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Judge admonishes testimony in MJ case

11 June 2013, 18:02

Los Angeles - The chief executive of concert promoter AEG Live LLC was told by a judge on Monday to answer questions posed by a lawyer for Michael Jackson's mother without arguing and that his demeanour might be hurting his case.

The comments by Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos came after testimony by CEO Randy Phillips that had been expected to last several hours stretched over four days.

Jurors were sent from the courtroom before the judge addressed Phillips, who has sparred with Katherine Jackson's attorney Brian Panish throughout his testimony. The lawyers have been repeatedly warned by the judge about the behaviour.

Briefly stopped the testimony

"Arguing with the lawyers isn't really going to help," Palazuelos told Phillips on Monday. "It's not going to help your case. It's not going to help anybody."

Phillips said Panish was repeatedly asking him questions about the same subject.

"I'm just trying not to say the wrong thing," Phillips said.

The admonition by the judge came after Panish asked Phillips about characterisations of Jackson's doctor that Phillips made in an e-mail sent five days before the singer died.

Phillips acknowledged that some of the statements - including that AEG Live had checked out Conrad Murray and that the former cardiologist didn't need the job - turned out not to be true.

When Panish asked if Phillips had acknowledged some of his statements to the director of Jackson's This Is It shows, the executive said: "Honestly, only to stop you from badgering me, yes."

Palazuelos briefly stopped the testimony and issued the warning.

AEG denies it hired Murray

Jessica Stebbins Bina, a defence attorney for AEG Live, said some of Panish's questions had been argumentative. The judge disagreed.

The lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson accuses AEG Live of failing to properly investigate Murray, who was later convicted of giving her son a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol.

AEG denies it hired Murray, and its attorneys have said Phillips and other executives could not have known that Jackson was taking the anaesthetic as a sleep aid.

- AP

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