LOS ANGELES (AP) — A corporate attorney for AEG Live LLC says 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.
AEG General Counsel Shawn Trell told a Los Angeles jury on Monday that the tour's director Kenny Ortega was being paid based on an agreement laid out solely in emails.
Jackson's mother is trying to show AEG was negligent in hiring Conrad Murray, the doctor later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson's June 2009 death.
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.
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Documents prepared by a concert promoter that were detailed in court on Monday indicated the company had budgeted $150,000 a month for a doctor to treat Michael Jackson as he prepared and delivered a series of comeback shows.
However, Jackson died of an anesthetic overdose before he signed the agreement, and no payments were made to Dr. Conrad Murray by AEG Live LLC, testimony and the records show.
The documents were presented by lawyers for Katherine Jackson, the singer's mother as they attempt to show an employment relationship existed between Murray and AEG.
Katherine Jackson is suing AEG, claiming it was negligent in hiring Murray and that it missed numerous red flags about the singer's health before he died.
Murray was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter after he administered a fatal dose of a powerful anesthetic to the singer.
AEG denies it hired Murray and says it bears no liability for Jackson's death. Attorneys for the company have said Jackson concealed his addiction to propofol, the drug that killed him
Julie Hollander, a vice president and controller of event operations for AEG Live, testified Monday that Murray's contract was the only one she had ever seen that required approval by an artist for services on a tour.
She believed Jackson's signature was required because of the personal nature of the doctor's services.
In total, Murray was projected to receive $1.5 million in payments over the first few months of the "This Is It" shows.
Hollander was the first AEG executive to testify in the lawsuit. The company's general counsel Shawn Trell began testifying later in the day.
Panish questioned Trell about a July letter sent to Jackson's estate asking for more than $30 million in reimbursement, including $300,000 for Murray's services.
Trell said it was a mistake to include Murray's payments as production costs.
Hollander also testified that Jackson was responsible for 95 percent of production expenses if his comeback shows were canceled.
The budget documents showed the company had spent $24 million producing the concerts through October 2009, roughly three months after the singer's death. The production was more than $2 million over budget, the records show.
In recent years, AEG has received 10 percent of the proceeds from the film "This Is It" that was released after the death of Jackson.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP