“He started saying he wanted more and I said, ‘The offer is coming directly from the artist,” Gongaware said.
Minutes later, he said Murray accepted.
“Did that seem desperate to you?” asked Panish.
“No,” said Gongaware. “He just accepted Michael’s offer.”
During Tuesday’s court session, Katherine Jackson was accompanied to court by her singing star daughter Janet who sat beside her for the first half of the day. Later, her sister, Rebbie took the seat.
Gongaware often pleaded poor memory of events. He said he may have met with Jackson as many as 10 times, but could remember only two of the meetings and only one when Murray was present.
Prodded by Panish, he remembered a meeting at which Jackson arrived late from a doctor’s appointment and had slurred speech.
“He was a bit off,” he said, “that was the only time I saw him like that.”
At the heart of the case is who hired Murray. At first, Gongaware insisted he did no negotiating with Murray, but, confronted with emails and his previous testimony, he changed his position and said, “The only thing I did with Dr. Murray was negotiate a price.”
He indicated that he was so shocked by Murray’s demand that he consulted a doctor friend to see what he would charge for the same job. The other doctor said he would have gone on tour for $10,000 a week.
“Did you ever convey that to Michael Jackson?” asked Panish.
“I don’t recall,” said Gongaware whose testimony was peppered with that phrase.
According to Katherine Jackson’s lawyers, Janet Jackson attended just to see Gongaware testify.