Jackson concert director worked without contract
FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, Michael Jackson announces several concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, at a press conference at the London O2 Arena. An AEG Live accounting executive testified Monday, May 20, 2013, in a Los Angeles courtroom that the company spent $24 million on preparations for Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” shows, however never paid the singer’s personal doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter because a fully-signed agreement was never obtained. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's doctor was not the only person working on the singer's ill-fated "This Is It" tour without a fully executed contract, a corporate attorney for concert promoter AEG Live LLC testified Monday.
The tour's director Kenny Ortega was being paid based on an agreement laid out solely in emails, AEG General Counsel Shawn Trell told jurors.
Jackson's mother is trying to show AEG was negligent in hiring Conrad Murray, the doctor who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's June 2009 death.
Katherine Jackson claims AEG failed to properly investigate Murray before hiring him to serve as her son's tour physician, and that the company missed or ignored red flags about the singer's health before his death. AEG denies it hired Murray.
In court, attorneys for Katherine Jackson displayed emails sent a month before the death of her son in which Murray's contract terms were laid out.
Trell said those emails did not demonstrate an employment relationship — a key element of the case that will be decided by a jury of six men and six women.
Trell acknowledged, however, that Ortega was paid for his work on the shows despite working under terms laid out only in a series of emails.
"Kenny Ortega is different from Conrad Murray," Trell testified.
Michael Jackson died before signing a $150,000 a month contract for Murray to serve as his doctor on the "This Is It" tour. AEG's attorneys say Jackson's signature was required to finalize Murrays' contract.
FILE - In this June 23, 2009 handout photo provided by AEG, pop star Michael Jackson rehearses at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. An AEG Live accounting executive testified Monday, May 20, 2013, in a Los Angeles courtroom that the company spent $24 million on preparations for Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” shows, however never paid the singer’s personal doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter because a fully-signed agreement was never obtained. (AP Photo/ Kevin Mazur, AEG/Getty Images, File) ** NO SALES, ARCHIVE OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT **
An email displayed in court showed Murray's contract terms. Other documents indicated AEG budgeted $300,000 to pay Murray for his work with Jackson in May and June of 2009.
Another email said executive Paul Gongaware informed others that Murray would be "full time" on the tour by mid-May.
Plaintiff's attorney Brian Panish asked Trell to agree with a statement that Murray was working for AEG.
"I would totally disagree with that statement," Trell said, noting that Ortega and Murray were considered independent contractors.
Trell was the second AEG executive to testify in the trial, which is entering its fourth week. AEG attorneys have yet to question him.