Michael Jackson’s doctor has defended his use of the surgical anaesthetic propofol to put the entertainer to sleep.
Conrad Murray also said in a TV interview that he did not tell paramedics he had administered the drug because the amount he gave Jackson was inconsequential.
Murray, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Monday, gave the interview to NBC’s Today show days before his conviction.
Murray said he did not feel a need to monitor Jackson constantly and acknowledged being on the phone outside the singer’s bedroom where he could not see him.
In retrospect he said he probably should have walked away when Jackson asked for propofol, but he said he would have been abandoning a friend.
NBC released excerpts of the interview set for broadcast on Thursday and Friday.
Executors of Michael Jackson’s estate attacked NBC over the documentary.
In a letter to senior executives of NBC and Comcast, lawyers John Branca and John McClain expressed outrage that Murray is being treated like a celebrity.
They say the documentary – 'Michael Jackson And The Doctor: A Fatal Friendship' - offers Murray a chance to smear Jackson’s reputation and blame the star for his own death.
Mr Branca and Mr McClain demanded the network refrain from airing the programme.
NBC had no immediate comment.
Murray, a Houston-based cardiologist, was convicted on Monday of involuntary manslaughter by a jury that found he was responsible for the pop star’s death. He is being held in Los Angeles County Jail.
Although multiple experts testified at Murray’s trial that propofol should not have been administered in Jackson’s home, the doctor disagreed.
“I think propofol is not recommended to be given in the home setting, but it is not contra-indicated," he said.
He said Jackson had been using the substance long before the pop star met him.
Murray said it was not necessary for him to monitor Jackson because he had given him only a small dose of propofol, and he said that was the reason he didn’t mention it to paramedics when they arrived at Jackson’s mansion.
“That’s a very sad reason, because it was inconsequential – 25 milligrams and the effect’s gone. Means nothing.”
Interviewer Savannah Guthrie asked: “Well, you told them about the other drugs, but you didn’t tell them about propofol?”
“Because it had no effect,” Murray said. “It was not an issue.”
The coroner would subsequently find that Jackson, 50, died of “acute propofol intoxication” after a huge dose of the drug complicated by other sedatives.
Murray’s defence tried to show that Jackson gave himself an extra dose of propofol while Murray was out of the room, but prosecution experts said there was no evidence of that.
Asked by Guthrie if he became distracted by phone calls, emailing and text messages, Murray said: “No, I was not.
“When I looked at a man who was all night deprived of sleep, who was desperate for sleep and finally is getting some sleep, am I going to sit over him, sit around him, tug on his feet, do anything unusual to wake him up? No.”
“You walked out of the room to talk on the phone?” Guthrie asked.
“Absolutely, I wanted him to rest.”
He insisted Jackson was not on an infusion that would stop his breathing, and “I was not supposed to be monitoring him at that time because there was no need for monitoring.”
In a separate interview, one of the jurors in the trial said there were contentious moments, including yelling and cajoling, during the two days of deliberations on Murray.
Debbie Franklin told ABC-TV’s Good Morning America in the first juror interview so far that most of the jurors had decided on guilt on Friday, the first day of deliberations.
But she said: “Not everyone was convinced that Dr Murray was solely responsible for Michael Jackson’s death.
“Toward the end of the day, we finally took a vote. It was not unanimous and we talked a little more about it.”
The panel decided to think it over during a weekend break.
“It was stressful,” Ms Franklin said.
The majority managed on Monday to convince all jurors that Murray was negligent and his mistakes led to Jackson’s death, she added.
“He had addictions. He asked other doctors to do it (give him propofol). They said no. He was looking for somebody to say yes. And Conrad Murray said yes.”