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Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Director Kenny Ortega was worried about tour

July 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The director of Michael Jackson's comeback tour testified Tuesday about what he called a very unusual arrangement, being in close contact with Jackson's doctor.

Weeks before the planned opening of Michael Jackson's comeback tour, show director Kenny Ortega says he and the star worried that the production would not be ready. Ortega testified that special-effect numbers demanded more time.

Further probing by Jackson attorney Brian Panish revealed deeper troubles.

Weeks before the production was to relocate to London, Jackson was missing one rehearsal after another.

Ortega testified: "I had more than a serious concern. It was my feeling that we were not going to make it."

The jurors were shown phone records: Ortega making multiple calls to Doctor Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician.

Ortega says he became connected to Murray as part of an arrangement made by AEG executives, promoters of Jackson's tour. Ortega says that to get the production on track, AEG CEO Randy Phillips and Murray would be in charge of getting Jackson to rehearsals. Ortega and Jackson would be responsible for the show.

The Jackson attorneys say the arrangement reveals what is called an "implied-in-fact" contract. Even though Murray's independent contract agreement was never signed by AEG or Michael Jackson, that the conduct of AEG executives allegedly demonstrated that Murray was employed by AEG.

The core of Katherine Jackson's lawsuit is that while Murray caused Jackson's death, AEG is responsible for hiring Murray and failing to monitor him.

The defense maintains that Jackson kept his demand for the sedative propofol a tightly guarded secret and that AEG executives knew nothing about the nightly infusions Jackson was getting at his home behind closed doors.


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