Dr. Conrad Murray, who was jailed for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, has been named a witness in an upcoming trial of concert promoter AEG Live, which the King of Pop's mother has sued for alleged involvement.
Katherine Jackson filed the lawsuit in 2010 and claims that the company pressured her son into rehearsing for a series of comeback concerts, despite his poor health, and allegedly hired Murray, who was paid $150,000 a month to be his personal doctor for the tour. AEG Live has denied any wrongdoing and had said Jackson was the one who had chosen the man to be his physician.
A Los Angeles judge ruled on Wednesday that Jackson's lawyers had presented evidence that showed that AEG Live hired and supervised Murray and also that company executives could have foreseen that the doctor would use dangerous drugs to treat the singer, CNN reported on Monday, March 4. A jury trial was set for April. Jackson's oldest son Prince, 16, is also on the witness list.
Among the evidence is what Jackson's lawyers are calling a "smoking gun" email that AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware sent to show director Kenny Ortega less than two weeks before Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. CNN quoted him as saying: "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."
Another email quotes AEG Live President Randy Phillips as telling Ortega and Murray is "is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical."
Murray has not commented. Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009 at his Los Angeles home from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives that were prescribed and administered by the doctor, who was in November 2011 sentenced to four years in prison, the maximum punishment, for involuntary manslaughter (see videos from the courtroom).(Check out a summary of the Conrad Murray trial proceedings and photos of the doctor and others in court at his sentencing and six-week trial.)
Jackson had signed a deal with AEG Live to perform a comeback concert series in London in July 2009. His family's lawsuit suggests he was forced to maintain a grueling rehearsal schedule and was showing signs of physical stress in the months before his death. AEG Live's attorney has said it was "not foreseeable that Michael Jackson or anyone else was going to die in their own home of propofol."