A lawyer for the promoter of Michael Jackson’s final concerts today said the singer’s personal doctor asked the company for life-saving equipment just days before the pop superstar’s death.
Kathy Jorrie, who works for concert giant AEG Live, testified at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr Conrad Murray that she questioned some of the doctor’s requests, which also included the possibility of hiring a second doctor to assist him.
“Dr Murray told me Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition,” Ms Jorrie testified.
She said Murray told her not to worry about Jackson’s condition.
“He’s great,” she recounted the doctor telling her in a conversation the day before Jackson’s death.
Murray asked for a CPR machine in case one was not available at the concert venue at London’s O2 Arena, Ms Jorrie explained.
Prosecutors allege Murray caused Jackson’s death by providing him with a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol and other sedatives without the proper lifesaving equipment or skills.
Earlier in the day, a promoter told jurors that Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for the highly anticipated comeback concerts.
Paul Gongaware, an executive for AEG Live, said Jackson seemed engaged and energetic during the session just two days before he died.
Prosecutors called Mr Gongaware to show the importance of the concerts and in an apparent attempt to show that both the singer and his doctor were deeply engaged in preparations for the show before Jackson died on June 25, 2009.
Mr Gongaware also testified that he saw Murray at one of Jackson’s rehearsals after people affiliated with the planned concerts complained that the singer had been missing some of the sessions.
Prosecutors wrapped up their direct questioning of Mr Gongaware before defence lawyer Ed Chernoff briefly questioned the executive.
Under the cross-examination by Mr Chernoff, Mr Gongaware acknowledged AEG is being sued by Jackson’s mother for negligent supervision of Murray when he worked with Jackson.
Ms Jorrie also testified about drafting a contract for Murray to work as Jackson’s personal doctor.
At one point in negotiations, Murray requested his contract be modified to allow him to hire another doctor in case he was tired or unavailable while Jackson was performing in London, she testified.
“He wanted to make sure that there was somebody else available to be of assistance,” Ms Jorrie said.
Prosecutors also planned to call one of Jackson’s bodyguards and his personal assistant. Murray frantically called the assistant after he found the singer unconscious.
In opening statements yesterday, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said Murray delayed summoning emergency crews and lied to doctors and medics when he failed to reveal he had been giving Jackson the medications to try to help the entertainer sleep.
Mr Chernoff claimed Jackson gave himself a fatal dose of medication in a desperate attempt to get some sleep.
He said Murray had been trying to wean Jackson off propofol, but the entertainer kept requesting it on the day he died.
“Michael Jackson started begging,” Mr Chernoff said. “When Michael Jackson told Dr Murray, ’I have to sleep. They will cancel my performance,’ he meant it.”
Prosecutors rejected Murray’s version and told jurors the Houston-based cardiologist also had a tremendous stake in Jackson appearing in the concerts.
The doctor had initially asked to be paid five million US dollars (£3.2 million) a year for working with Jackson, but Mr Gongaware said he immediately rejected the proposal. Instead, Murray accepted an offer to become Jackson’s doctor for 150,000 dollars a month (£96,000) – a sum he was never paid because his contract had not been signed before Jackson’s death.
Murray has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and have to relinquish his medical licence.