AEG denies pushing Jackson to rehearse

2013-06-04 16:08
Los Angeles - A promoter denied on Monday that he pushed Michael Jackson to rehearse for his ill-fated comeback concerts, refuting testimony by the singer's longtime makeup artist and stylist.

Paul Gongaware of AEG Live LLC said he never told Jackson's assistant to get the pop star out of a locked bathroom and to a rehearsal, an incident described to jurors by makeup artist Karen Faye.

"Never, never happened," Gongaware said.

Faye testified last month that she overhead Gongaware tell Jackson's assistant to do "whatever it takes" to get the Thriller singer to a rehearsal. She described Gongaware as sounding "angry and kind of desperate".

Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, is suing AEG Live, claiming it failed to properly investigate the physician convicted of administering an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol to her son. Jackson died from an overdose of it in June 2009.

'I just expect doctors to be ethical'

AEG denies it hired Conrad Murray or could have known that Murray was giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid.

Gongaware also said he was mistaken when he wrote in an e-mail that his company was paying for Murray. He said AEG agreed to advance Murray's $150 000 a month fee to Jackson, but the costs would have come out of the singer's share of This Is It earnings.

He said he never instructed Murray on how to care for the singer and never considered doing a background check on the doctor.

Murray had several liens and child support judgments and was facing foreclosure before agreeing to work with Jackson.

"I just expect doctors to be ethical," Gongaware said. "Their financial side of their life shouldn't affect their medical judgment."

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips is expected to testify later this week.