LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney who drafted the agreement for Michael Jackson's doctor to work on his ill-fated comeback concerts testified Tuesday that she told a tour promotion executive that the physician appeared to be successful just days before the entertainer's death.
Kathy Jorrie, an independent attorney who has handled nearly 300 matters for AEG Live LLC, said she told the company's CEO that the physician was properly licensed during a conversation six days before Jackson died in June 2009. Jorrie said she also told the executive that former cardiologist Conrad Murray told her his medical clinics were earning more than $1 million a month.
Jorrie's comments to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips came the same day that Jackson showed up to rehearsals shivering and unable to practice, according to testimony in a negligent hiring case filed by Jackson's mother. Within hours of speaking with Jorrie, Phillips was fielding emails from tour workers describing Jackson's condition as deteriorating and expressing concerns about the singer's health.
In one of Phillips' emails to tour director Kenny Ortega the following day, the executive called Murray "extremely successful" and wrote that AEG Live had checked him out.
Jackson's mother is suing AEG Live, claiming the company did not properly investigate Murray. AEG denies any wrongdoing.
No background check was conducted on the former cardiologist, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to Jackson on June 25, 2009.
Jorrie testified Tuesday that she reviewed records that showed Murray's Nevada clinic had a valid license, the physician was licensed to practice medicine in four states and she searched his name on Google.
The attorney told jurors that she spoke to Murray about an agreement she drafted that would have paid him $150,000 a month to accompany Jackson to London for 50 concerts. She said she questioned the doctor about a request in the contract for CPR machines, but she was satisfied with his response that the singer's shows were strenuous and he needed lifesaving equipment nearby if there was an emergency.
Jorrie also told jurors she mistakenly left language in a contract that Murray signed that called for him to perform services "reasonably requested" by AEG Live.
She maintained throughout her testimony that Murray was Jackson's personal doctor and the language about him performing services for the promoter shouldn't have been in the agreement. Jackson's approval was required on the contract, but he died before signing it.
Katherine Jackson's attorneys claim AEG created a conflict of interest for Murray, who was deeply in debt before Jackson's death.
AEG Live's lawyers have told jurors that Jackson made the decision to hire Murray and requested the propofol treatments to help him sleep.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP