Day two of testimony in the manslaughter trial of former Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray featured more damning revelations from MJ’s personal assistant and head of security, as well as employees of AEG Live, the firm that was promoting the singer’s 50-show This Is It attempted comeback tour.
Among the revelations Wednesday (September 28), an attorney for AEG Live, Kathy Jorrie, described the contract she wrote up between AEG, Murray and Jackson. The document specified that Murray was to be paid a $150,000-a-month retainer, even when This Is It was on hiatus, and that the cardiologist requested a CPR machine for Jackson during the run of the shows in London.
As for why he needed a machine used for resuscitation, TMZ reported that Murray claimed he didn’t want to take chances given MJ’s age (50) and the strenuous nature of the show. Jorrie also said that in a conversation with Murray on June 24, 2009 — the day before Jackson’s death — the doctor said he’d seen his client perform and that he appeared to be in “perfect” health.
She also confirmed that the contract — drafted 10 days before Jackson’s death — had never been signed by any of the parties and that it contained revisions requested by Murray, including retroactive pay dating back to May 2009 through March 2010 and a clause exempting him from refunding any of his monthly retainer if Jackson changed his mind or canceled the tour.
In an effort to lay out the timeline of events on the day of Jackson’s death, prosecutors called the pop icon’s personal assistant, Michael Amir Williams, who discussed a panicked voicemail he received from Murray. After watching an “amazing” rehearsal the night before, Williams said he picked up an urgent voicemail from Murray the next day at 12:13 p.m. asking him to call back right away to discuss a “bad reaction” MJ had.
When Williams arrived at Jackson’s rented Beverly Hills estate, the first thing he saw was his boss on a gurney and a “frantic-looking Murray, who, after Jackson was pronounced dead, confided to Williams that there was some “cream Michael wouldn’t want the world to know about” at the house. Williams drove Murray back to the mansion to retrieve the “cream,” and after checking with Jackson’s head of security, they let the doctor back into the house.
AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware was back on the stand again Wednesday, testifying that Murray had initially asked for the exorbitant sum of $5 million per year to take care of Jackson. When the singer insisted that he wanted Murray to take care of him, he instructed Gongaware to call back and offer $150,000 a month.
The final witness to testify Wednesday was Jackson’s head of security, Faheem Muhammad, who described arriving on the scene to see Murray frantically trying to resuscitate the fallen pop star, while two of Jackson’s children, Paris and Prince, looked on. Muhammad said Jackson appeared to be dead when he arrived and that when he noticed the children in the room, he took them downstairs. Muhammad added that he heard Murray asking if anyone knew CPR, which prompted fellow bodyguard Alberto Alvarez to try to help.
On Tuesday, the opening day of the trial, in addition to disturbing photos of Jackson and a voicemail in which the singer’s speech was slurred and garbled, the jury heard from longtime friend and choreographer Kenny Ortega , who said he could tell something was not right with Jackson.
Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and administering the fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that caused Jackson’s death and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if found guilty.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff told the jury Tuesday that Jackson caused his own death by swallowing eight 2-milligram pills of the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam, as well as injecting himself with a dose of propofol that instantly killed him. Testimony in the trial continues Thursday.