By Jeff Gottlieb
6:24 PM EDT, June 3, 2013
An AEG executive testified Monday in the Michael Jackson wrongful death civil trial that he offered Dr. Conrad Murray $150,000 a month on the singer's instructions to serve as his personal physician on the "This Is It" concert series in London.
Murray originally asked for a total of $5 million, which Paul Gongaware testified was ridiculous.
When Gongaware later made the $150,000-a-month offer, Murray at first turned him down.
"I told him the offer comes directly from the artist," Gongaware testified. "He accepted it right away."
Murray said he needed an assistant, a house in London with at least three bedrooms and medical equipment. Murray also said he would take care of getting a license to practice medicine in Britain.
Gongaware wrote a May 6, 2009, email to Jackson's assistant after cutting the deal with Murray: “done at $150k per month, per MJ. He needs about 10 days to wind down his practice then he will be full time.”
Gongaware said the email was a message to Jackson "that I had done what he asked."
Asked why he had negotiated with Murray, the AEG executive replied that he was "instructed to by Michael Jackson."
Gongaware said there was no other reason for him to deal with the doctor.
Marvin Putnam, Anschutz Entertainment Group's attorney, asked Gongaware why he didn't tell Jackson he couldn't take Murray on tour with him.
"Because he could if he wanted," Gongaware said.
Jackson's mother and three children are suing AEG, Gongaware and AEG executive Randy Phillips, alleging they negligently hired and supervised Murray, who administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the singer. AEG contends that Jackson hired the doctor and any payments the company was supposed to give Murray were advances that Jackson had to repay.
Murray is serving time in jail for involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died June 25, 2009, at a time when he was in rehearsals for the 50 concerts in London.
Gongaware insisted in his testimony that AEG was not paying Murray.
An AEG executive previously testified that negotiations over Murray's deal were between the doctor and AEG and that neither Jackson nor his representatives were involved nor saw any of the drafts.
Parts of Gongaware's testimony differ from a June 14, 2009, email he wrote to tour director Kenny Ortega about Murray that is one of the key pieces of evidence.
“We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary. We want him to understand what is expected of him."
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