in that press conference. 

That‘s next.  Stay with us, right here on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And welcome back to THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC, our special coverage. 

We are waiting for a news conference by the Los Angeles County Coroner‘s office.  We‘ll bring that to you live at the bottom of the hour.  6:30 Eastern Time is now scheduled for that news conference. 

What we do know now is that Michael Jackson had a dependency on prescription drugs in the past, and that several people close to his family were worried that he was still using drugs. 

For more on that, let me bring in NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr.  Nancy Snyderman.  Her new show, “Dr. Nancy,” premiere s Monday at noon, right here on MSNBC. 

Nancy, what can we expect to hear at this press conference tonight? 

What will you be listening for? 

DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, NBC NEWS CHIEF MEDICAL EDITOR:  Ed, I think the first thing we‘ll hear is what the coroner accomplished today.  And that will really just be taking sort of—what we call a gross look at heart, lungs, liver, to tell us if they found anything.  They may, they may not. 

I suspect they‘ll probably say there isn‘t much and they‘re going to wait for the toxicology reports.  That‘s usually a very routine list of medications and drugs, and they‘ll be checking urine, blood, spinal fluid and tissue.  And that will take days to weeks to finally put that complete report together. 

SCHULTZ:  Demerol, isn‘t that a rather old drug, narcotic?  There‘s been other drugs on the market that are more contemporary. 

Does that drug get used a lot? 

SNYDERMAN:  It‘s rarely, if any time, a first line drug of choice for pain.  It‘s not even a great pain medication.  It‘s highly addictive.  Because it‘s not great for pain, a lot of hospitals don‘t use it. 

There have been rumors swirling around that Demerol has been implicated in this arrest.  We don‘t know that yet.  But if in fact it was used, it will be very easy to find that in the tissue samples. 

SCHULTZ:  You say it will be easy to find in the tissue samples? 

SNYDERMAN:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘ll tell you, I think most Americans are out there thinking, 50 years old, cardiac arrest, that‘s a tough one to hear. 

SNYDERMAN:  Well, ,it is a tough one to hear.  And with a history of narcotic abuse, we know that getting off narcotics is not always easy.  And if you have money and access to physicians who have access to narcotics, and you surround yourself with people who are economically dependent on you, people who are unwilling to say no, it can be a recipe for disaster. 

We don‘t know which of those issues can be implicated here.  But those are certainly questions that the authorities will be looking at as they look at the doctor and the other people who are in the house when this 911 call was made. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Thanks, Dr. Nancy. 

SNYDERMAN:  You bet, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Looking forward to your show on Monday. 

SNYDERMAN:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  I know you‘ll have lots more on Michael Jackson‘s death investigation on your new show. 

“Dr. Nancy” debuts Monday at noon Eastern, right here on MSNBC. 

Our breaking news conference continues.  The L.A. coroner is expected to speak at 6:30 Eastern about Jackson‘s autopsy.  We‘ll bring to it you live as soon as it starts. 

But up next, people all over the world are pouring out to express their love and admiration for the “King of Pop.” 

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go live now to Los Angeles as the coroner‘s press conference is just starting. 

We‘ve got breaking news. 

We lost our feed and we will get back to it as soon as we possibly can. 

We‘ve been following the latest—we‘re back now? 

OK, we‘ve got the live feed from Los Angeles.  Here is the press conference. 

(BREAKING NEWS)

SCHULTZ:  You have been watching a live press conference just outside the coroner‘s office in Los Angeles, where the autopsy of pop star Michael Jackson has been completed.  It was completed at 1:00 this afternoon.  What we know from Mr. Craig Harvey, who was the spokesperson for the L.A.  Coroner‘s Office, there is no medical signs of foul play.  But the L.A.  Police Department has called for a security hold on information.  And it‘s being described as an on-going investigation. 

More tests have been ordered.  Tests for pathology, more pathological tests, and also pulmonary tests.  They will not be available for four to six weeks.  The body is going to be released.  It can be released at 6:00 tonight.  There was confirmation tonight that Mr. Jackson was taking some prescription medicines, but he was not able to identify exactly what they are. 

And for the official count, Michael Jackson was pronounced in the emergency room. 

So that is the vital information that was given to us.  Again, no trauma, no signs of any trauma, and no medical signs of foul play tonight in the autopsy of Michael Jackson.  The final report will not be made complete for some time.  But the on-going investigation is taking place with the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Let‘s go back to Nancy Snyderman.  Dr. Nancy with us here on our continuing coverage.  Dr. Nancy, what did you take out of that brief press conference? 

SNYDERMAN:  Hi, Ed.  There was one other very important piece of information.  And that is the coroner may not have needed to do an autopsy if a doctor present at the scene had been willing to sign a death certificate.  We don‘t know where the doctor who was supposedly there was when the paramedics arrived.  But if someone is being actively resuscitated and paramedics arrive, paramedics are not going to go ahead and make the call of the time of death, or that they should stop. 

So for the paramedics to continue the resuscitation, and then, by all accounts, have that last for quite some time, they would have waited for a physician in the emergency room to call the time of death.  And that‘s why you‘re seeing the time line you are. 

Again, the need for a coroner‘s report and the need for an autopsy is because this death was under somewhat mysterious circumstances.  And that really pulls a lot of legal triggers in most states. 

SCHULTZ:  This is strictly a question and speculation.  Is there a chance that when the paramedics got there, that the doctor had already departed the scene? 

SNYDERMAN:  I don‘t have a clue.  It certain is one thing that‘s being asked tonight. 

SCHULTZ:  Sure, certainly.  And also, is it standard operating procedure for a doctor to decline to sign a death certificate when paramedics show up? 

SNYDERMAN:  You know, that‘s a great question.  And I have never heard of a physician doing that.  But you know, it could be—let‘s say that someone dies in an airport.  And I‘m the first one there.  I may not go ahead and sign off on a death certificate, if I don‘t know underlying medical causes.  You would presume, however, that if a physician were or had been his physician, and had been there during this, that he might have felt that he had enough medical information to go ahead and sign off of it. 

But usually, you want to know the medical history and the cause of the underlying problems.  And to have witnessed it makes a big difference. 

SCHULTZ:  Also, the intrigue continues.  What would the L.A. Police Department be investigating? 

SNYDERMAN:  Well, with Michael Jackson‘s history of drug abuse in the past, and any question of medications or drugs, and this physician, and the fact that this cardiac event happened outside of a hospital; it just makes perfect sense for this to be an investigation until all the questions are asked.  It‘s not necessarily a criminal case.  But, certainly, the authorities are saying that they need more information and they need to connect the dots. 

They may not connect those dots for a while.  The other thing you heard in this press conference tonight was that everything right now is not particularly alarming.  No trauma, no evidence that this was a massive stroke or heart attack, in the traditional sense. 

But they‘re also hedging and that is appropriate, because what they need to do is check to see if there are any medications or drugs in tissue or in body fluids.  And that toxicology report is going to take days to weeks to finally put together.  And that‘s what we‘re going to have the true cause of death. 

SCHULTZ:  Dr. Nancy Snyderman, one more question; if there had been, you know, some time of heart disease, clogged arteries, that would have been announced tonight, wouldn‘t it? 

SNYDERMAN:  It would have been announced.  It would have been a very straightforward thing for them to say.  This is sort of what I suspected might happen, that they didn‘t find anything on gross examination.  So now they‘re taking tissue cuts and they‘re going to look at it under the microscope.  And that‘s going to take some time.  They really want to do this right, and do it once. 

The other question that was asked was whether the family would ask for their own private autopsy.  Usually, that‘s not necessary.  The pathology reports and the way to do these autopsies is very standard.  And with the L.A. Coroner‘s Office knowing that the world is watching, they‘re going to be painstaking in getting this right. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, thank you for joining us. 

SNYDERMAN:  You bet, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll look forward to your show debuting Monday at noon right here on MSNBC.  We will continue, as more questions come up in the wage of the death of Michael Jackson.  You just witnessed a press conference live from the L.A.—outside the L.A. Coroner‘s Office.  And we‘ll have so much more for you coming up, with our continuing coverage here on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to our breaking news coverage tonight of the death of Michael Jackson.  We just heard from the L.A. County coroner.  A few key points: there were no signs of foul play or trauma to Jackson‘s body.  The doctor at Jackson‘s house refused to sign a death certificate for him.  Jackson was taking some prescriptions, but they refused to answer any questions about those drugs.  The toxicology report is expected in four to six weeks. 

For more, I want to bring in “Extra” correspondent Carlos Diaz.  Carlos, what did you take from that press conference tonight?  What stuck out to you? 

CARLOS DIAZ, “EXTRA” CORRESPONDENT:  What I would take is, you guys, as far as the coroner‘s office is going, you need to hurry.  Hurry up and get these toxicology reports back, because I was there for the Anna Nicole Smith case.  This is eerily similar.  When they came out with the results from the coroner, the exact same things were said.  We can‘t talk about the drugs in Anna Nicole‘s body.  We have to wait for the toxicology report.  That was in Florida, and that was Anna Nicole Smith. 

This is in L.A. and it‘s Michael Jackson, someone who is ten times the star, 100 times the star that Anna Nicole was.  If you listen to the reporters that were asking the questions, listen to how many accents you heard.  There were reporters from around the world asking this coroner, who did a great job, by the way, coroner‘s official, questions over and over again about drug use and about what drugs were left in his body. 

These toxicology reports, which usually take four to six weeks, sometimes even six to eight weeks, need to get back as soon as possible, because until they come back, every reporter there is going to be trying to find out what drugs Michael Jackson had in his body. 

SCHULTZ:  Carlos, what did you make of the security hold put on by the LAPD, and what‘s being described as an on-going investigation?  How ominous is that? 

DIAZ:  Obviously that‘s just—as has been said before, they‘re crossing their Ts and dotting their Is in the situation, because of the fact that this is an ongoing investigation.  We still don‘t have a definitive answer as to what caused that massive cardiac arrest.  Of course, they‘re going to be saying there‘s going to be a hold on certain things. 

The big question now is the doctor.  Where—what is going on with the doctor that was there?  When you talk about the doctor not signing a death certificate, what we have been hearing is that he didn‘t want Michael Jackson to be called.  In other words, he didn‘t want Michael Jackson to be declared dead at his house.  He wanted the CPR to continue in the ambulance and also in the ER later that afternoon. 

So he didn‘t sign the death certificate because he was the one saying, no, continue trying CPR, continue trying to revive him, when everyone else there was ready to call him at the house. 

SCHULTZ:  Carlos, do you think that the family of Michael Jackson will seek another autopsy? 

DIAZ:  That‘s not uncommon.  You know, we saw that—we‘ve seen that in several celebrity cases, where you have a second autopsy.  But really, with this, it is all about the toxicology reports.  So yes, the family has the right in this case.  They can have a private physician in this case look at Michael Jackson‘s body, perform a second autopsy.  That has happened in the past with several celebrities. 

But in this case, it is all about the toxicology reports.  And as soon as—the sooner they come back, the better. 

SCHULTZ:  Carlos Diaz, “Extra” correspondent, thank you for joining us tonight on MSNBC. 

DIAZ:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  He was an icon with famous friends, politicians among them.  Today, we saw Jesse Jackson at the side of Michael‘s father, Joe Jackson, at the family‘s compound in California.  The White House acknowledged his legacy today.  And we heard from hundreds of celebrities about the king of pop. 

For more, I want to turn to my friend Joe Madison, radio talk show host, and also to MSNBC‘s “The Scoop” columnist Courtney Hazlett. 

Joe, you worked—you knew Michael Jackson way back in 1984.  And his career was so complex.  And his life was so complex.  How would you capsulize for us tonight what kind of person Michael Jackson was? 

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I won‘t say that I knew him.  But I can tell you, 1984, I was the political director for the NAACP.  And we had a major voter registration campaign.  And we emphasized registering youth. 

Michael Jackson was the first entertainer—I remember, this was the victory tour.  It started in Kansas City.  And he allowed us to actually trail, shadow, to every city that that tour went to, and do voter registration.  People forget, or maybe they may remember, folks stood in long, long lines just to get into the concert.  And we would go on these lines with volunteers, and we registered over 80,000 people before that tour was over.  That had never been done before by an entertainer.  And I don‘t think it has been done since. 

But what I do want to emphasize, that I think we all should take a deep breath, because there‘s some serious pain, I can imagine, as a father, as a parent.  No parent, as you know, Ed, wants to bury their child. 

SCHULTZ:  No. 

MADISON:  And that‘s what I think we all need to understand.  Everybody, and I was among them, wanted a piece of Michael Jackson.  And it seems that we want a piece even in death. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  Thank you, Joe.  Courtney, he‘s such a mega-star, a global figure.  All the questions are going to come up.  What was most intriguing about his career that strikes you as a pop journalist? 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  As a pop journalist, what‘s most interesting to me is that he was able to do things that, if other artists tried to do them now, they‘d be accused of selling out, so to speak.  Example number one, he did an ad for Pepsi.  When artists do that now, that‘s selling out. 

He also decided to do an 18-minute music video.  That was with “Bad,” directed by Martin Scorsese.  If an artist tried to do that now, it would be considered self-indulgent.  He also really did bridge not just generations, but countries.  If you will recall, We Are the World in 1985. 

So he managed to always stay relevant in ways that were new and ways that were fresh, without ever being accused of pulling something out of a bag of tricks. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, Courtney.  Appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks for joining us. 

Coming up, a lot of intrigue around Jackson‘s doctor.  I got some legal questions. 

Plus, who‘s going to get custody of Jackson‘s three children?  That‘s next, as our special coverage of the death of Michael Jackson continues right here on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to our breaking news coverage of the death of Michael Jackson.  It‘s only been a little over 24 hours since Michael Jackson was pronounced dead.  A lot of legal questions are already cropping up.  Let me bring in attorney Norman Goldman with us, here on MSNBC tonight.  Norm, a lot of Americans want to know about the custody of the children.  What happens now? 

NORMAN GOLDMAN, ATTORNEY:  Well, Ed, it‘s going to end up in court.  And there are three kids.  And the judge is going to go kid by kid, because obviously, not every child is with the same mother.  So they‘re going to go kid by kid.  And the legal standard is the best interests of the child. 

So the judge is going to be looking to see what is in the best interests of the child.  Whether this mother should be in custody of this kid or whether some other family member should get the custody ultimately. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, what about the legal issues surrounding his estate?  He‘s 400 million dollars, reportedly, in debt.  Do you anticipate a lot of legal wrangling for years to come? 

GOLDMAN:  Ed, this is going to keep half the lawyers in Los Angeles busy for the next ten years at least.  The litigation-fest is going to begin very shortly.  All the creditors are going to try and seize as many of his assets as they can.  There are obviously streams of income coming in from music rights and things like that.  There are all kinds of claims that family members.  And, of course, the children are going to have representatives saying, don‘t we get a share of our father‘s estate? 

So there‘s going to be a lot of claims and there are going to be a lot of fights over paying the debts, as well as getting whatever income stream is there in the future. 

SCHULTZ:  Norm, what kind of liability concerns might the doctor have if he refused to sign the death certificate at the scene?  That‘s what‘s being reported.  So, what kind of liability concerns would be there? 

GOLDMAN:  Well, the doctor has to be worried about his license, first of all, with the State Board of Medical Quality Assurance.  They want to make sure that the doctor is following all the proper protocols and procedures.  The DEA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal agency, is likely going to take a look at that doctor to see whether there was an over-prescription or abuse of prescription medications, kind of like we saw with Anna Nicole Smith. 

Of course, the police are going to be investigating to see if there‘s any foul play involved.  So if I were that doctor, I‘d be lawyering up very quickly right about now. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, L.A. attorney Norman Goldman with us tonight here on MSNBC.  Thanks, Norm. 

For more, let me bring in “L.A. Times” reporter Harriet Ryan.  Harriet, what about the doctor?  What can you tell us?  There seems to be a tremendous amount of intrigue surrounding, number one, the identity and what actually this doctor did. 

HARRIET RYAN, “LA TIMES”:  Well, we can tell you that the police have just made contact with him.  They have not met with him yet.  They‘ve not interviewed him yet.  But they have talked to him and learned that he has an attorney.  And they‘re in the process of setting up an interview with him. 

His name is Dr. Murray.  He is a cardiologist, with practices in Las Vegas and in Texas.  And he is licensed in California, as well as Nevada and Texas.  We know that—we understand from our sources that he was hired by AEG.  They‘re the concert promoter that was putting on this big show in London that was to start next month.  And that Dr. Murray planned to travel with the whole company to London next week. 

And we also know that he was suffering from pretty serious personal financial problems, the doctor, and that he had debts from various suits and claims that were approaching 800,000 dollars. 

SCHULTZ:  So the doctor was a licensed cardiologist and hired to be, am I hearing, a personal doctor to Michael Jackson? 

RYAN:  You know, it‘s unclear.  We were told that the arrangements were made through AEG, which is the concert promoter.  However, Jackson had a prior relationship with this doctor during the time he lived in Las Vegas.  So if you‘ll recall that prior to sort of this comeback effort, Jackson was living in Las Vegas.  And while there, according to one of his advisers, he had encountered this doctor, who had treated him for sort of minor issues, including a cold, like a chest cold. 

And so, for some reason, whether Jackson suggested it or AEG suggested it, we are being told that he was planning to go to London with Jackson in some capacity. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Harriet Ryan, “L.A. Times,” great reporting tonight. 

Thank you for joining us here on MSNBC. 

You can follow all of the coverage online at LATimes.com.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Much more coverage coming up on the Michael Jackson story right here with Chris Matthews next on “HARDBALL” on MSNBC.  We‘ll see you Monday. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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