Jackson estate sends cease and desist letter to Conrad Murray following latest media interviews
By Andy Malt | Published on Monday 2 December 2013
The Michael Jackson estate’s attorney Howard Weitzman has written a cease and desist letter to Conrad Murray, warning him to stop speaking to the press about his relationship with the late singer, citing doctor-patient confidentiality rules.
As previously reported, Jackson’s former personal doctor Murray was found guilty in 2011 of causing the singer’s death through negligence. Released in late October, having served half of his four year sentence, Murray has since been giving out interviews to the media professing his innocence, re-presenting his own theories as to how Jackson died (which were rejected by the jury in his trial), and relating anecdotes about how close a relationship he had with the singer.
Murray presumably thinks he’s helping in some way with these interviews – either helping himself or the memory of Michael Jackson, or both – but he has a tendency to say things that work against him. Like in his recent interview with The Mail, where he said: “You want to know how close Michael and I were? I held his penis every night. I had to put a condom catheter on him because Michael dripped urine”.
That quote having done the rounds online last week, the Jackson estate has clearly decided enough is enough and set the lawyers on him. In his letter, obtained by RadarOnline, Weitzman writes: “Your recent comments to the media about Mr Jackson’s medical treatment and ultimate death shamefully violate the physician-patient privilege under California law”.
He continues: “Despite your self-serving statements to the contrary, you were clearly not Michael Jackson’s ‘friend’. You were Mr Jackson’s medical doctor charged with his care. In this regard, all communications that you had with Mr Jackson were in the course of that physician-patient relationship, and are therefore presumed confidential and absolutely privileged”.
Calling Murray’s courting of the media “beyond ironic and cowardly” – the doctor having refused to give testimony in his trial for involuntary manslaughter – Weitzman threatens to sue if Murray does not comply with the request to stop giving interviews.
He also hinted that – while the estate reckons much of the apparently private information Murray has given out “appears fabricated” – he would still make contact with any medical board in any state where Murray attempts to have his medical licence re-instated, to point out his tendency to breach doctor-patient confidentiality.
Responding to the legal letter, Murray’s lawyer Valerie Wass told the New York Daily News: “It’s fairly obvious that this letter was written with the intent to release it to the public and intimidate Dr Murray. I find it absurd that the estate is making such strenuous objections, adamantly protesting comments by Dr Murray when in fact the door to Michael Jackson’s medical history was opened widely by the Jackson family during their wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live”.
Whether Murray will heed Weitzman’s warning or not remains to be seen. However, if he does intend to attempt to regain his medical licences in California or Texas where he was struck off after being found guilty of causing Jackson’s death (and it’s been indicated he might), he could be convinced by the threats.