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AEG Exec Ends Tough Week On The Witness Stand In Jackson Wrongful Death Trial

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An AEG executive ended a tough week on the witness stand Friday in Michael Jackson’s wrongful death trial.

KCAL9’s Randy Paige was in the courtroom.

Paige said prior to today’s testimony, AEG co-CEO Paul Gongaware was declared a hostile witness by the prosecution.

AEG’s lawyers on Friday asked Gongaware — listed as one of the producers of the “This is It” tour — more friendly questions.

He testified that he had no concerns about Jackson’s physical health or concern over his use of painkillers dating back to the “History” tour in the late 1990s.

AEG lead attorney Martin Putnam asked, “Did Mr. Jackson miss any shows during the ‘History’ tour'”?

Gongaware replied, “He only missed one. That was when Princess Diana died. He heard about the accident, went to bed, woke up, found she passed away and it affected him deeply.”

The AEG executive also testified that he saw no evidence that Jackson was under the influence of drugs while prepping for the “This Is It” tour.

Brian Panish, the Jackson family’s lead attorney, responded to Gongaware’s testimony. “He says a lot of things that are contrary to his testimony under oath in his deposition and in the court when I questioned him and now he has a completely different story. The jury will have to assess is he worthy of belief and at which points is he worthy of belief on.”

Paige asked Panish how the Jackson family was holding up. “Mrs. Jackson is doing the best she can. She’s a strong woman. She’s a spiritual woman and she’s here every day and listening to the testimony.”

Panish says — at 21 days — he is about halfway through the presentation of his case. Then it will be AEG’s turn to present theirs.

Gongaware will be back on the stand Monday for his fifth day of testimony.

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