AEG Live’s dealings with Michael Jackson’s doctor were “highly inappropriate”, music industry expert David Berman has told a US court.
Michael Jackson died in 2009 following an overdose of a powerful anaesthetic administered by Dr. Conrad Murray.
Conrad Murray, hired ahead of Michael Jackson’s comeback shows in London, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine, is suing AEG Live for $40 billion. The company have denied any wrongdoing.
The Jackson family claim AEG Live failed to properly investigate Conrad Murray and missed warning signs about the singer’s health.
David Berman, a former head of Capitol records, is testifying for Katherine Jackson during the on-going case in Los Angeles.
Asked whether it was appropriate for the concert company to attempt to hire a doctor on the singer’s behalf, David Berman said: “I believe that it’s highly inappropriate. It is highly unusual.”
He added that a more appropriate relationship would have been for Michael Jackson to hire cardiologist Conrad Murray without any involvement from AEG Live.
David Berman said that after viewing draft contracts and emails between AEG company executives, he believed AEG Live thought it controlled the physician.
He also said the company should not have negotiated with Conrad Murray without notifying Michael Jackson’s representatives.
The experienced executive, who worked with acts such as The Eagles, The Beach Boys and The Doors, is being paid $500 an hour to testify for Katherine Jackson.
David Berman retired from the music industry in 2001 to become an expert witness for music industry-related lawsuits.
AEG’s lawyers have objected to David Berman’s expertise, pointing out he has never been a tour producer or promoter.
An AEG lawyer showed David Berman a statement signed by Michael Jackson’s former manager, Frank Dileo, stating that he was aware of negotiations with Conrad Murray, and that it was his understanding that AEG Live’s CEO objected to bringing the physician on tour.
AEG have yet to question David Berman in court.
The company denies it hired Conrad Murray. The company’s executives and lawyers have said that AEG was merely advancing Michael Jackson the money to pay Conrad Murray, and a valid contract never existed.
Its executives have also stated that it agreed to pay Conrad Murray’s salary only because Michael Jackson insisted on him coming on tour.