"He has not been able to earn a living since the death of Michael Jackson," Chernoff said of his client, a 56-year-old cardiologist licensed in Nevada, California and Texas.
"His legal fees are enormous and his debts have mounted to the point where it is unclear whether he will be able to keep his house or support his family," Chernoff said from Houston. "His intentions are to attend to these patients who have continued to support him, despite the attention and despite the threats."
Chernoff said Murray visited the Armstrong clinic Friday to see 16 patients who had requested appointments. Murray last worked at the clinic in April, before suspending his regular practices in Las Vegas and Houston to take a lucrative $150,000-per-month job as Jackson's personal physician.
Chernoff said Murray was never paid for the time he worked for Jackson.
"In effect, he has had no income for seven months," the lawyer said. He noted that Murray paid $700 in borrowed cash last Monday in a Las Vegas court to avoid going to jail for nonpayment of child support due to a California woman and their 11-year-old son. The woman agreed to forgive some $15,000 Murray already owed.
Murray on Sunday attended Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, thanking parishioners and friends for their support, a spokeswoman for Chernoff and Murray said.
"He said he's back," spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik said.
Murray, who lives in Las Vegas, was at Jackson's bedside when the 50-year-old pop singer died June 25. The doctor has been the focus of a Los Angeles police homicide investigation since telling investigators he administered propofol, a powerful operating room anesthetic, to Jackson to help the pop star sleep.
Authorities searched Murray's Houston clinic and a rented storage unit on July 22, and conducted searches later at Murray's home and office in Las Vegas, at properties in Los Angeles, and at a Las Vegas pharmacy where police say Murray bought five 100-milliliter bottles of propofol.
Murray has not been charged with a crime.
Chernoff said Murray has been followed and threatened since Jackson died, and felt he had to close his Las Vegas office because patients were being harassed as they came and went.
"Ultimately, he will reopen his office in Vegas," Chernoff said.