Los Angeles - Michael Jackson's jailed former doctor said on Tuesday he does not want to testify in a civil trial against the late singer's tour promoter AEG Live, to avoid incriminating himself.
Conrad Murray - who at one point spontaneously broke into song in his first interview since being sent to prison - said he is appealing his 2011 conviction for involuntary manslaughter and does not want to endanger that process.
Speaking hours after jury selection began for the wrongful death trial between the late star's mother Katherine Jackson and AEG, he said: "At this time I've not been subpoenaed. I'm not interested in giving testimony in the trial.
"I will invoke my 5th Amendment right, because at this time there is an appeal that is in progress. If there is a future trial I don't want to have any issues of self incrimination," he told CNN live from prison.
'I am an innocent man'
Murray was jailed for four years in 2011 after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for having given Jackson the powerful sedative propofol to help him sleep, between rehearsals for the doomed This is It comeback tour.
Katherine Jackson is seeking billions of dollars from tour promoters AEG Live for negligently hiring Murray to take care of the star during rehearsals and the tour itself. AEG says Jackson hired Murray and was responsible for him.
Murray has always protested his innocence, saying he was trying to wean Jackson off of propofol.
"I am an innocent man (...) I maintain that innocence," he said on Tuesday, adding: "I am extremely sorry that Michael has passed. It's a tremendous loss for me... he was very close to me (...) we were absolutely great friends."
"I was not the one that brought propofol into his home," he said, adding: "He had been exposed to it for years... it was my approach to try to get him off of it."
"But Michael Jackson was not the kind of person you could say 'Put it down' and he was going to do that."
'I wanna give'
At one point in the interview, during which Murray's lawyer on occasion interrupted to prevent him answering questions, the ex doctor broke into song, as he professed his wish to help other people.
"I'm so sorry for that laddie ... who hasn't got a daddy! He's a little boy that Santa Claus forgot," the tune climaxed.
"That song tells my story. That's how I grew up. I had no Christmases. I had no toys. I had nothing. I walked barefooted for years. But when I grew up my heart has been whole, and my heart says to help.
"And all I do is to give. I wanna give," said the Grenadian-born doctor.