AEG Live became involved with Murray only after Jackson had persuaded him to join his "tour party" for the "This Is It" concerts, Putnam said. "Then what happens is AEG starts to go back and forth with him and his attorney [and] Dr. Conrad Murray, with drafts of contracts."
Although Murray began treating Jackson six days a week in May 2009, it was only the night before Jackson's death that Murray signed a contract. AEG executives and Jackson never signed it, Putnam said. The Jackson lawyers will argue the signed contract was not necessary to establish employment.
The unsigned contract and the oral understanding with Murray called for the doctor to be paid $150,000 a month while he served as Jackson's personal physician as the pop star performed 50 shows at London's O2 Arena in the second half of 2009 and into 2010.
AEG's role was like MasterCard, lawyer says
AEG Live's role with Murray was only to "forward" money owed to him by Jackson, just as a patient would use their "MasterCard," Putnam said. "If you go to your doctor and you pay with a credit card, obviously MasterCard in that instance, depending on your credit card, is providing the money to that doctor for services until you pay it back. Now, are you telling them MasterCard in some measure in that instance, did MasterCard hire the doctor or did you? Well, clearly you did. I think the analogy works in this instance."
In fact, Putnam said, he learned during the discovery process that Michael Jackson was paying Murray during the last two months of his life.
"He was paying for him during his entire time in Los Angeles and during the time we're talking about, Dr. Conrad Murray was being paid by Michael Jackson," he said. "We know this. We know this because the plaintiffs have said so."
The revelation that Jackson paid Murray during that period has not been reported. Jackson lawyers declined to comment, citing ethical limitations to their ability to talk to the media about the case.
E-mails reveal AEG's involvement, Jacksons say
A cornerstone of the Jacksons' case is an e-mail AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote 11 days before Jackson's death. The e-mail to show director Kenny Ortega addressed concerns that Murray had kept Jackson from a rehearsal the day before: "We want to remind (Murray) that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him."
Jackson lawyers argue the e-mail is evidence that AEG Live used Murray's fear of losing his lucrative job as Jackson's personal physician to pressure him to have Jackson ready for rehearsals despite his fragile health.
The AEG Live lawyers say the Jackson lawyers have "taken it completely out of context." Gongaware and the others were only concerned with making sure Murray had all the help he needed, such as perhaps a physical therapist or a nutritionist for his patient, Putnam said.
"Not only was there no such pressure, there couldn't be in a professional relationship," Putnam said in his CNN interview. "To say that that was the case would say that a doctor in some measure was not abiding by his Hippocratic Oath. If there's a professional who's providing a service for you, others outside of that professional relationship may go to that person, as you might any doctor and say, 'Are you doing all the things necessary for Mr. Jackson?' That doesn't apply pressure or control."
Ortega, who had worked closely with Jackson on previous tours, sounded a loud warning about his health after Jackson showed up shivering at a rehearsal a little more than a week before his death. He wrote in an e-mail to AEG Live President Randy Phillips: "It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."
In the e-mail, which was disclosed during Ortega's testimony at Murray's criminal trial, the show director also said he was worried about "real emotional stuff" Jackson appeared to be dealing with. "Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated," he wrote. Ortega said Jackson had "strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior" and suggested they hire a "top psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP."
AEG Live worried about the flu, not drugs, lawyer says
The Ortega e-mail was not sounding an alarm about Jackson's health but just telling Phillips that Jackson was suffering "flulike symptoms," Putnam said.
"Mr. Jackson was not in a position to get up on the stage and do the rehearsal because he had flulike symptoms," Putnam said. "He was cold, he was shaky and as a result he didn't perform that evening."
"People were worried about that flu," so AEG Live executives called a meeting with Jackson and Murray the next day at Jackson's home to discuss it, he said.
"So Mr. Phillips went to that meeting at Mr. Jackson's home, that would be on the 20th of June, that's five days before Mr. Jackson passed," Putnam said. "And they got there, and Mr. Jackson was emphatic about the idea that he was great. 'You guys are all worrying about nothing. Look at me. I am fine.'"
Phillips sent Ortega a glowing endorsement of Murray: "This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical."
The flu scare was one of only "a couple of occasions" that AEG Live's president had to be concerned about Jackson's health, Putnam said.
Other than "little instances like that," there "was nothing that ultimately gave rise any time before Mr. Jackson's death that there was any problem with Mr. Jackson," he said.
AEG Live would not have rushed Jackson, lawyer says
If there had been a health problem with Jackson, AEG Live would have had no problem postponing the start of the tour, Putnam said.