By Jeff Gottlieb
6:01 PM EDT, June 27, 2013
This post has been corrected, as noted below.
Dr. Conrad Murray’s attorney on Thursday countered the testimony of Michael Jackson’s eldest son who testified that the physician told him and his siblings “Sorry, kids – Dad’s dead” after their father was rushed to the hospital in 2009.
"I don't believe that Prince's statement regarding how he learned of his father's passing was intended to be a quote as to Dr. Murray's words," Valerie Wass said in a statement to The Times.
"Dr. Murray loved the children and as indicated in his statement to the police, he tried to find the best way to break the sad news to them," the jailed physician’s attorney said.
“He, along with MJ's manager Frank DiLeo, a hospital social worker, and Michael Amir (MJ's personal assistant who was close to the kids), went into the room at the hospital where the kids were waiting, and he and DiLeo gently broke the news to them.
“Dr. Murray stayed in the room for a while and hugged and comforted the children."
Prince Jackson, 16, testified for 90 minutes Wednesday, describing running upstairs to his father’s bedroom and seeing him -- with his eye rolled back in his head -- lying halfway off the bed as Murray performed CPR.
After an ambulance rushed his father to the hospital. Prince said Murray told them: “Sorry, kids – Dad’s dead.”
"We just cried," the performer's son said.
The testimony came in the ongoing wrongful-death suit filed by Prince Jackson, his siblings and his grandmother. They contend AEG Live, the entertainment company that was producing and promoting Michael Jackson's comeback tour, and two of its executives negligently hired and controlled Murray.
Murray, who gave the singer a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009, is serving jail time for involuntary manslaughter. AEG says that Murray worked for Jackson and that any money the company was supposed to pay him was an advance to the singer.
During his testimony, Prince Jackson also talked about life with his famous father, living in Ireland, Paris, Bahrain, Las Vegas and at the Neverland compound in Santa Barbara County.
He said the children were only allowed to go to the zoo and ride the Ferris wheel at Neverland on special occasions. "My dad wanted us to remain humble," he said. Posted around the compound, he said, were messages and poems from their father. “When children play, tyrants cry, there is nothing to say,” said one.
Prince, who now lives with his grandmother, said he just finished his sophomore year at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, where he is a member of the National Honor Society. He said he makes jewelry, does martial arts and is part of the school's robotics team.
He said he wants to go to USC to study film, business or mechanical engineering.
[For the record, July 1: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Jackson died in 1999; he died in 2009.]
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