Report: 'Smoking Gun' E-Mails Warrant Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial
March 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM (PT)
The judge presiding over a wrongful death suit filed by MICHAEL JACKSON's mother and children against concert promoter AEG LIVE unsealed documents that the plaintiffs claim reveal "smoking gun" e-mails that implicated the defendant, CNN reports. The judge ruled that e-mail evidence that AEG LIVE hired and supervised DR. CONRAD MURRAY was enough to warrant a jury trial.
MICHAEL JACKSON's three children and their grandmother, KATHERINE JACKSON, contend that AEG Live pressured Murray to do whatever he could to ensure that Jackson be able to do daily rehearsals despite his fragile health; that led to JACKSON's death from an overdose of a surgical anesthetic. A JULY 25th, 2009 e-mail from AEG Live Co-CEO PAUL GONGAWARE to show director KENNY ORTEGA (sent 11 days before JACKSON's death) 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."
A few days before JACKSON's death, ORTEGA expressed concern about the singer's health in an e-mail to AEG LIVE Pres. RANDY PHILLIPS: "It is like there are two people there," ORTEGA wrote. "One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."
PHILLIPS' response: "This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical."
A third e-mail, sent by AEG LIVE tour accountant TIMM WOOLLEY two days before JACKSON died, to an insurance broker, noted: "RANDY PHILLIPS and DR. MURRAY are responsible for MJ rehearsal and attendance schedule."
AEG lawyer MARVIN PUTNAM did not respond CNN calls for comment, but last year he asserted that the "Defendants did not hire DR. MURRAY nor were they responsible for the death of MICHAEL JACKSON."