Tuesday 5 March 2013, 12:27 | By Chris Cooke
AEG emails unsealed as Jackson court battle looms
The Jackson family reckon they have a “smoking gun” email that proves AEG Live should be held liable for the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. Some of the email correspondence that will be presented as part of the Jacksons’ litigation against the live music giant has been unsealed by the judge overseeing the legal battle.
As previously reported, the Jackson family, led by Michael’s mother Katherine, reckon AEG should be held liable for the late king of pop’s death because it employed Conrad Murray, the doctor who was found guilty of causing the singer’s demise through negligent treatment. But AEG has long countered that Jackson himself chose Murray to be his personal medic, and managed the doctor day to day.
The Jackson family hope to use various emails sent by AEG executives to dispute this argument, and to prove that the live firm was negligent in hiring Murray. And maybe also to show that pressure was put on the doctor by AEG management to ensure the singer was fit for his gruelling rehearsal schedule for the planned London ‘This Is It’ residency, pressure that might have resulted in the medic employing the sort of dangerous treatments that led to Jackson’s death.
One key email expected to be presented when the case gets to court sees AEG Live exec Paul Gongaware, writing eleven days before Jackson’s death, say: “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”.
Meanwhile an email from AEG Live’s Randy Phillips to ‘This Is It’ director Kenny Ortega, who had expressed concerns about Jackson’s health, reads: “This doctor [Murray] is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical”.
As previously reported, a US judge last week said the Jacksons’ lawsuit could proceed to court, albeit in a slightly trimmed down form, after AEG legal reps failed to have the action dismissed. While AEG lawyers last week focused on those aspects of the lawsuit rejected by the judge, reps for the Jackson family said over the weekend that last week’s ruling was a vindication of their clients’ case.
According to CNN, lawyer Kevin Boyle said: “Now that the court has ruled that there is evidence that it was foreseeable that AEG’s actions resulted in Michael Jackson’s death, the Jackson family feels vindicated from the public smear campaign that AEG has waged against them. The truth about what happened to Michael, which AEG has tried to keep hidden from the public since the day Michael died, is finally emerging. We look forward to the trial where the rest of the story will come to light”.
As also previously reported, some of the emails from AEG execs likely to appear in the upcoming court battle were previously leaked to the LA Times. AEG accused the Jacksons of being behind the leak, though a judge ruled there was no evidence that was the case. The Jacksons v AEG battle is now due to reach court next month.