The state calls Paul Gongaware as its next witness. Deputy DA Deborah Brazil conducts the exam.
Gongaware is CEO of AEG. He produces and promotes concert tours, has done so about 30 years. He had occasion to work with Jackson in the past, the first being the "Dangerous" tour, then the "History" tour. He was involved in the "This Is It" tour as well, as producer and promoter. Gongaware says that he interfaces between art and commerce. He says Jackson was very excited and a brilliant guy.
PG was not responsible for planning rehearsal schedule. He was, however, involved in the tour scheduling. Initially, there were 31 shows contracted by AEG and Jackson for the "This Is It" tour. Prince had done 21 shows at the O2, and Jackson wanted to do 10 more; hence, the 31 scheduled shows. PG says people registered online to buy tickets. They did an initial offering of 10 shows which sold out instantly, so they added more shows in that cycle. The 31 shows sold out instantly as tickets were put up for sale. There were still 250,000 people in queue to buy tickets after the 50th show's tickets sold out.
Brazil gives witness an 11-pg document, and he reviews it and identifies it as the schedule of the rehearsals and shows for London. It consists of calendars beginning in May. PG created the calendars. The witness identifies where rehearsals were calendared to take place and when.
In July 2009, there were to be 8 performance dates at O2 Arena and 5 rehearsal dates, with remainder of months being days off. In August, 10 shows and no rehearsals. In September, 9 shows and no rehearsals were scheduled for O2 Arena. No performances scheduled for Oct, Nov, Dec because the arena was booked by other performers. Jan 2010 - 10 performances and 3 rehearsals, with rest of the month being days off. Feb 2010 - 10 shows, no rehearsals. March 2010- 3 shows scheduled. On days with no performances, Jackson was free from performance/rehearsal obligations.
Rehearsals in May/June 2009 in LA. PG was present during rehearsals in Burbank. Had opportunity to interact with Jackson, who PG says was excited and wanted to work, seemed happy. Also interacted with Jackson when performances moved to The Forum, where he again found him to be very enthusiastic about working and performing. PG attended some meetings at Jackson residence. One particular instance, Jackson was late. He can't recall the date. PG came to find out Jackson was late because he'd been at the doctor. PG believes it was Dr. Klein. PG noticed Jackson was a bit off, speech slightly slurred when he arrived. Nonetheless, the planned meeting occurred and Jackson participated in it.
In May had discussion with Jackson about his wanting to hire Murray as a personal physician for the tour. PG didn't know Murray at all, but since they were going to London, he would've preferred to hire a London doctor who was familiar with the medical establishment there. Jackson told him, "This is a machine [referring to his body] and you have to take care of the machine."
So PG contacted Murray to try to make a deal with him. Murray wanted to participate. PG asked him what he wanted. Murray told him he had four clinics he had to close, would have to lay off people, and that he'd need $5 million per year to do that. PG told him there was no way that was going to happen, Michael couldn't afford it. PG felt he could obtain services of doctor in London for far less, so PG ended negotiations.
PG testifies that Jackson brought the matter up again. Jackson's assistant called PG, saying he wanted PG to hire Murray. He heard Jackson in the background saying, "Offer him $150k, offer him $150k." PG took this to mean per month and called Murray with that offer. Murray initially said he couldn't do it for that. He told Murray the offer came directly from the artist, and Murray immediately said, "I'll take it." Murray told him not to worry about the licensing in London, he'd take care of it. Said he would need equipment, an assistant, and housing for his family in London. PG then put the wheels in motion for Murray's contract to be drafted.
In early June 2009, PG attended meeting at Jackson's home. Ortega felt Michael wasn't where he needed to be in order to be engaged and prepared in time for opening date in London. PG says it's sort of like a football game, where you have to train and get ready, then kick it up ten notches when you hit the stage. Ortega felt Jackson wasn't where needed to be with it at that point in time. Meeting was to address that concern. Jackson, Ortega, Phillips, Dileo, PG and Murray were in attendance. Jackson wasn't defensive, knew they wanted to do what was best for him in preparing for the tour.
Purpose of meeting was to see what they could do for/give to Jackson to get him where he needed to be - eating habits, rehearsal habits, whole engagement process. Jackson was receptive. Murray was very engaged. He listened a lot and tried to understand situation, expressed that he did and knew what he needed to do to get Jackson ready.
Court is adjourned for the day. Jurors are released for the day and will reconvene Wednesday morning at 8:45am PT.
***Please note - since I have several upcoming obligations, I won't have the time to devote to this case as I devoted to the Anthony case. I wanted to get opening statements down for you, and I will blog or tweet other testimony as time allows. Thanks! :)