AEG Executive, Jackson’s Assistant Testify In Conrad Murray Trial
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The prosecution in the Conrad Murray trial is using several witnesses to build a case against him.
Dr. Murray is accused in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, who died from an overdose of the powerful drug propofol, in combination with other drugs.
AEG Live Concerts co-chief Paul Gongaware testified Wednesday that the company was originally contracted with Michael Jackson for a series of 50 sold-out “This Is It” concerts.
Gongaware said Jackson told him he wanted to hire Murray as his physician for the tour. He also said Murray initially asked for $5 million a year.
Gongaware claims Jackson’s personal assistant called on the way to a rehearsal to insist that Murray be hired for $150,000 a month.
Kathy Jorie was then hired by AEG to draft a contract. She says she had three meetings with Murray in the month leading up to Michael Jackson’s death.
On Tuesday, graphic photos of Jackson’s body, as well as an audio recording of him slurring his words just a month before his death, were both used in court.
“We have to be phenomenal. When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world,’” Jackson says on the tape. “I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital.”
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the recording shows Murray knew what he was doing to Michael Jackson long before the fatal does of propofol was administered.
He told the jury that on the morning of Jackson’s death, Murray waited 24 minutes before he instructed security staff to call 911.
“It was Conrad Murray’s unskilled hands and his desire to obtain $150,000 a month that led Dr. Murray to abandon his patient and to abandon all principles of medical care,” Walgren said. “Conrad Murray’s actions and omissions caused the death of Michael Jackson.”
Kenny Ortega, who was directing Jackson’s planned “This Is It” tour, told jurors he tried to intervene and get the singer serious help when he was called to the stand.
The defense, however, portrayed Murray as a caring friend.
Lead defense attorney Ed Chernoff told the jury it was not Murray who administered the fatal dose of propofol. He said the evidence will show that Michael Jackson administered the fatal dose himself.
Jackson’s family attended the trial Tuesday and Wednesday.