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News summary of Week 5 at the AEG trial

June 3, 2013

To catch up a bit with the news from the AEG trial here is a summary of the events on  May 28-31 (days 18-21):

Tuesday May 28, 2013. DAY 18

  • On this day we got another reminder from Gongaware that before Dangerous tour Michael had scalp surgery and was in much pain
  • Gongaware knew that Michael was given painkillers on Dangerous tour but pretends he learned about it only after Michael announced it on TV
  • Gongaware’s email that “they can’t be forced into stopping it” comes at the end of February before the London press-conference. They are pressing Michael to make the announcement and say that they will do it “with him or without him”.
  • Gongaware saw Michael before the press-conference and he was NOT drunk and despondent as Randy Phillips said.  Tohme also said that it was an “exaggeration” on Randy Phillips’ part, so it is Phillips who is lying  here and not Gongaware.
  • After the dates are set Gongaware instructs his secretary to print the calendar of Michael’s dates in such a way that Michael DOES NOT NOTICE THAT HE HAS TO WORK TOO HARD. They don’t want him to notice that he is to give shows with a one day break only !
  • Ten days after announcing 50 shows on March 25, 2009 Randy Phillips writes  to Gongaware that THEY NEED TO PULL THE PLUG.  There is no obvious reason why they wanted to cancel the shows except that they could not obtain the additional insurance. In case of cancellation Michael was to repay the advance, but out of $5mln he received $3mln were already paid to the 2 Seas Records company in settlement of the claim. He was also to return all payments for the house. If he failed to pay the process of acquiring his assets would have started.

Here are the ABC7 Court News tweets for May 28:

1

Before testimony began, a little spectacle outside the courthouse with a plane towing a banner saying “MJ Eyewitness Fans — Testify for MJ”

2

Paul Gongaware is one of the defendants in the case. He’s an adverse witness called by the plaintiffs.

3

Gongaware is Co-CEO of Concerts West, part of AEG Live. He produced Prince’s tour in 2004. He has not promoted/produced tours since.

4

Gongaware was a CPA licensed in NY and Washington. He said he believes he’s still licensed but hasn’t checked status since there’s no need

5

Gongaware has toured with Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and is currently on your with The Rolling Stones. He worked for Jerry Weintraub in 80s

6

Gongaware said he worked on Elvis Presley tour. Panish asked if Elvis died of drug overdose, and Gongaware said yes.

7

Gongaware replied to a condolences’ email on July 5, 2009: “I was working on the Elvis tour when he died, so I kind of knew what to expect.”

8

Gongaware testified he worked with another artist who had drug problems: Rick James.

9

Panish skipped around, asked about name Concerts West, assets. About working for Jackson 5, Gongaware said had no interaction w/ MJ

10

Gongaware worked on MJ’s Dangerous tour in 92-93. Panish said MJ made $100 million and donated it to charity. Gongaware said he didn’t know.

11

When Gongaware met Jackson was with Colonel Parker (Elvis’ manager) in Las Vegas. MJ wanted to meet the Colonel.

12

Gongaware explained the difference between being tour manager and managing the tour. He talked about MJ’s History tour, various legs, job

13

Panish: You knew that MJ had been to rehab during the dangerous tour? Gongaware: Yes, based on the statement he made after the tour

14

Gongaware said he never knew MJ was involved with drugs until after the end of the Dangerous tour.

15

Gongaware told LAPD he was aware of Jackson’s previous use of pills/painkillers but did not want to get involved.

16

Panish said Dr. Finkelstein testified under oath that Gongaware knew MJ had problems with painkillers before the end of Dangerous tour ended.

17

Panish: Do you dispute that? (Finkelstein testimony) Gongaware: I knew that he had pain

18

Gongaware said Dr. Finkelstein is his doctor and friend and that they talk off and on, but he doesn’t know specifics of the doctor’s depo

19

Dr. Finkelstein said he gave MJ painkillers after concert in Bangkok after Michael had scalp surgery.

20

Gongaware said he didn’t recall how many times he met with his lawyers after his deposition, but it was more than 10, less than 20.

21

In Gongaware’s video depo: Did you ever ask Dr. Finkelstein if he treated MJ during the Dangerous tour? He wouldn’t talk about that stuff

22

Another part of Gongaware’s video depo: He said yes, he occasionally treated Michael Jackson on the Dangerous tour.

23

Panish: Did you throw around numbers to trick Michael Jackson? Gongaware: I didn’t try to trick Michael

24

Lunch break is almost over. More to come soon.

25

Added by ABC7 sometime after lunch:

26

Panish elicited contradictory testimony asking over and over about Gongaware’s memory, how long he spent with lawyers to discuss testimony

27

On the Bad Tour MJ sold out 10 stadiums at 75,000 tickets per night.

28

Panish: That’s a pretty big number?

29

Gongaware: Huge

30

Panish: In 2 hours, how many tickets sold?

31

Gongaware: In initial presale we sold 31 shows

32

P: The fastest you had ever seen?

33

G: Yes

34

No one knows how many shows we can get with Mikey, said Gongaware. Panish asked about name “Mikey” – he said he used it occasionally

35

Email on 2/27/09 from Gongaware to Phillips: We are holding all of the risk, if MJ won’t t approve it we go without his approval

36

Email cont’d: We let Mikey know just what it will cost him in terms of him making money, and the(n) we go with or without him in London.

37

Email cont’d: We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do…

38

Email cont’d: because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants.

39

People were aware at this point there would be a press conference. MJ wouldn’t show up at the conference, it’d cost money, Gongaware said

40

It wasn’t much risk at all, we hadn’t spent money, Gongaware said about that point of the tour. This was prior to news conference.

41

Gongaware said the situation in London, where they constantly referred to MJ as “wacko Jacko”, it would impact marketability to sell tickets

42

He doesn’t want to do this kind of things, but it was important to show MJ to the world if he wanted to do a MJ show, Gongaware explained.

43

Panish talked about an email Gongaware sent to his secretary asking her to change the color on MJ’s calendar.

44

Email: “don’t want the shows to stand out do much when MJ looks at it. Figure out so it looks like he’s not working so much.

45

Panish: Did you wanted to change the color of the schedule to show MJ would not be working so hard?

46

Gongaware: Yes

47

Panish: Were you trying to fool him?

48

Gongaware: Nah, I wasn’t trying to fool him, I wanted to present it in the best possible light

49

Gongaware said it would be obvious when MJ would be working and not and he wasn’t trying to trick him.

50

Email on 3/25/09 from Phillips to Gongaware: We need to pull the plug now. I will explain.

51

Gongaware: I think he was referring to pull the plug on Karen Faye

52

We never talked about pulling the plug on MJ tour. Not that I recall, Gongaware testified.

53

Panish: Mr. Phillips wanted to pull the plug on the show, right sir?

54

Kenny wanted the pull because the way she (Faye) handled the situations, Gongaware explained.

55

She tried to control access to MJ and Kenny didn’t like that, Gongaware said.

56

Panish: Who was Mr. Ortega’s  contract with, sir?

57

Gongaware: I don’t recall

58

Karen Faye expressed strong opinion that the tour as dangerous and impractical for MJ.

59

Katherine Jackson is wearing a floral jacket and Rebbie a white jacket. Janet is all in black and Randy is wearing a jeans jacket.

60

Rebbie was in the courtroom accompanying Katherine Jackson in the afternoon. Janet and Randy were seen at the courthouse still.

61

Panish asked about a chain of emails where Gongaware said the pulling the plug refers to Ms. Faye. “I believe he was,” Gongaware repeated.

62

It’s her (Faye) strong opinion this is dangerous/impractical with MJ’s health/ability to perform

63

Email on 3/25/09 from Gongaware to Phillips: Randy responded: “We need to pull the plug now. I will explain.”

64

Response from Gongaware to Phillips: Not sure what to send back…

65

Gongaware said in depo he had no idea what Phillips meant. He said he didn’t recall Phillips saying they needed to pull the plug on the tour

66

I thought he was in good shape at the press conference, I was there, Gongaware said at the deposition.

67

Gongaware was at O2 arena and Phillips was with MJ. “MJ was late, Randy was saying I’m trying to get him going, I’m trying to get him going”

68

Panish: Did Randy tell you MJ was drunk and despondent?

69

G: No, not drunk and despondent. Just said he was having hard time getting him going

70

As to Dr. Conrad Murray, Gongaware said there was 1 rehearsal he said hello to him. “It was basically a hello, on the floor at the Forum.”

71

Mikey asked me to retain him for Michael Jackson, Gongaware said about Dr. Murray. “I never hired him.”

72

Panish: Is Mr. Phillips a good friend of yours?

73

Gongaware: I work with him

74

Panish played interview of Phillips to SkyTV after MJ died:

75

The guy is willing to leave his practice for large sum of money, so we hired him

76

Gongaware said MJ did not have any illness that he knew of.

77

I was told Michael wanted him as his doctor for the show, Gongaware said.

78

Gongaware: He had taken a physical, he passed the physical and from what I understand there was nothing wrong w/ him. Maybe some hay fever

79

Panish: Do you know what his blood test showed?

80

Gongaware: It showed it was good?!

81

Gongaware said he received email from Bob Taylor that everything was fine and that MJ had passed the physical.

82

Gongaware said he never saw the results of the tests and doesn’t know who saw them.

83

Panish: First you said how much did you want? (to Dr. Murray)

84

Panish: He said he wanted $5 million, right?

85

Gongaware: Yes

86

Gongaware: That’s what he said. He said he had four clinics he would have to close, he would have to lay people off.

87

Gongaware said Dr. Murray had been MJ’s personal doctor for the past 3 years. He said he did not know how many times MJ had seen the doctor.

88

MJ insisted on him, recommended him, and that was good enough for me, it was not for me to tell MJ who his doctor should be Gongaware said

89

When Panish asked if MJ would get anything he wanted, Gongaware said he tried to make sure he (MJ) had what he needed to do his job.

90

Gongaware said he could’ve told MJ to hire the doctor himself. “He wanted a doctor and I wanted him to be healthy for this tour”

91

Dr. Murray said he wanted more money, but Gongaware testified he told him the offer came directly from the artist and Dr. Murray accepted it

92

I think he was willing to accept anything that MJ offered, Gongaware opined.

93

We agreed on what the compensation was going to be, but there were a lot of issues to be resolved, Gongaware said.

94

Gongaware said he recalled meeting with Dr. Murray where he was told the doctor was going to take care of the medical licensing in London.

95

He said he was going to need some equipment and an assistant, Gongaware said Dr. Murray told him.

96

Gongaware and Timm Wooley are longtime friends. They are currently working on The Stones tour.

97

Gongaware said he negotiated the price for Dr. Murray, but didn’t negotiate the contract.

98

Gongaware explained that he didn’t do the negotiation, he would normally refer that to Wooley.

99

Panish showed video deposition of Gongaware and a declaration he signed about a month before giving the depo. They contradict themselves.

100

Dr. Finkelstein and Gongaware have been friends for 35-plus years.

101

Gongaware said he never offered Dr. Finkelstein the job of being MJ’s doctor and said the doctor would be mistaken if he testified otherwise

102

Gongaware told the jury he called Dr. Finkelstein to ask what a fair price for a tour doctor would be. Doc told him it was $10,000/week.

103

As to Dr. Finkelstein wanting to be the tour doctor, Gongaware said he didn’t recall specifically, but knew he wanted it.

104

After his death we may have talked, but I don’t recall specifics, Gongaware said.

105

Gongaware said he sees Dr. Finkelstein a few times a year, but MJ’s subject never came up.

106

Panish asked Gongaware if Dr. Finkelstein wanted to know if MJ was clean and using drugs. Gongaware said he didn’t recall the conversation .

107

I never read the contract, I was there when Michael signed it, but didn’t see what was in it, Gongaware said.

108

Doctor Murray was 100% Michael’s cost, Gongaware said.

109

Based on the contract, Gongaware said 95% of the production expenses were MJ’s responsibility, 5% AEG.

110

Panish: Who decided there was a need for a written contract with Dr. Murray?

111

Gongaware: I don’t know

112

Gongaware said that if tour went forward, Dr. Murray would’ve made $1.5 million for 10 months. Ortega would’ve made almost that.

113

I didn’t do anything to check his background. He was MJ’s doctor and that as good enough for me, Gongaware testified.

114

Panish asked Gongaware if he approved budgets for April-July including Dr. Murray as production expense.

115

It’s my job to get that show on the road, Gongaware said.

116

He said he didn’t know which budgets he approved.

117

Gongaware said he had to know how much the production had spent on any given time, but didn’t have time to read the budget.

118

Panish: Do you think you’re good at your job, sir?

119

Gongaware: I think so

120

Panish: Very good?

121

Gongaware: Yes

122

Gongaware said he doesn’t remember how many meetings he attended at Carolwood house. He didn’t recall a meeting where a vase was broken.

123

There was a meeting where he signed the contract, Gongaware recalled, saying there were more but he doesn’t remember specifics.

124

At the meeting in early June, Gongaware he was present along with Kenny, Randy, Frank DiLeo, Dr. Murray and Michael.

125

The meeting was about making sure MJ and Dr. Murray had everything they needed to care for Michael, Gongaware explained.

126

Yes, we did talk about health-related issues, Gongaware said.” It was more a general meeting about what Dr. Murray would need.”

127

As to the June meeting, Gongaware said Michael Jackson was a little off. “He was just coming back from visiting Dr. Klein,” Gongaware said.

128

I believe he was under the influence of something, Gongaware said. Meeting was about Michael and what he needed for the tour.

129

Health issues were discussed at the meeting and Dr. Murray was there, Gongaware admitted.

130

Gongaware told the police the topic of the meeting was Jackson’s overall health, i.e., diet, stamina and his weight.

131

Judge Yvette Palazuelos adjourned session for the day. Trial resumes tomorrow at 9:45 am PT with Gongaware on the stand. See you then!

Michael Jackson case: ‘We need to pull the plug now,’ says AEG email

By Jeff Gottlieb

May 28, 2013, 1:40 p.m.

Three months before Michael Jackson died, a top executive of concert promoter AEG Live wrote an email to another company executive saying, “We need to pull the plug now. I will explain.”

The email was sent on March 25, 2009, and was from Randy Phillips to Paul Gongaware, who took the stand Tuesday in what is expected to be the first of several days of testimony.

Gongaware denied that the email was a reference to calling off Jackson’s “This Is It” concerts in London but instead was pointed at “pulling the plug on Karen Faye,” the singer’s hairstylist, makeup artist and longtime friend who had expressed fears about Jackson’s poor health.

“We never talked about pulling the plug on the Michael Jackson tour, not that I recall.” said Gongaware, co-chief executive of AEG Live’s touring division.

Faye testified earlier in the trial that she told tour director Kenny Ortega in June that she was worried Jackson would die.

In another March 25, 2009, email, Ortega wrote Gongaware that it was Faye’s “strong opinion that this is dangerous and impractical with consideration to MJ’s health and ability to perform.” The singer died June 25, 2009, as he was rehearsing for the tour.

The email, shown to the jury in the wrongful-death suit filed by Jackson’s mother and children, raises questions about how early people began sending out warnings about Jackson’s health.

“I think Kenny wanted to pull the plug on her because of the way she handled the situation,” Gongaware testified about Faye. “She tried to control access to Michael Jackson, and Kenny didn’t like that.”

In other emails shown to the jury, Gongaware denigrated Jackson’s work ethic. He told his assistant to change the colors of a calendar so the singer would think he had more days off.

“Figure it out so it looks like he’s not working so much,” Gongaware wrote.

Another email, Gongaware said, was about the need for Jackson to appear at a news conference in London announcing the concerts.

“We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants,” he wrote.

Explaining the email, Gongaware testified that Jackson “really didn’t like to rehearse. He didn’t like to do these kinds of things.”

Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG for negligently hiring and supervising Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the singer.

AEG maintains that Jackson hired Murray and that any money the company was supposed to pay the physician was actually part of an advance to the singer.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-michael-jackson-aeg-email-20130528,0,1009522.story

Wednesday May 29, 2013.  DAY 19

  • We learn that Michael did not take part in making Conrad Murray’s contract and never saw it
  • Gongaware says that previously Michael Jackson went without any rehearsals! Just as we thought! But if there was no need for them in the past there was no need for him coming to every rehearsal now. Any insistence on the rehearsals or twisting Michael’s arms like AEG did it was out of the question
  • Gongaware pretends he does not remember his most famous email sent to Murray: “We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ, who’s paying his salary. We want him to understand what’s expected of him.”
  • The stage director said that in April Michael was able to do multiple 360 spins! But in June he was already a ‘basket case’ – so this is what they did to him within two months only.
  • Kenny Ortega’s email: “There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea.” Exactly.

132

Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. We’re waiting outside the courtroom waiting to be let in for Day 19 of Jackson Family vs AEG trial

133

AEG’s Co-CEO Paul Gongaware is set to resume testimony. This will be his second day on the stand and he’s expected to take all day again

134

Gongaware’s testimony yesterday covered several areas and was confusing at times. I believe the tweets reflect that.😉

135

Several Michael Jackson fans are in the hallway waiting. We’re told it will be at least another 30 minutes before trial resumes.

136

Judge Palazuelos has one more case and two ex parte (emergency) to hear before trial can resume. Busy morning so far.

137

AEG’s Gongaware is in the hallway. Shawn Trell also present, chatting with his attorneys. Jacksons attorneys here, but no family members yet

138

Katherine Jackson and daughter Rebbie just entered the courtroom. We’re still outside waiting to get in.

139

Katherine is wearing a navy blue jacket and Rebbie is wearing a black and white dress with black jacket.

140

Brian Panish resumes questioning of AEG’s Paul Gongaware. Plaintiffs called him as adverse witness.

141

My understanding Michael Jackson is a party (to the contract), Gongaware said about Dr. Murray’s contract. He said he never saw it, though

142

Panish: Why did AEG have to enter into a contract with Dr. Murray?

143

Gongaware: I don’t know

144

About AEG terminating Dr. Murray, Gongaware said he didn’t believe they could do it, because he was Michael’s doctor.

145

Gongaware said it was fair to say he didn’t know why AEG would enter into a contract with a doctor for Michael Jackson.

146

Panish asked Gongaware if MJ negotiated the price/contract with Dr. Murray. “I believe he did through me, he instructed me what to offer”

147

Gongaware said he didn’t know for sure whether Karen Faye was an independent contractor or not.

148

Dr. Murray would’ve been 100% charged to Michael Jackson, Gongaware testified.

149

Gongaware said he didn’t know what the $300k budgeted for medical management was for.

150

Panish tried ‘impeaching’ Gongaware, which is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual who’s testifying.

151

Yesterday and today the plaintiffs’ attorney would ask a question then play parts of the deposition to catch Gongaware in contradiction.

152

Gongaware told the jury he was concerned in getting MJ involved and focused, engaged mentally.

153

I believe that was Kenny’s concern, that he wanted him to be focus, Gongaware explained.

154

MJ had gone before without rehearsing, Gongaware recalled. “When he got to London, MJ was going to be sensational.”

155

Gongaware said Dr. Murray didn’t discuss with him MJ’s sleeping problems. In his deposition, Gongaware said he didn’t remember.

156

Panish asked Gongaware what made him remind that Dr. Murray didn’t talk to him about MJ’s sleeping problems; example of impeaching witness

157

I don’t know way he was on, he was a little off, Gongaware said, adding that he didn’t know what kind of drugs Dr. Klein was giving MJ.

158

Obviously I was looking for a nutritionist for him, but I wasn’t involved in his nutrition, Gongaware said.

159

Panish played Gongaware’s deposition where he said he was not involved in finding a nutritional person.

160

Gongaware explained he believes nutritional person and nutritionist were not necessarily the same.

161

On June 15, 2009, Gongaware sent and email to Ortega in response to request for nutritionist and physical therapist for MJ.

162

Email: We’re on it. AEG owns major sports teams in this market so we think we can find the right people quickly.

163

Kenny responded:Not a minute too soon. Let’s turn this guy around!

164

Gongaware testified he remembers someone named David Loughner working with MJ. Panish pointed out Laughner is Randy Phillips’ friend.

165

I don’t know if he was a nutritionist, it was someone in charge of making MJ eat, Gongaware explained.

166

Gongaware: He’s a guy who’s dealt with artists quite a bit

167

Panish: Artists in trouble?

168

Gongaware: Artists in general

169

Gongaware said he doesn’t know what Laughner did, but he’s seen him working with JLo and Enrique Iglesias.

170

Gongaware didn’t know why MJ would need a nutritionist when he had a doctor hired. “Kenny asked for it,” Gongaware explained.

171

He said Michael Jackson had always been thin.

172

Gongaware said he told Dr. Murray he wanted him to have everything he needed.

173

Gongaware said he didn’t attend rehearsals frequently. “I was at the rehearsal facility at all the times but I wasn’t in the arena much.”

174

We were always concerned about MJ’s health and well being, Gongaware explained, saying he was responding to Kenny Ortega’s requests.

175

Gongaware said Kenny Ortega was responsible for keeping an eye on everything, including MJ and his health.

176

Panish: Do you think Ortega was overreacting?

177

Gongaware: Perhaps. I knew that when house lights went up, he was going to be there

178

Panish: You think Ortega was overreacting when raised concerns about MJ’s health?

179

Gongaware: I think I wasn’t concerned as he was

180

Talking about the email Gongaware wrote saying he wanted to remind him (Dr. Murray) that it’s AEG, not MJ, who’s paying his salary.

181

In his deposition, Gongaware said he didn’t know what he meant to say in the email.

182

Gongaware testified he spent some of the time himself looking at this email, putting it in context with the rest of the material he had.

183

Panish: After meeting with your lawyers and talking about an hour or two about this email, did you refresh your memory what you meant?

184

I did come to conclusions a lot on my own, then I discussed it with my attorneys, Gongaware explained.

185

Gongaware: After you go through you remember the facts

186

Panish: You didn’t have psychotherapy to refresh your recollection?

187

G: No

188

I still don’t recall writing it, Gongaware said, “I don’t recall writing it, but I admit I wrote it.”

189

Panish went through every word of the email, which was to Kenny Ortega and Frank DiLeo.

190

Panish: You’re referring to Dr. Murray and what’s expected of Dr. Murray, right?

191

Gongaware: Yes

192

We did talk about Dr. Murray’s salary, but a deal was never consummated, Gongaware said.

193

His responsibility was to take care of his patient, Gongaware said about Dr. Murray.

194

Panish asked if he thought Dr. Murray knew what his responsibility was, so the need to remind him what’s expected of him?

195

This thing was shorthand between me, Kenny and Frank, Gongaware explained.

196

He said he should’ve been more careful choosing his words. He claimed he was referring to Kenny’s email re nutritionist, physical therapist

197

I certainly feel Dr. Murray should be competent to do that (be a nutritionist). He’s a doctor! Gongaware testified.

198

Panish asked why Gongaware thought they needed a nutritionist when they had a doctor hired. “Kenny asked for one,” he responded.

199

If MJ were signed the contract and if MJ would’ve instructed us to pay him, we would’ve pay him, Gongaware said about Dr. Murray.

200

I was writing in shorthand, Gongaware explained the email.

201

Here’s the email: Frank and I have discussed it already and have requested a face-to-face meeting with the doctor, hopefully Monday.

202

Email cont’d: We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ, who’s paying his salary. We want him to understand what’s expected of him.

203

Email cont’d: He’s been dodging Frank so far.

204

Michael didn’t like to rehearse, it didn’t surprise me, Gongaware expressed, saying it was known that MJ didn’t go to rehearsals.

205

In May, Gongaware sent an email to Tim Leiweke’s secretary, Carla Garcia, asking her to pray for him, since everything was a nightmare.

206

Email on 5/5/09 from Gongaware to Carla Garcia: “Pray for me. This is a nightmare.”

207

Email cont’d: Not coincidentally, I have them now every night. Cold sweats too. Life used to be so much fun…

208

Carla is an absolute babe, I was trying to chat her up, Gongaware explained.

209

I wasn’t trying to hit on her. I don’t have cold sweats, I don’t have nightmares, I sleep great! Gongaware said.

210

Panish asked him if he was lying in the email, white lie?

211

Gongaware: Let’s just say I was joking

212

Panish: You ask people to pray for you joking?

213

G: I did there

214

We’re currently on lunch break. Trial should resume shortly with more Gongaware on the stand.

215

After lunch break, Brian Panish resumes questioning of Paul Gongaware. Katherine Jackson and daughter Rebbie are in the courtroom.

216

What I really wanted was to meet with him about was in Kenny’s email, nutritionist, that kind of stuff, Gongaware said about the email.

217

About AEG paying Dr. Murray’s salary, Gongaware said he wrote that in the email, would be paying his salary if MJ would’ve signed off on it.

218

We expected him to take care of his patient, Gongaware said. “We certainly weren’t controlling the doctor.”

219

Panish: Why are you going to remind someone what to do when they are doing their job?

220

Gongaware: I don’t know

221

I’ve taken this very seriously, I’ve been sued for billions of dollars personally, Gongaware said.

222

Panish asked Gongaware who told him he was being sued for billions of dollars and he told his lawyers told him.

223

Panish: Do you know how much money MJ would earn in the future?

224

Gongaware: Nobody knows that

225

I spent as much time as I could preparing for it, Gongaware explained, saying he’s currently on tour with The Rolling Stones.

226

Panish: Is it more important to work for AEG than to prepare for this case, right?

227

Gongaware: I think they are both equally important

228

Panish: How many artist’s doctor you requested a face-to-face meeting?

229

Gongaware: None that I can recall

230

His health was going to be discussed at the meeting, Gongaware said about asking Dr. Murray to be present.

231

Gongaware said he suggested to his boss, Randy Phillips, to bring the doctor. It wasn’t an order.

232

Email on 6/20/09 from Gongaware to Phillips: Take the doctor with you. Why wasn’t he there last night?

233

This is talking about a problem they had that night with Michael, Gongaware explained.

234

Gongaware: “It appears that Michael was sick that night, so where was the doctor? That was my question.”

235

Gongaware: Meeting was going to be with Michael

236

Panish: Why are you telling the CEO to take the doctor with you?

237

Panish: Because you were controlling him, right?

238

Gongaware: We were not controlling him

239

Dr. Murray was in charge of MJ’s health, Gongaware testified.

240

Email on 6/19/09 from John Hougdahl (Bugzee) to Gongaware and Phillips Subject: Trouble at the front

241

MJ was sent home without stepping foot on stage.

242

I’m not being a drama queen here… Kenny asked me to notify you both.

243

Email cont’d: He was a basket case and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet – get hurt.

244

Email cont’d: The company is rehearsing right now, but the DOUBT is pervasive. Time to circle the wagons.

245

All I know is that I had only one meeting with Dr. Murray, Gongaware said, but he doesn’t know what day it was.

246

Gongaware said he didn’t know what Bugzee meant when he wrote “time to circle the wagons.”

247

Back in session after a break.

248

Response from Phillips on Jun 20: Bugzee, I know because I just got Kenny’s message on my vm.

249

Email cont’d: What did he do when he got there and what happened between him and Kenny Ortega? I have a meeting with MJ tomorrow morning.

250

From Hougdahl (Bugzee) to Phillips, cc’d Gongaware: you aren’t going to kill the artist, are you? MJ came out and watched all the pyro demonstration and endorsed the all the effects

251

Email cont’d:  then went into his room and asked Kenny

252

Email cont’d: We assumed this was reference to pyro, but Kenny said he was shaking and couldn’t hold his knife and fork.

253

Email cont’d: Kenny had to cut his food for him before he could eat, and then had to use his fingers …

254

Email cont’d:  I don’t know how much embellishment there is to this, but (Kenny) said repeatedly that MJ was in no shape to go on stage.

255

Email cont’d: He kept going on and on how no one was taking responsibility for “getting him ready”.

256

Email cont’d: We might be getting beyond … damage control, here.

257

I didn’t worry about, it sounded like he was sick and they were going to talk about it next morning, Gongaware explained.

258

Phillips replied: Tim and I are going to see him tomorrow, however, I am not sure what the problem is. Chemical or physiological?

259

Gongaware said he was at a family wedding and wasn’t really paying attention to this. This was 1st time he heard something was wrong with MJ

260

Gongaware responds:Take the doctor with you. Why wasn’t he there last night?

261

Yes, if he (MJ) was sick, why wasn’t he (the doctor) there? Gongaware said he meant in the email.

262

Phillips responded and added Tim Leiweke in the chain:He is not a psychiatrist so I’m not sure how effective he can be at this point.

263

I think Randy is stating his opinion, Gongaware said.

264

Email cont’d: Obviously, getting him there is not the issue. It is much deeper.

265

Panish asked if Gongaware inquired what Phillips meant by “the issue… It’s much deeper.” He said no.

266

Panish: Were you concerned?

267

Gongaware: Not necessarily

268

Gongaware: Well, there was going to be a meeting that day to discuss it

269

G: No

270

P: And never sought to find out?

271

Gongaware: No

272

Panish: Nobody told you anything where Dr. Murray was?

273

Response from Hougdahl to Phillips, about needing trainer/therapist: I’ve watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks.

274

Email cont’d: He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried it now.

275

There was a meeting on June 20th. I wasn’t there, I was back East, Gongaware recalled.

276

Unfortunately, we are running out of time. That’s my biggest fear.

277

He was afraid of that, I wasn’t, Gongaware said.

278

Email from Phillips:

279

Gongaware agreed that in this business, the show must go on.

280

Gongaware said AEG has a policy that they check people out either by knowing them, by being known in the industry or recommend by the artist

281

Gongaware testified he didn’t know when Dr. Murray’s contract was to begin.

282

That contract was for London and the shows for London, I believe, Gongaware said.

283

Email on 6/20/09 from Phillips to LeiwekeComm and Kazoodi:This guy is really starting to concern me.

284

Email cont’d: Read his email and my response. Dr. Murray and I are meeting with MJ at 4pm today at The Forum.

285

Kazzodi is a private email address that belongs to Gongaware.

286

Phillips sent this email to Leiweke and Gongaware’s private email accounts.

287

The artist’s health is paramount. Without the artist, there’s no show. The artist is the most important thing, Gongaware testified.

288

Email on 6/19/09 from Phillips to Leiweke: “We have a real problem here.”

289

There was a meeting that was going to happen the next day, Gongaware said, and he waited to see what would come out of it.

290

Email on 6/19/09 from Leiweke to Phillips: Let’s set up a time for you and I to meet with him. I want Kenny in the meeting as well.

291

Ortega wrote back: I will do whatever I can to be of help with this situation. My concern is now that we’ve brought the Doctor into the fold

292

Email cont’d: played the tough love, now or never card, is that the Artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real emotional stuff

293

Email cont’d: He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a terrible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing.

294

Email cont’d: Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light

295

Email cont’d: it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing.

296

Email cont’d: I was told by our choreographer during the artists costume fitting w/ his designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight

297

Email cont’d: As far as I can tell, there’s no one taking responsibility (caring) for him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight?

298

Email cont’d: Tonight I was feeding him wrapping him in blankets to warm his chill, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor.

299

Email cont’d: There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea.

300

Email cont’d: Finally, it’s important for everyone to know I believe he really wants this. It would shatter him break his heart if we pulled plug

301

Email cont’d: He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if i was going to leave him.

302

Email cont’d: He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy.

303

Email cont’d: There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.

304

Phillips responded:Kenny, I will call you when I figure this out,we have a person like that, Brigitte, who’s in London advancing his stay.

305

Email cont’d: We will bring her back asap and Frank, too, however, I’m stymied on who to bring in as a therapist

306

Email cont’d: and how they can get through to him in such a short time.

307

Gongaware said Brigitte is a lawyer who was in charge of accommodations for MJ in London.

308

Side note: it’s super hot in the courtroom. Air condition not keeping up. Attorneys said they will bring fans to help cool the room down.

309

Mrs. Jackson did not return after the afternoon break.

310

This all happened prior to the meeting, and I was waiting to understand what the situation was, Gongaware explained.

311

Gongaware: He was obviously concerned

312

Panish: Seriously concerned, right sir?

313

Gongaware: Seemed to be

314

I think they are special, Gongaware said about artists.

315

Email response from Philips to Kenny urging him, and everyone else, not to become amateur psychiatrists or physicians on 6/20/09.

316

Email: “You cannot imagine the harm and ramifications of stopping this show now”

317

Panish: Can you name a single person at AEG who checked Dr. Murray out?

318

Gongaware: I don’t know if anyone did

319

I didn’t know anything about him, Gongaware said about Dr. Murray.

320

Some people work for reasons other than money, Gongaware opined, but said he didn’t know whether Dr. Murray was in that category.

321

I believe every doctor is unbiased and ethical, Gongaware said. “I think it’s a natural assumption on my part.”

322

Gongaware: I never checked any doctor that I used. I just go by recommendation, never checked anyone’s financial situation.

323

Gongaware said everyone thought MJ had all the money in the world, and it was not unusual for him to see people asking for a lot of money.

324

Panish: He knew MJ’s health was declining based on what the doctor told I’m, right?

325

Gongaware: Based on what his doctor told him, yes

326

I did talk to him and he said the meeting went well, Gongaware recalled.

327

Gongaware said he never heard before today anything about Dr. Murray’s financial conditions.

328

This guy is starting to concern me, Phillips wrote in an email to Leiweke, Gongaware and Frank DiLeo.

329

It is not clear to me who ‘this guy’ is, Gongaware said.

330

I don’t know what Randy meant here, Gongaware explained. “I can easily take ‘this guy’ is MJ here.”

331

Gongaware said he was in a family wedding, hadn’t seen the family for a long time and was not paying attention to work.

332

Gongaware said he produced every email he had related to this case.

333

Further to the earlier email…

334

Email on 6/22/09 from Hougdahl (Production Manager, known as Bugzee) to Gongaware:

335

Tomorrow is another story…

336

Email cont’d: Let’s keep our 2 docu people out of here today, unless they stay in the dressing room area only.

337

Panish: Sir, Michael was sick this time, wasn’t sir?

338

Gongaware: I don’t know, he showed up next day and was great!

339

Panish: But you were not at the rehearsal, sir?

340

Gongaware: I saw reports

341

He appeared to me to be fully engaged, Gongaware said.

342

Panish talking about June 24th rehearsing:

343

I recall seeing Thriller because it was the first time they were rehearsing with the costume and I wanted to see it, Gongaware said.

344

That ended Day 19 of testimony. Paul Gongaware resumes tomorrow morning. They hope to be done with him by Friday. See you all tomorrow!

AEG email: Murray works for us, not Jackson

By Jeff Gottlieb

May 29, 2013, 3:55 p.m.

An email from a ranking AEG executive that was shown in court Wednesday could be among the most telling pieces of evidence in answering a central question in the Michael Jackson wrongful death suit: who employed Dr. Conrad Murray?

“Frank and I have discussed it already and have requested a face-to-face meeting with the doctor, hopefully Monday,” AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote on June 14, 2009, 11 days before Murray administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the singer.

“We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary. We want him to understand what is expected of him.”

One of driving questions in the wrongful death case is whether it was concert promoter AEG or Jackson  who hired and controlled Murray, who is now serving time for involuntary manslaughter,

Confronted with the email as he sat on the witness stand Wednesday, Gongaware said he didn’t recall writing it.

“I don’t understand it because we weren’t paying his salary,” Gongaware said.

“So why were you writing it?” asked Brian Panish, the Jackson family’s attorney.

“I have no idea,” Gongaware replied.

The AEG executive later said the email was “shorthand” between him, tour director Kenny Ortega and Jackson’s manager Frank Dileo. “I was going through hundreds of emails a day. If I knew lawyers four years later were picking everything apart, I may have been more careful choosing my words,” Gongaware testified.

Gongaware also testified that in response to concerns over Jackson’s health from Ortega, he was trying to find the singer a nutritionist and physical therapist.

Ortega replied in a June 15, 2009, email , “Super. Not a minute too soon. Let’s turn this guy around!”

Asked by Panish if Oretga raised his concerns about Jackson’s health, Gongaware replied, “Perhaps.”

“I was never concerned about Michael Jackson. I knew when the houselights went off, he would be there and on.”

In their lawsuit, Jackson’s mother and three children contend that AEG negligently hired and supervised Murray, who was supposed to be paid $150,000 a month. AEG says that any money it was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance to Jackson.

In another email exchange, this one with the assistant to Tim Leiweke, then chief executive of parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group, Gongaware wrote that he couldn’t tell her which day the “This Is It” concerts would open in London because Jackson hadn’t shown up to rehearsal.

“Pray for me,” he wrote May 5, 2009. “This is a nightmare. Not coincidentally, I have them now every night. Cold sweats, too. Life used to be so much fun…”

Gongaware testified that he was joking in the email.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-aeg-email-murray-20130529,0,732404.story

Here is the CNN video where Paul Gongaware pretends to be a complete imbecile. He does not recognize his own email and does not understand a word of what it is saying:

AEG exec probed at Jackson death trial

AEG exec confronted at Jackson trial

Thursday May 30, 2013 DAY 20

  • Gongaware and other AEG bosses have an indemnity clause in their employment contracts. It means that if they do something wrong the company will be responsible for it. So they are not even risking their own money.
  • John Branca ventured to offer atherapist for Michael Jackson and asked if substance abuse was involved. Well, at least he cared.
  • All this talk about Michael being an “addict” is nonsense. Gongaware says that in the entire time he was dealing with Michael in This Is It tour, he saw him slightly off only once when he came back from his doctor (Klein’s was doing some cosmetic procedures). This was the only time Michael’s speech sounded slurred.
  • On the day Michael died Randy Phillips was asking for life insurance. Separate life insurance are never added to regular non-appearance insurances obtained for tours. So despite those two highly successful rehearsals on June 23d and 24th Randy Phillips thought that Michael could die? And the same time he was saying to everyone that they should not ‘play amateur physicians”?
  • Gongaware instructed the members of the band and dancers to ‘keep positive’ when giving interviews and stress that MJ was active, engaged and not emaciated person ‘some want to paint’. So this is why all of them sounded so guarded! You could almost see them lying.
  • Panish says that Frank DiLeo’s attorney has copies of Frank Dileo’s emails.  The computer itself has long disappeared.
  • Gongaware claims that the first time he saw the chain of email subject “Trouble at the Front” was only at this trial. This is the least knowledgeable CEO of a company I have ever seen.
  • We learn that had it not been for plans to sell beverages on the O2 arena Michael would have been required to  also pay the arena rent.  And I thought that at least this was supposed to be provided free. Provision of the O2 arena was AEG’s main and probably only serious obligation as a promoter. These people will charge you money for every breath you make
  • All this comparison of Michael with Elvis is totally unnecessary. Gongaware testified that he never saw Michael take drugs in History tour, and learned that there were some painkillers involved in Dangerous tour only from a later TV announcement. So how could Gongaware ‘kind of know what to expect’?
  • Gongaware said that before the third (?) leg of Dangerous tour Michael had scalp surgery, and his nerve was hit which was very painful – so this is why Michael had those terrible migraines!

345

Day 20 of Jackson Family vs AEG trial is underway. Brian Panish resumed questioning of AEG’s executive and co-defendant Paul Gongaware.

346

Gongaware said he met with his attorneys again yesterday to refresh his recollection.

347

Panish asked if AEG was concerned about Mr. Jackson’s health.

348

When he was sick we obviously had a concern, Gongaware responded.

349

Gongaware said he understood MJ was sick from reading the chain of emails shown yesterday.

350

But Gongaware told the jury he didn’t have any particular concern about Michael Jackson.

351

Other than on June 19th, no one told Gongaware about being concerned with MJ’s health.

352

Talking about the email Hougdahl sent saying MJ was deteriorating quickly, Gongaware explained: “I didn’t see it the way he saw.”

353

Panish: Was Mr. Hougdahl joking about it?

354

Gongaware: A little bit

355

Hougdahl wrote in another email to Gongaware that MJ needed some cheeseburgers, a couple of brats and beers.

356

Panish inquired whether Gongaware had indemnity clause in his contract.

357

I haven’t read my contract in 12/13 years, I don’t know what it says, Gongaware said.

358

Panish asked if he AEG would cover for Gongaware should they be found guilty.

359

I’ve been assuming that, Gongaware responded, adding that depending upon the size of the judgment, AEG could go after him.

360

Panish asked how much AEG would be able to afford, and Gongaware said he didn’t know.

361

Panish emphasized there are various ways for AEG to pay a judgment, and Gongaware mentioned they had some sort of cancellation insurance.

362

Lunch break is almost over. We’ll tweet more updates as soon as we can.

363

If it feels like they were jumping from one subject to another, it’s because they were. We’re told Panish is almost done.

364

Just want to remind everyone that we are not allowed to live tweet, per judge’s order. We have to do it during breaks

365

Email 6/15/09 from Hougdahl to Gongaware

366

He needs some cheeseburgers w/ bunch of Wisconsin cheesehead bowlers and couple of brats and beers

367

Gongaware said he does not know how many pages his employment agreement is.

368

Panish asked about indemnity in Gongaware’s contract. The exec said indemnity means that someone else is taking on the responsibility.

369

Panish: That means if you did something wrong…

370

Gongaware: They would be responsible

371

Panish went back to discuss the email from Randy Phillips where he wrote Dr. Murray didn’t need the gig and was unbiased and ethical.

372

Panish: Is Mr. Phillips unbiased and ethical, sir?

373

Gongaware: I think he is

374

Panish asked if it was ethical for Phillips to represent to Ortega that the doctor is ‘extremely successful’ and ‘we checked everyone out’

375

Gongaware responded that he didn’t know what Phillips knew at the time.

376

Panish: Is number one priority ‘the show must go on’?

377

Gongaware: I don’t know if that’s number one

378

P: What’s number one?

379

G: Getting it right

380

Panish showed the email John Branca, Michael’s attorney, saying he had the right therapist for MJ and asked if substance abuse was involved.

381

This is referring to the meeting that was going to happen and I was waiting to see the results of it, Gongaware said.

382

I didn’t believe there was a substance abuse issue, Gongaware testified.

383

In the entire time I was dealing with him in this tour, I saw it once when he came back from his doctor, Gongaware testified.

384

Gongaware said that was the only time he saw Michael with slurred speech and under the influence of something.

385

Gongaware said he didn’t know what Dr. Klein was giving Michael Jackson.

386

When Panish asked Gongaware if he checked Dr. Klein out, he replied: “No, he was Michael’s doctor and it was none of my business.”

387

Gongaware talked about the meetings he attended at MJ’s house. He couldn’t remember how many, but said one with Dr. Murray was in June.

388

On June 24th, Gongaware saw MJ rehearse the song ‘Thriller’. He said he thought Michael was engaged and alert.

389

As to insurance issues, Gongaware said he was involved only peripherally.

390

On June 25, Gongaware sent an email saying that if they didn’t get sickness coverage in the insurance, they would be dropping the policy.

391

Gongaware said he didn’t know why he was pressing for sickness insurance on the day MJ died.

392

Bob Taylor, the insurance broker, wrote back that it was always down to the medical issued from the word go.

393

Regarding Randy Phillips asking for life insurance the day MJ died, Gongaware said he didn’t pay much attention to insurance, didn’t recall

394

The day MJ died, Gongaware said Phillips called him and told him to get over to the house right away, there seems to be a problem.

395

Randy followed the ambulance to UCLA. “The second call was that he informed me that he had died,” Gongaware remembered.

396

On June 25, Gongaware said he went to the rehearsal at the Staples Center and talked to Kenny Ortega.

397

Panish: Were you sad Mr. Jackson died?

398

Gongaware: Very much so

399

He was a business associate, Gongaware said about MJ. They did not didn’t hang out as friends,

400

Panish asked about Phillips’ email directing Gongaware to remove thin, skeletal footage of MJ in red jacket from This Is It documentary.

401

Gongaware testified today he remembered receiving the email. In his deposition played in court, Gongaware said he didn’t recall the email.

402

Panish: Did you change your testimony?

403

Gongaware: No. I saw the email as part of my prep

404

Gongaware said he didn’t try to control any of the messages about MJ after his death to reflect he was fully engaged in rehearsals.

405

Panish asked about an email from Gongaware okay’ing the band, singers and dancer to give interviews but asked them to keep it positive.

406

Email: The only thing we ask is that they keep it positive and stress that MJ was active, engaged & not emaciated person some want to paint

407

Panish: You were controlling the message as producer of that documentary, sir?

408

Gongaware: I don’t think so

409

Gongaware said there were 15,000 tickets per show, $1.5 million in tickets per show, $47 million for all 31 shows.

410

Tickets were selling at lightening fast, Gongaware said. “As fast as the system can sell.”

411

The tickets were sold in March, Gongaware said. It was held by the arena, AEG had control of the money.

412

Gongaware said merchandising was another way of making money. The building, which is owned by AEG, would keep the revenue of beverage sold.

413

Gongaware said the beverage money would offset the arena rent, which Michael would not have to pay.

414

Gongaware: His (MJ) potential was great

415

Panish: Unlimited ceilings?

416

Gongaware: If he was willing to work that hard, he would’ve done well

417

The only thing we knew was 50 shows in London. Michael had not agreed to anything else, Gongaware explained.

418

Katherine Jackson was in court wearing an electric blue jacket. Rebbie accompanied her, wearing a dark blue with white square strips jacket.

419

Since the courtroom has been so hot, several fans have been placed around in an effort to cool the room off. It worked, partially.

420

After lunch, attorneys spent about 20 minutes discussing the contents of Frank DiLeo’s computer. Panish said an attorney in LA has copy.

421

Judge urged both sides to work with this newly-discovered attorney in order to get copies of DiLeo’s emails.

422

Panish asked Gongaware by the time the show was sold out, how many people were in the queue to buy tickets.

423

250,000 people were still in the queue, which would be enough to sell another 50 shows, Gongaware answered.

424

Panish then concluded his questioning of Gongaware.

425

Panish: Did you tell the truth when you testified in this case, sir?

426

Gongaware: Yes

427

AEG’s attorney, Marvin Putnam, did the questioning of Gongaware on behalf of the defendants.

428

Putnam: Have you ever been sued personally for the wrongful death of anyone?

429

Gongaware: No

430

P: Are you nervous?

431

G: Yes

432

Putnam: How are you feeling?

433

Gongaware: It’s difficult, it’s very stressful

434

Putnam asked about Gongaware’s memory and he said it’s okay.

435

Putnam said Gongaware handed over more than 13,000 emails in discovery from the “This Is It” period.

436

Putnam inquired about Gongaware’s Kazoodi personal email account. On 6/20/09, the chain of emails with “Trouble at the Front” was sent there

437

Gongaware said he didn’t remember receiving this email.

438

Gongaware said he had more than one “Kazoodi” email account. He said he was not using the account the email was sent to on 6/20.

439

The account was closed at the time, Gongaware testified, saying he never received the email. But he said he never denied it was sent.

440

Gongaware claimed yesterday was the first time he saw the chain of email subject Trouble at the Front.

441

Gongaware said he was receiving hundreds of email a day at the height of 2008/09 tour preparation.

442

Gongaware testified he didn’t read all of them because of time factor or it was something it didn’t have to do with him.

443

Gongaware said he doesn’t have an office at AEG, and that he works in his own projects. He has an office at his house.

444

Gongaware is the Co-CEO of AEG Live Concerts West with John Meglen. He said he was the co-founder of the company. Phillips is AEG Live CEO.

445

Gongaware explained he has been testifying about what he could recall. If he didn’t remember, he said he told the jury he couldn’t recall.

446

Gongaware testified he looked at the emails after his deposition because he wanted to put everything together and see the bigger picture.

447

Putnam: Did you try to give your best testimony?

448

Gongaware: Yes, I did

449

Regarding the phone call between Gongaware and Dr. Murray where the doctor asked about $5 million, Gongaware said he remembers that call.

450

The next call between the two, it was the $150,000 call, where Gongaware offered the doctor $150k.

451

Gongaware said those were the only two calls he had with Dr. Murray.

452

Gongaware said the 1st time he met Dr. Murray was a meeting at MJ’s Carolwood house. He said MJ, Kenny, Randy, Frank, Dr Murray were present

453

Gongaware recalled the other meeting with Dr. Murray was an encounter with him at The Forum. He remembers saying hello to him.

454

Gongaware said he’s sure he didn’t meet with Dr. Murray other than on those two occasions.

455

Break down: Gongaware said he spoke with Dr. Murray on the phone two times and met with him two times.

456

Gongaware said he promoted couple of shows/dances in college. He graduated in ’69 from Waynesboro College in Pennsylvania in Accounting

457

Gongaware worked for Arthur Andersen in NYC after college as auditor. He said one needed two years of experience in order to get CPA license

458

The company ended up shutting down after being involved in the Enron scandal, Gongaware explained.

459

Gongaware said there’s a continuing education requirement in order to maintain his CPA license,  but he hasn’t kept current.

460

I didn’t like that work, Gongaware said about leaving the practice. “I wanted to do things and not just being an accountant.”

461

Gongaware said he ski bummed for a winter and would do bookkeeping to pay for his lodge.

462

After, he promoted the Grateful Dead at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO. Gongaware said he didn’t know the band, cold called them & got the work

463

The concert was sold out, Gongaware said, and he became an independent promoter.

464

Around 1975, he met Terry Bassett who worked at Concerts West and Gongaware went to work for them in their Seattle’s office.

465

He worked for them for about 10 years. Gongaware said he went to work for the company because the money was steady.

466

At Concerts West, Gongaware worked with Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Beach Boys, Chicago, Eric Clapton, among others.

467

This Concerts West is not the same he is the currently the co-CEO.

468

Jerry Weintraub was Elvis’ promoter and Concerts West assigned him to work with Colonel Parker, Elvis’ manager.

469

On Jun 25, 2009 Gabriel Sutter (a tech guy) wrote Gongaware a condolences email.

470

It was such an incredible shock to go through that experience, Gongaware explained.

471

Gongaware’s response on July 5, 2009: I was working on the Elvis tour when he died so I kind of knew what to expect. Still, quite a shock.

472

You have all these people out of work, Gongaware explained. “At the Elvis some were without jobs permanently.”

473

Putnam: When you wrote the email, did you expected MJ to die?

474

Gongaware: No, not all

475

P: Did you ever consider the idea MJ would die?

476

G: No

477

MJ died of overdose of Propofol, Gongaware testified.

478

He didn’t die of being sick or malnutrition, Gongaware said. “It was overdose of Propofol.”

479

Gongaware said he had no idea of what Propofol was.

480

Gongaware was in his 20s when he worked with Elvis. He said when they’d announce Elvis concert, there would be lines at the box office 4 days

481

Gongaware said Colonel would buy ads on every radio station and promote the show.

482

When tickets went on sale, Gongaware was to report to Colonel every hour regarding the ticket sales.

483

Gongaware said Elvis died of a heart ailment.

484

((On Tuesday, Gongaware testified Presley died of drug overdose))

485

At a point, Gongaware said Elvis was not performing. “The Colonel was keeping Elvis from work.”

486

Gongaware said he never met Elvis.

487

Gongaware said he came to find out later, after Elvis’ death, that the artist had drug problems.

488

Gongaware said he worked on MJ’s memorial service. He was in charge of the tickets and worked closely with the family.

489

He said he didn’t charge for his work.

490

Putnam: Why did you work at the memorial service?

491

Gongaware: It was the right thing to do

492

Gongaware left Seattle and came to LA to work at Concerts West. He then went to Warner Miller Films. The company did primarily ski movies

493

Around 1992, Gongaware went to work on the “Dangerous” tour with MJ. This was his first time working with Michael Jackson.

494

He worked with the Jacksons in 2000. But he remembered working on a tour with the Jacksons prior to 92 and said MJ was part of the group.

495

I was the tour manager, handled the logistics and travel for the B party, Gongaware said, adding he worked for MJ but not for A party.

496

A party – artist

497

B party – band and administration

498

C party – crew

499

D party – documentary people

500

Gongaware said there were several legs on Dangerous tour. It was a worldwide tour. He never met MJ on that tour, saw him on stage few times

501

The first time Gongaware met MJ was in Las Vegas when he was visiting Colonel Parker.

502

Steve Wynn’s brother called and said MJ wanted to meet Colonel. Gongaware stayed and met MJ.

503

Putnam: Were there any doctors in that tour?

504

Gongaware: Yes, two

505

Gongaware said Dr. Forecast was MJ’s personal doctor. He didn’t think Dr. Forecast treated anyone else, so they had Dr. Finkelstein also

506

Dr. Finkelstein, a general practitioner, was in the B party. They went to places where they didn’t know the quality of local healthcare.

507

Gongaware explained Dr. Finkelstein treated B, C and D parties. Gongaware said he did not see any doctor treat MJ.

508

Dr. Finkelstein told Gongaware he treated MJ two times. Dr. Forecast wasn’t in Bangkok yet, so Dr. Finkelstein treated him when he needed.

509

The King of Thailand said MJ would have to do the second show because his friends were attending, Gongaware recalled.

510

Gongaware said the King put armed guards outside their doors to make sure they didn’t leave.

511

Putnam: During the Dangerous tour, have you come to have an understanding that MJ had a problem with drugs or painkillers?

512

Gongaware: No

513

The Dangerous tour in 93 was cut short in Mexico City, Gongaware said. He learned it had to do with drug addiction because MJ announced it.

514

Putnam played the audio with MJ’s statement.

515

My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addition, MJ said.

516

After that, judge adjourned the trial until tomorrow morning. Gongaware is to resume his testimony and expected to last all day.

517

Judge said there will be only four hours of trial tomorrow, from 9 am to 1 pm PT. We hope to see you all tomorrow.

518

Watch @ABC7 Eyewitness News and go to http://www.abc7.com  to see excerpts of Gongaware’s deposition along with emails shown at trial.

519

Here’s the text of MJ’s announcement in 1993:

520

My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance

521

Cont’d: immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addiction. It is time for me to acknowledge my need for treatment

522

Cont’d: in order to regain my health. I realize that completing the tour is no longer possible and I must cancel the remaining dates.

523

Cont’d: I know I can overcome the problem and will be stronger from the experience.

524

Good morning from the courthouse in downtown LA. Apologies for not tweeting entire MJ message yesterday, but we reached twitter limit!😉

AEG email: Footage of a ‘skeletal’ Jackson ordered deleted

May 30, 2013, 2:03 p.m.

About six weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, an AEG executive told a producer for the “This Is It” documentary to delete footage of the singer looking too “skeletal.”

Witnesses in the Jackson family’s wrongful-death suit have testified that they were worried about the singer’s health and dramatic weight loss in the day before his scheduled comeback tour and had expressed concerns to tour officials.

The paramedic who came to Jackson’s Holmby Hills home after the 911 call on June 25, 2009, testified that the singer was so emaciated that he thought Jackson was an end-stage cancer patient who had come home to die.

“Make sure we take out the shots of MJ in that red leather jacket at the sound stage where the mini-movies were being filmed,” AEG Live president and co-chief executive Randy Phillips wrote.

“He looks way too think (sic) and skeletal.”

Phillips sent the email to Paul Gongaware, who was back on the witness stand Thursday for his third straight day of testimony. Gongaware, co-chief executive of AEG Live, was a producer of the documentary.

Gongaware replied to Phillips, his boss, “ok will have a look when it comes on screen.”

In another email, Gongaware wrote, “We are ok with the band, singers and dancers doing interviews now. The only thing we ask is that they keep it positive and stress that MJ was active, engaged and not the emaciated person some want to paint him as being.”

Answering questions from Jackson family attorney Brian Panish, Gongaware said he was not trying to control the film’s message. “We’re asking them to keep it positive,” he said.

Gongaware said nothing was taken out of the documentary, which included rehearsals for the scheduled 50 concerts in London.

Gongaware’s testimony again emphasized the contrast between the answers he gave during his deposition under oath in December 2012 and his responses in the courtroom.

In testimony Wednesday, he agreed that Phillips meant “thin” in his email, instead of the word he typed, “think.”

Asked during the deposition what Phillips meant, he replied, ”I don’t know what he meant.”

The wrongful death case was brought by Jackson’s mother and three children against AEG, the promoter and producer of the London concerts.

The family contends that AEG negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who gave Jackson the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. AEG says that the doctor worked for Jackson, and that any money the company was supposed to pay Murray were advances to the singer.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-aeg-skeletal-jackson-20130530,0,4702553.story

Friday May 31 DAY 21

  • During History tour Gongaware never saw any indication of painkillers used. He is positive that Michael did not use any.
  • Michael missed only one show then – when Princess Diana died. Gongaware said Michael missed shows on Dangerous tour but not on HIStory tour.
  • After the first leg of shows ended in Hawaii, Michael had lost $27 million, was in debt $11 million to lighting and sound. The second leg of History was more successful, all the debts were paid.
  •  This Is It tour was discussed primarily between Randy Phillips and Tohme. Gongaware also mentioned Peter Lopez of which I am not sure. I wonder if they can retrieve emails from Peter Lopez’s computer too.
  • An interesting mail was sent by an insurance broker Bob Taylor. He was trying to show to the insurers that “they were not working him too hard”. So all of them knew that they were working him too hard!  Slavemasters.
  • The results of the physical examination on February 4 were perfect. Michael was not doing any drugs and passed the test with flying colors. And this is the absolute truth.
  • When in London Michael was late a couple of hours to announce the news of his comeback  Gongaware was not surprised – Michael did not like press-conferences.
  • And Gongaware says that Michael was absolutely NOT drunk and was not even smelling of alcohol. So this was another of their  ‘exaggerations’.

525

Marvin Putnam resumes questioning of AEG’s Paul Gongaware. Katherine Jackson is wearing an orange jacket and Rebbie is in a black jacket.

526

Putnam asked Gongaware if he had any understanding as to why MJ was taking painkiller.

527

Gongaware: Before 3rd leg of Dangerous tour started, he had scalp surgery, hit nerve or something it was very painful; was treated for that

528

When he did the Pepsi commercial, his hair was burn at the top, Gongaware explained, saying they did surgery so hair would look natural.

529

I didn’t know it was an addiction, Gongaware said, and that he learned MJ had drug problems after Mexico City.

530

Gongaware did a Rod Stewart tour in North America after Dangerous tour. He next worked with Michael in the “HIStory” tour in 1996/97.

531

Gongaware said he did not have a general concern with MJ having a drug addiction.

532

After shows ended in Hawaii, Michael had lost $27 million, was in debt $11 million to lighting and sound, Gongaware testified.

533

He switched managers to fixed things up in the second half of the tour, Gongaware explained.

534

Gongaware said he had to cut lot of expenses. They wanted to give Michael the same show, but he said there was so much excess to be trimmed

535

Second half of the tour, Gongaware was the tour executive and he worked directly for MJ. It netted $14 million, $11 million paid vendors.

536

We got the tour to break even, Gongaware testified, saying he worked closely with Jackson on the second half of the tour.

537

Putnam: Was there an ongoing concern Mr. Jackson was having problems with painkillers during the HIStory tour?

538

Gongaware: No, not at all

539

Gongaware said he didn’t see anything that would suggest Michael was addicted to painkillers.

540

The exec testified MJ didn’t have doctor traveling with him on the second half of the tour and there was no tour doctor with the tour.

541

Putnam: How was MJ on the HIStory tour?

542

Gongaware: Great! He was sensational!

543

Gongaware said MJ only missed one show on HIStory tour when Princess Diana died. “He went to bed, knew about the accident.”

544

MJ was told Diana was going to be okay and next morning he learned she died, Gongaware described. “That affected him greatly.”

545

Gongaware said he missed shows in Dangerous tour but not in HIStory tour.

546

Putnam asked if there were signs MJ was using painkillers during HIStory tour. “No indication at all. I didn’t think he was,” Gongaware said

547

Gongaware said he would certainly notice if there was any problem during that tour.

548

Gongaware said HIStory tour was pretty smooth. It ended in 1997. Right after, Gongaware said Michael called him as asked him to work for him

549

He liked my work, he liked what I did, Gongaware said, adding that MJ wanted him to be his business manager.

550

Gongaware said he didn’t accept the offer and decided to go out on his own to promote concerts.

551

He was tempted, Gongaware said, but he had lined up what he wanted to do. He worked with Yani next.

552

Gongaware and his partner, John Meglen, created Concerts West in the late 90s.

553

Concerts West started out with concerts of Andrea Bocceli, Mariah Carrey, Eagles and Millennium at Staples Center.

554

AEG acquired the assets of Concerts West around 2000, Gongaware said, and Concerts West became AEG Live. Randy Phillips is AEG’s CEO.

555

Gongaware said he made a deal that requires him to work only half time starting this year.

556

Gongaware said AEG Live is the second largest concert promoter company. Live Nation is the first.

557

Our philosophy is different, Gongaware said, adding they choose what they want to do, whereas Live Nation has to meet their quota.

558

Putnam: Would you like to be number 1?

559

Gongaware: No. It’s so much bigger, it gets so much more complex. I’m happy being a good number 2

560

Next time Gongaware worked with MJ was in “This Is It” tour. Peter Lopez, MJ’s attorney, called Gongaware’s partner in 2007, asked to meet

561

From 97 to 2009, MJ did not do any touring, only a couple of shows.

562

Gongaware said he went to Vegas to meet with Michael in 2007. The meeting was to discuss how AEG did tours, didn’t talk about MJ touring.

563

They met again in 2008 also in Vegas. “Paul Gongaware! I knew that if you came, things were going to be ok,” Michael said about him.

564

Mikey was not meant as insult, Gongaware said. He was not trying to mock him, would use Mikey in person with MJ.

565

Putnam: Did he seem thin in 07?

566

Gongaware: Yes, he was always thin

567

Putnam: Did he seem to have a problem with painkillers?

568

Gongaware: No

569

P: Did he seem to be under the influence?

570

G: No

571

Gongaware said MJ was alert, engaged, interested on what was going on in the meeting in 2007. He wanted to do a King Tut mini-movie.

572

Gongaware said when he went on tour with MJ in HIStory, he wasn’t on any drug.

573

The next meeting with MJ was in NY. Gongaware didn’t remember what they discussed.

574

Sometime in 08, they began discussion of MJ going back on tour. Dr. Tohme, MJ’s manager, approached AEG.

575

Randy Phillips was primarily the one involved in the discussions with Dr. Tohme and Peter Lopez regarding the comeback tour.

576

The meeting in 2008 began with discussion of a possible MJ exhibit at the Hilton in Las Vegas.

577

Colony Capital is an investment company that bought the note of Neverland, Gongaware said. By ‘note’ he meant the ‘mortgage’.

578

Neverland was MJ’s residence in Santa Barbara, Gongaware explained. “They (Colony) were trying to figure out what to do with Neverland.”

579

Gongaware talked about being at MJ’s house at Carolwood when the singer signed the contract with AEG for the “This Is It” tour.

580

Email on 2/11/09 from Bob Taylor to Gongaware: Thanks Paul. I now have the medical and blood reports. Look good.

581

Email cont’d: I now need more info of what is available. This will help with the presentation to the insurers.

582

Email showed a line where Taylor said: 1- (I am trying to show that we are not working him too hard)

583

Another request from insurance broker: I would like to offer insurers a medical update say every 21 days.

584

Response from Gongaware: I’m not ready to put anything in writing.

585

Gongaware said it was because he didn’t have the answers.

586

Gongaware said he did not have concerns with MJ abusing prescription drugs.

587

It just confirmed what I believed, that he was fine. He wasn’t doing any drugs, Gongaware said about the results of Mj’s physical exam.

588

We needed to front all the money, Gongaware said. “He didn’t have the money, so he needed us to do it.”

589

AEG produced/promoted TII tour.

590

Tohme, MJ’s manager, told AEG about needing the money. Gongaware said Tohme emphasized several times that Michael needed to make money.

591

Gongaware said MJ and Ortega figured out the creative elements they wanted and Gongaware had to figure out how to make those them happen

592

Gongaware said the initial phase of rehearsal was done at Center Staging in Burbank, but venue didn’t have room for production elements.

593

They moved rehearsals to The Forum, which didn’t have high ceiling to hang the lights. Then they moved to Staples Center.

594

After the morning break, Gongaware said MJ chose “This Is It” tour as the name because it was going to be his last.

595

Gongaware said they weren’t sure how MJ tour would do. “Because of the kid thing, we wanted to go to the strongest market and that as London”

596

Gongaware: You never know what kind of business a tour will do. We had no idea the demand, we wanted to make sure it was successful.

597

Initially, they had 31 shows scheduled. Gongaware said Prince had done 21 shows at the O2 arena, and Michael wanted to do 10 more.

598

You didn’t know what the ticket sales would be, Gongaware said. So they announced only 10 shows to test the waters.

599

Demand was there obviously in the presale, Gongaware said. He talked to Tohme, asked for more than 50 shows. Tohme said MJ would do 50.

600

On March 5, 2009, MJ held a press conference in front of O2 arena and announced the comeback tour. Gongaware was present.

601

MJ was not on time, late a couple of hours. Gongaware said it didn’t surprise him since MJ didn’t like to do those things (press conference)

602

Gongaware was a little annoyed but not surprised, he testified,

603

MJ came up to me, gave me big hug, whispered in my ear ‘make sure the TelePrompTer has big words, I don’t have my glasses’ Gongaware said

604

Putnam: Did he seem inebriated?

605

G: No

606

P: Drunk?

607

Gongaware: No

608

P: Smelled like alcohol?

609

G: No

610

Gongaware thought the press was great. “The reaction of the press was really good, I think people liked he was returning.”

611

Gongaware said they asked people to register on a website and only people registered could get into the presale to purchase tickets.

612

He said that based on the response, they knew the tour was going to be a major successful.

613

One day after that, Gongaware said MJ called him to discuss the tour. He said Michael chose Kenny Ortega to direct the show.

614

MJ liked special effects, Gongaware said. He put together presentation for Michael with latest effects and made MJ promise he would show up.

615

Demonstration was on 3/16/09 at Sony Studios. It had 3D on LED that was never done before, pyro and new type of flame.

616

Putnam showed clip of TII documentary where they have the pyro effects that were going to be used.

617

Jackson loved it, Gongaware said, adding MJ didn’t seem to be bothered with pyro usage.

618

Gongaware said there was a pretty cool water fountain effect shown and not used. “It was messy,” he described.

619

In the demonstratiin, MJ was great, Gongaware said. “He was really engaged, as he saw all the effects he got really excited.”

620

Gongaware said he had no concern MJ had drug problems, didn’t seem slow or lethargic in March of 2009.

621

A meeting was scheduled for March 17, 2009. Gongaware emailed MJ’s assistant that only MJ and Kenny Ortega should be in that meeting.

622

MJ and Ortega were the creative forces and needed to find the show’s path before including everyone else, Gongaware explained.

623

Regarding Kenny Ortega watching out for MJ’s health, Gongaware said no one at AEG asked him to do that.

624

Gongaware thought Ortega watched MJ out because they were friends and worked together.

625

Judge then adjourned trial until Monday. We ended up having only the morning session. Gongaware expected on the stand Monday and Tuesday.

626

Gongaware will join The Rolling Stones tour this weekend, but will return on Monday to resume testifying.

627

Today at 4 pm PT on @ABC7 Eyewitness News, we’ll show an interview w/ Jackson’s attorney, Brian Panish, reacting to Gongaware’s testimony.

628

You can watch the story on http://www.abc7.com  as well. Hope you have a great weekend and see you on Monday!

Michael Jackson lost $26 million on HIStory tour’s 1st leg, exec says

By Jeff Gottlieb

May 31, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

Michael Jackson lost $26 million on the first leg of the HIStory tour in the mid-1990s and was in debt for sound, lighting and other expenses, according to testimony Friday in the wrongful death suit his family has filed.

Paul Gongaware, now co-CEO of AEG Live/Live Nation, testified he was brought as tour executive for the 40 concerts that made up the second leg of the world tour.

“I had to go in and cut a lot of expenses,” Gongaware said. “There was so much excess.”

Gongaware said HIStory, at the time considered one of the most ambitious tours ever, eventually broke even.

He said Jackson’s performances were “sensational” and he saw no evidence the singer was using drugs. Gongaware did not start working for AEG until 2000, when the entertainment firm bought his company, Live Nation.

Gongaware is a defendant in the wrongful suit filed by Jackson’s mother and children against AEG. The Jacksons allege that AEG negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the singer in 2009.

AEG contends that it was Jackson who hired Murray and that any money the firm was supposed to pay the doctor was merely part of a much larger cash advance to the singer.

Gongaware, in his fourth day on the stand, also testified that in 2008 Jackson met in CenturyCity with Colony Capital, a group of investors, that held the mortgage on Jackson’s Neverland ranch, which was threatened with foreclosure.

“Whoever held the note before … was about to foreclose on Neverland and Colony came in, I think at last-minute, and took on that obligation,” Gongaware said.

He said Colony was trying to figure out a way to hold a Jackson exhibit or museum at the Las Vegas Hilton, which the firm owned. But nothing came of the discussions.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-jackson-history-tour-20130531,0,3121700.story

The story told by Gongaware about the way they set 50 shows is false but I am still providing it here just for the record:

‘This Is It’ was to be Michael Jackson’s final tour, AEG exec says

By Jeff Gottlieb

May 31, 2013, 2:03 p.m.

The “This Is It” concert series in London — which was to have earned Michael Jackson millions and served as a triumphant comeback — was to be the performer’s final tour, a ranking concert promoter testified Friday.

Paul Gongaware, co-CEO of AEG Live and Concerts West, which was producing and promoting the concerts, said the English capital was chosen for the shows because of Jackson’s enormous popularity there. During a previous tour, Jackson had sold out 10 shows at the 75,000-seat capacity Wembley Stadium, Gongaware testified.

The plan originally was for 10 shows, but it was bumped up to 31 and then 50 because of the enormous ticket demand, the AEG executive testified in a wrongful-death case filed by Jackson’s mother and children.

Gongaware said he would have liked Jackson to have given even more performances at AEG’s O2 Arena.

He said that at one point Jackson decided to do 31 because Prince had performed 21 concerts at O2.

Gongaware’s recollection of events surrounding Jackson’s London news conference announcing his first tour in more than a decade give a different perspective than the worried emails his boss sent at that time.

Gongaware said he was annoyed but not surprised when Jackson showed up a couple hours late.

“Michael really doesn’t like to do those things,” Gongaware testified. “His schedules don’t always run like clockwork.”

The tour announcement took place at the O2. When Jackson saw Gongaware backstage, “he came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, ‘Make sure the teleprompter has big words. I don’t have my glasses.’”

Gongaware said Jackson did not smell of alcohol or appear drunk.

“He was good,” the AEG executive testified. “I think he was excited.”

But emails from Randy Phillips, AEG Live’s chief executive and president, tell a different version. “MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent,” Phillips wrote. “I [am] trying to sober him up.

“I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking,” Phillips told him. “He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is showtime.”

In a previous interview with The Times, AEG attorney Marvin Putnam said Phillips had exaggerated in his emails and that Jackson’s behavior appeared to be a case of “nerves.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-michael-jacksons-final-tour-20130531,0,71031

Alan Duke sums up:

Promoter grilled about ‘smoking gun’ e-mail in Michael Jackson death trial

By Alan Duke, CNN

May 30, 2013 — Updated 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)

Los Angeles (CNN) — The phrase most spoken by AEG Live’s co-CEO during his testimony in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial was: “I don’t recall.”

Paul Gongaware, who was in charge of producing and promoting Jackson’s ill-fated comeback concerts, testified this week that he couldn’t remember sending key e-mails or approving budgets that included $150,000 a month for Dr. Conrad Murray.

Gongaware also denied thinking that Jackson’s health was frail in the last days of his life, despite e-mails from others in the production suggesting the singer needed help.

Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG Live, contending the concert promoter is liable in the pop icon’s death because it negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray.

AEG’s lawyers argue it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray — and their company only dealt with Murray because Jackson demanded they pay for him to be his “This Is It” tour doctor.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s drug overdose death and he is serving a prison sentence.

Gongaware seemed to dance around some questions like Jackson doing a “Moonwalk,” including when he explained an e-mail to his boss’ assistant in which he said he was having nightmares and cold sweats about the concerts.

It was not an admission that he was concerned about Jackson’s ability to do the show, he said. “It was just playing around, joking,” with AEG President Tim Leiweke’s assistant, Carla Garcia, he testified.

“Carla is an absolute babe and I was just chatting her up,” he said.

While that testimony drew laughter in the court, it was unclear how jurors and the female judge viewed it, because Gongaware also acknowledged his girlfriend worked at AEG.

Gongaware’s repetition of “I don’t recall” several dozen times under questioning by Jackson lawyer Brian Panish eventually drew laughs from jurors, including when Panish began answering for him with that phrase.

The ‘smoking gun’

Panish questioned Gongaware about an e-mail Jackson’s lawyers call the “smoking gun,” which they argue shows AEG Live executives used Murray’s fear of losing his lucrative job as Jackson’s personal physician to pressure him to have Jackson ready for rehearsals despite his fragile health.

Show director Kenny Ortega e-mailed Gongaware 11 days before Jackson’s death expressing concerns that Murray had kept Jackson from a rehearsal the day before. Ortega also raised his own concerns about Jackson’s health. Gongaware testified on Wednesday that he thought Ortega was “over-reacting.”

His e-mail reply to Ortega read: “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.” Gongaware, in a video deposition played in court on the first day of the trial, said he could not remember writing the e-mail.

Panish on Wednesday played for jurors a section of Gongaware’s deposition, recorded in December, in which Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle questioned him about what he meant when he wrote to Ortega, “We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary.”

Boyle: “Based on the assumptions that AEG is your company and MJ is Michael Jackson, do you have an understanding of what that means?”

Gongaware: “No, I don’t understand it, because we weren’t paying his salary.”

Boyle: “So why would you write that?”

Gongaware: “I have no idea.”

Boyle: “Now, let’s go on to the next sentence. When you say ‘his salary,’ who are you talking about?”

Gongaware: “I don’t know.”

Boyle: “Oh, but how do you know you weren’t paying his salary if you don’t know who we’re talking about?”

Gongaware: “I don’t remember this e-mail.”

Boyle: “Didn’t you just testify that ‘we weren’t paying his salary’?”

Gongaware: “AEG?”

Boyle: “Yes. No. You just testified ‘we weren’t paying his salary.’ You just testified to that a few seconds ago, right?”

Gongaware: “I guess.”

Boyle: “Well, whose salary were you referring to? Dr. Murray?”

Gongaware: “Yes.”

After Gongaware began recalling in court Wednesday what he meant in the e-mail, Panish suggested it may be a case of “repressed memories” where “someone doesn’t remember something for three or four years.”

“You didn’t have any psychotherapy to remember what you wrote here?” Panish asked. “You didn’t like get put to sleep? (Judge Yvette Palazuelos injected: “Hypnotized?”) to see if you remembered this?

“No,” Gongaware answered.

The Elvis connection

Gongaware’s career as a concert promoter started with Elvis Presley’s last tour. He testified that he met Jackson when he was with Presley manager Col. Tom Parker in Las Vegas.

Elvis’ name came up in the trial on Tuesday as Panish questioned Gongaware about his knowledge of drug use during concert tours. He should have been able to recognize red flags signaling Jackson’s drug use because of his experience with Presley and his time as Jackson’s tour manager in the 1990s, the Jacksons contend.

An e-mail to a friend two weeks after Jackson’s death supports their argument, the Jackson lawyers contend.

“I was working on the Elvis tour when he died so I kind of knew what to expect,” Gongaware wrote. “Still quite a shock.”

AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam later told reporters that Gongaware was referring to the public reaction to Jackson’s death, not saying he expected Jackson would meet the same fate as Presley.

Presley collapsed in the bathroom of his Memphis, Tennessee, mansion — Graceland — on August 16, 1977, at age 42. While his death was ruled the result of an irregular heartbeat, the autopsy report was sealed amid accusations that the abuse of prescription drugs caused the problem.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50. The coroner ruled his death was caused by a fatal combination of sedatives and the surgical anesthetic propofol. Murray told investigators he gave Jackson nightly infusions of propofol to treat his insomnia. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to four years in prison and stripped of his medical license.

Gongaware — who has worked as a tour promoter for 37 years for bands including Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead and many others — testified that the only artist he ever knew who was using drugs on tour was Rick James.

Gongaware is currently the tour manager for the Rolling Stones North American tour.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/29/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/

This will hopefully give us some idea of what was going on at the AEG trial on Week 5.

And I am off to read the full transcripts which recently appeared on TeamMichaelJackson. The team provided me with the Word versions so hopefully things will be easier now! Thank God we have such an opportunity!

*  *  *

The heroic TeamMichaelJackson has posted all transcripts for the week. Please help them to buy more: http://teammichaeljackson.com/archives/8530

Paul Gongaware May 28, 2013

(great picture by they way)

View this document on Scribd

Paul Gongaware May 29, 2013

(see what constant lying for AEG does to people – previously he looked more honest)

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 Paul Gongaware May 30, 2013

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Paul Gongaware May 31, 2013

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2013 5:53 am

    VMJ, thre was a great diagram of the “family” in regard to the allegations.Could we have one done on the many people involved in the civil trial against AEG?- And Loopside man, you are good at timelines. Real or false.There is no reason to believe anything told about the morning 6 am to 13:00 on 6.25 2009. I never believed “the 2 minutes” by Murray, it was just so convenient, poor doc had only missed 2 minutes of observing Michael.

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  2. June 4, 2013 3:30 am

    “The last days I was distracted by the flood situation here, we had a dramatic night from Saturday to Sunday, but thank God it stopped raining yesterday where I live. Now I have a lot to read, I’m glad you do these great summaries with the most important points and I will read everything.”

    Susanne, I am very sorry to hear about the flood. These are the signals from high above that we’ve been neglecting for too long.

    “Gongaware now suddenly claims that he never expected Michael to come to rehearsals. But what is conspicuous to me is that they now also try to shift the blame on each other. In some points Gongaware said that he didn’t agree with Randy Phillips, today he made K. Ortega responsible for the rehearsals and the schedule.”

    They may not be even shifting the blame upon each other. Gongaware really knew Michael (in contrast to Randy Phillips) and knew that as soon as the lights went down Michael would make the show no matter what. And he also knew that it was Michael’s style not to do much rehearsing when preparing for the previous tours – he was sparing his energy for the concerts. So he knew that Randy Phillips’ demands to Michael were excessive, but chose not to interfere and didn’t care what they were doing to him.

    And now he is more or less saying what he thought all along – that others should not have been pushing Michael into those rehearsals. I think that each of those AEG people had his own perception of the situation, but only some dominated over the others. Probably Randy Phillips and Tim Leiweke dominated. I am intrigued why Tim Leiweke was fired and why not a single AEG boss knows why he was.

    Gongaware is also aware that Michael was to work too hard in the tour, otherwise he wouldn’t have meddled with the calendar and different coloring of the dates so that “he doesn’t notice that he has to work too much”. It seems to me that the guilt of these AEG bosses varies from simple indifference (like Gongaware’s) to outright bullying (like that of Randy Phillips’).

    P.S. Now that I’ve written it I recall that it was Gongaware who shouted over the telephone to Michael’s bodyguard to get the key to the bathroom and take him to a rehearsal no matter what it takes. No, all of them are the same.

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  3. Angie permalink
    June 4, 2013 12:09 am

    Good job Helena. Keep up the good work. All of us appreciate you so much. When we can’t find information any where else, we can find it here. Again, thank you🙂

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  4. June 3, 2013 3:57 pm

    Thank you for your hard work, Helena. The last days I was distracted by the flood situation here, we had a dramatic night from Saturday to Sunday, but thank God it stopped raining yesterday where I live. Now I have a lot to read, I’m glad you do these great summaries with the most important points and I will read everything.
    Apparently now AEG tries some kind of damage mitigation in the cross examination of Gongaware. For example Gongaware now suddenly claims that he never expected Michael to come to rehearsals. But what is conspicuous to me is that they now also try to shift the blame on each other. In some points Gongaware said that he didn’t agree with Randy Phillips, today he made K. Ortega responsible for the rehearsals and the schedule. I think they all are no friends anymore and won’t probably talk with each other anymore when this is over. It will damage AEG Live either way.

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  5. Lopsided man permalink
    June 3, 2013 1:25 pm

    Re: Insurance-6/25 timeline :see my comment:

    vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/news-summary-for-the-aeg-trial-week-4/#comment-45428

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