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Email links promoter to Michael Jackson's death

world Updated: Mar 05, 2013 15:00 IST

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A "smoking gun" email that allegedly links concert promoter AEG Live to the 2009 death of Michael Jackson was revealed this week as a judge unsealed documents in the wrongful death lawsuit by Jackson's family.

The email exchange between AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware and Jackson's 'This Is It' show director Kenny Ortega suggests that Murray might have been pressured into using illegal means to force Jackson for rehearsals, according to CNN.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, just two weeks before his 50-date comeback concerts at the AEG-owned O2 Arena in London.

Expressing concerns over Jackson's missed rehearsal, Gongaware's email read: "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, calling it a "smoking gun" argue the email is evidence that AEG Live used Murray's fear of losing his $150,000-a-month job as singer's personal physician to pressure him to have Jackson ready for rehearsals despite his fragile health. Murray was in financial trouble at that time.

Popstar's children Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, along with their grandmother Katherine, claim that AEG Live's pressure on Murray led to Jackson's death due to an overdose of anesthetic drug propofol.

Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in November 2011 and is serving a four-year prison sentence. He has admitted to administering propofol to the singer to help him rest. The doctor and Jackson's eldest son Prince, 16, are on the witness list for a trial next month.

"Now that the court has ruled that there is evidence that it was foreseeable that AEG's actions resulted in Michael Jackson's death, the Jackson family feels vindicated from the public smear campaign that AEG has waged against them," said Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle.

"The truth about what happened to Michael, which AEG has tried to keep hidden from the public since the day Michael died, is finally emerging. We look forward to the trial where the rest of the story will come to light."

AEG Live claims that it has no liability in Jackson's death because Murray was not its employee.

If found liable, it could cost AEG several billion dollars.