LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson's former doctor Conrad Murray said Wednesday that the late pop icon still loves him, and would be appalled by fans who attack him over the star's 2009 death.
In his first public comments since being released from jail on Monday, Murray said he never harmed the "Thriller" icon, who died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol administered by the medic.
"I loved Michael very much. I'm a fan of Michael probably more than most," he told the celebrity news website TMZ.
The 60-year-old, who was interviewed through the window of his car, had noticeably darker and thicker black hair than in the first photos of him shortly after he left jail, in which he looked significantly grayer than during his 2009 trial.
Murray, who was looking after Jackson as he rehearsed in Los Angeles for a series of comeback concerts in London, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and jailed for four years. He served two, let out early for good behaviour and due to prison overcrowding.
Asked Wednesday about criticism he has faced, he said Jackson "would be appalled, absolutely appalled .. to see what has happened. All of his fans who judge me .. I think Michael will basically tell them to take a look in the mirror."
And he added: "Not that he doesn't care about them. But I don't think he would say that you should judge lest ye be judged. Because Michael knows the truth. The truth is, I never harmed him.
"Michael loves me no less than he loved me then, and I know he loves me today like I love him. He was a man of love, like I am a man of love. And I'll continue to give love.
"For all of those who try to fester hate in their hearts, I'm not going to go there. I don't need to do that. I will give love. I will give respect and I will remain dignified."