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Dr. Conrad Murray Pressured Into Making Exhausted Michael Jackson Perform

Conrad Murray

As a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s mother and children against concert promoter AEG Live moves toward a jury trial, Jackson’s lawyers have presented what they say is a “smoking gun” email.

According to CNN, less than two weeks before Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death, AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote an e-mail suggesting the company wanted to use the $150,000 monthly salary of Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, to pressure him into letting Jackson rehearse despite medical concerns. “We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary,” CNN quotes Gongaware as writing (CNN doesn’t say to whom). “We want to remind him what is expected of him.”

Murray is currently serving a prison sentence for his conviction of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death. AEG Live reportedly argues that it isn’t liable for Jackson’s death because Murray didn’t work for the company. The lawsuit against AEG Live seeks money equaling what Jackson might’ve earned over his lifetime if he hadn’t died, an amount that could total several billion dollars. Previously disclosed emails from AEG executives show concerns about Jackson’s health.

A judge ruled last week there’s enough evidence Murray worked for AEG Live to merit a jury trial. Jackson’s legacy has been showing up in stranger places than courtrooms recently: Cirque du Soleil reportedly has another Las Vegas show based on Jackson in the works. And Jackson’s eldest son, Prince Michael Jackson, appeared as a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight.