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This should be interesting.

AEG lawyer: 'Ugly stuff' to come in Michael Jackson death trial -

Los Angeles (CNN) -- AEG Live's lawyer warned jurors that "we're going to show some ugly stuff" as he began the defense's opening statement in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial Monday.

The concert promoter has no choice to reveal Jackson's "deepest, darkest secret" because the company must defend itself from the accusation from Jackson's family that it is responsible for the pop icon's death, Marvin Putnam said.

"There will be no question in your mind that they were ruthless and they wanted to be No. 1 at all cost," Jackson lawyer Brian Panish said.

AEG executives knew that Jackson was emotionally and physically weak, Panish told jurors.

Jackson was in an "obvious sharp decline" in the weeks after Murray began working as his personal doctor while he prepared for his comeback concerts.

Another warning sign should have been that Murray asked for $5 million for the job and eventually agreed on $150,000 a month, Panish said. Another doctor had told AEG he would do the job for $40,000 a month as long as Jackson was "clean," meaning not on drugs, he said.

Panish played for the jury a video of an AEG expert who agreed that Murray's pay demand was "outrageous."

"That raised red flag because it was an enormous sum of money," defense expert Marty Hom said.

"AEG ignored the obvious red flags, and they hired Dr. Murray," Panish said.

Later in the trial, jurors will hear Michael's oldest son and daughter describe their father's last days. But they will also endure weeks of testimony from medical and financial experts offering opinions about the singer's health, addiction and career.

Only 16 journalists and a few members of the public will be allowed inside the courtroom because many of its 45 seats are reserved for parties involved in the trial, including the Jackson family. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos denied CNN's request to televise the trial.

Jurors chosen to decide Michael Jackson wrongful death case

The central issue

The central issue is simple: Did AEG Live, the company promoting Jackson's comeback concerts in 2009, hire or supervise Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's June 25, 2009, death?

Jackson died two weeks before his "This Is It" comeback concerts, organized by AEG Live, were to have debuted in London. The coroner ruled Jackson died from a fatal combination of sedatives and propofol, a surgical anesthetic that Murray told investigators he used to put Jackson to sleep almost every night in the month before his death.

The Jacksons argue that AEG executives knew about the star's weakened health and his past use of dangerous drugs while on tour. They're liable in his death because they pressured Jackson and the doctor to meet their ambitious schedule to prepare for the London shows despite that knowledge, their lawyers contend.

A cornerstone of their case is an e-mail AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote 11 days before Jackson's death. The e-mail to show director Kenny Ortega addressed concerns that Murray had kept Jackson from a rehearsal the day before: "We want to remind (Murray) that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him."

Jackson lawyers argue the e-mail is evidence that AEG Live used Murray's fear of losing his lucrative job as Jackson's personal physician to pressure him to have Jackson ready for rehearsals despite his fragile health.

Gongaware, in a video deposition played in court Monday, said he could not remember writing the e-mail, which the Jackson lawyers call the "smoking gun" in their case.

"They put Dr. Murray in a position where if he said Michael can't go or can't play, if he said I can't give you those drugs, then he doesn't get paid," Panish told jurors Monday.

Gongaware, who managed two of Jackson's tours in the 1990s, knew that Jackson relied on addictive opiates during his concert tours, Panish said.

He played a video of one doctor who said he warned Gongaware about it in 1993.

"We felt that we needed to an intervention," Dr. Stuart Finkelstein said. "We needed to do detox."

AEG's lawyer argued Monday that Gongaware and other AEG executives had no way of knowing about Jackson's use of propofol to sleep.

"AEG knew nothing about this decade-long propofol use," Putnam said. "They were a concert promoter. How could they know?"


Asked by Ballad at 10:49 AM on Apr. 30, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • Since the kids are the ones bringing the suit (and his mother) they are the ones who brought it on themselves through their greed.

    The company is in the business of promoting stars and tours, if I am not mistaken.
    Jackson would have had to say he wanted to do the tour in the first place.
    The doctor may have been on their payroll but he was there to get Jackson in shape to be able to meet his contract.
    Just as the personal trainer hired was there to do the same thing. He could conceivably have had a heart attack while trying to get fit enough to go on tour.
    Jackson was putting himself through all of this because HE wanted to go back out into the limelight.
    He would have lost money, true, had he not met his obligations, but he would have lost something more and that was the adulation of his fans, which is addictive as well.
    Certainly the company stood to lose a chunk of change and had the responsibility to do everythin

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:22 AM on Apr. 30, 2013

  • That's going to suck for his kids to have to go through this whole trial process and hear horrible things about their father (true or false). I am curious how they are liable for the use of propofol if the Dr. administered it and the patient allowed it.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:55 AM on Apr. 30, 2013

  • I am curious how they are liable for the use of propofol if the Dr. administered it and the patient allowed it.

    The doctor contends that he was extorted by the company into administering the drugs after he refused to do it.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:34 PM on Apr. 30, 2013

  • My question is how much of this is what the kids want and how much of it is because of greedy relatives? Somehow I can't see these young kids having any say in the matter. Never known many kids who were even allowed to file a law suit. Comes down to the adults who are supposed to be protecting them. If the kids have enough money to live on then let their father rest in peace. Why force this on them?

    Answer by baconbits at 2:14 PM on Apr. 30, 2013

  • they could to help him meet his obligations.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:22 AM on Apr. 30, 2013