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NEW: AEG's decision is not connected with the e-mail controversy, it's lawyer says
E-mails leaked last week show concert promoters' doubts about Michael Jackson's health
A Lloyds of London underwriter insured Jackson's concert for $17.5 million
Jackson died two weeks before his London shows were set to begin
Los Angeles CNN —
AEG dropped its claim Monday for a $17.5 million insurance policy for Michael Jackson, just days after e-mails revealed the concert promoter had doubts about Jackson’s health at the time they were applying for the insurance.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam told CNN later Monday the move has been in the works for months and is not connected with the controversy over the e-mails.
A Lloyds of London underwriter sued AEG and Michael Jackson LLC after Jackson’s death, claiming they failed to disclose information about the pop star’s health and drug use.
“In exchange for AEG withdrawing its insurance claim, underwriters agreed to dismiss AEG from the case and to waive any costs recoverable from AEG,” said Paul Schrieffer, attorney for the insurance underwriter. “The insurance case continues against the Michael Jackson Company LLC for, among other things, rescission of the policy due to nondisclosures of Michael Jackson’s prior drug use.”
An e-mail from Phillips after that meeting said he had confidence in Murray “who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more.”
“This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig, so he (is) totally unbiased and ethical,” Phillips’ e-mail said.
A wrongful-death lawsuit, filed by Jackson’s mother and his three children, contends that AEG contributed to the pop star’s death by pressuring him to prepare even though the promoters knew he was in a weak condition and by its hiring and supervision of Dr. Murray.
“Defendants did not hire Dr. Murray nor were they responsible for the death of Michael Jackson,” AEG lawyer Putnam told CNN last week.
AEG’s lawyer accused Katherine Jackson, the children and their lawyers of leaking the emails to a reporter, in violation of a court order, despite a claim of responsibility by someone else.
Howard Mann, who partnered with Katherine Jackson on a book about her family, acknowledged to CNN last week that he gave the documents to Times reporter Harriet Ryan
Mann was involved in a bitter copyright dispute concerning that book with Jackson’s estate at the time he gave the reporter the documents, but the lawsuit was settled last week.
Mann said he obtained the documents from various sources, but none of them came from the Jacksons or their lawyers. Some of the documents were part of discovery in other cases, including the criminal trial of Murray, he said.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam, who said Tuesday that he had “unequivocal evidence” showing that Michael Jackson’s mother and her lawyers leaked the e-mails, has asked the judge in the wrongful-death suit to punish Katherine Jackson with fines and exclude the e-mails as evidence in the case.
“The documents released to the press were given to Mrs. Jackson and her attorneys – and to no one else – confidentially in discovery and subject to a court order,” Putnam said Tuesday.
On Thursday, he called it “convenient that Howard Mann – a longtime business partner of the Jackson family – has come forward in this fashion.”
AEG served a subpoena on Mann, ordering him to testify under oath about the source of the e-mails, on Friday, Putnam said.
“Whether these documents were leaked through an intermediary or directly by Mrs. Jackson and her counsel, this remains an egregious violation of the court’s order requiring immediate sanctions and an investigation,” the AEG lawyer said.
Putnam accused Jackson and her lawyers of leaking the documents – despite that their “publication hurts her son’s memory and her grandchildren more than anyone else” – because they “know they cannot win on the law and are losing control over the case.”
“After months of discovery, plaintiffs now know what we have known all along – there is nothing to support their claims,” the AEG lawyer said.
Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle said the admission by Mann that he was the source of the e-mails should settle the matter.
“He (Mann) definitely never received any documents from Katherine, Prince, Paris, or Blanket Jackson, nor from their lawyers in the wrongful death suit against AEG,” said Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle. Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson are Michael Jackson’s children.
Boyle criticized AEG’s lawyers for their haste in pointing the finger at the Jacksons.
“AEG made these accusations against the Jackson family and their lawyers apparently without doing even the most rudimentary investigation,” Boyle said. “We are further disturbed that the motion for sanctions filed by AEG was given to the press before it was served on Katherine Jackson or her counsel.”