LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of AEG Live told a jury on Tuesday that he believes a lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson‘s mother against the concert promotion company was a baseless extortion attempt.
CEO Randy Phillips also said the company bears no responsibility for Jackson’s 2009 death, as his mother contends.
Katherine Jackson is suing AEG Live LLC, claiming it failed to properly investigate the doctor who was later convicted of her son’s death. AEG denies wrongdoing.
Phillips said he agreed with statements attributed to him and defense attorney Marvin S. Putnam that the case was a shakedown.
“Yes or no, answer? Yes,” Phillips said in response to a question by Katherine Jackson’s attorney Brian Panish.
Phillips is the highest-ranking AEG executive to testify in the case, now in its sixth week.
He will likely be asked about numerous emails he sent and received about Jackson’s health in the final weeks of the superstar’s life, as well as any interactions he had with former cardiologist Conrad Murray.
Murray agreed to serve as Jackson’s doctor for $150,000 a month while he performed 50 shows titled “This Is It” in London’s 02 Arena in 2009 and early 2010.
AEG denies hiring Murray and agreeing to pay Murray’s fee as an advance to Jackson.
Phillips’ testimony came after several days of often tense testimony from AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware, who told jurors he did not remember numerous details about Jackson’s rehearsals and emails he sent about the singer.
Panish sparred with Gongaware, and pointedly questioned Phillips, whom he called to the stand as a hostile witness.
Panish asked Phillips whether he was eager to tell his side of the story.
“I believe you called me as a witness, so I’m here,” Phillips said flatly.
Panish at one point asked the executive whether he was familiar with the music industry.
“Familiar with the music industry? I was working in it,” Phillips replied.
At another point in his testimony when the executive appeared to crack a smile, Panish asked if he thought the proceedings were funny.
“No, I think it’s tragic.” Phillips replied.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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