But two doctors testified that they told Gongaware about Jackson's abuse of painkillers and his insomnia during tours in the 1990s, when the AEG Live executive served as tour manager. Jackson lawyers argue Gongaware, who was the top producer on the new tour, should have known that Jackson could suffer the same problems in 2009.
The deterioration of Jackson's health over the two months he was being treated by Murray was a red flag that there was a problem, but AEG Live executives negligently ignored the warning, Jackson lawyers argue. By June 19, he was frail, suffering chills, unable to do his trademark dances and paranoid, according to testimony.
"Everyone believed at the time that a 50-year-old man, who hadn't performed in a decade was tired, out of shape and very nervous," Putnam argued Wednesday. "That's what they believed at the time and it makes sense."
AEG Live can avoid a negative verdict if is able able to convince at least 4 of 12 jurors that it did not hire Murray. It is the first of 16 questions on the jury verdict form. If jurors answer it with a "no" -- that AEG Live did not hire the doctor -- they would end their deliberations and the trial.
An AEG Live lawyer e-mailed an employment contract to Murray on the morning of June 24, 2009. Murray signed it and faxed it back to the company that day. But the signature line for AEG Live's CEO and Michael Jackson were never signed since Jackson died the next day.
Putnam will point to those blank signature lines as evidence that Murray was never hired by his client. There were negotiations with Murray, but he was never paid, the AEG Live lawyer argues.
Panish, the lead Jackson lawyer, told jurors Tuesday that all the elements of an oral contract -- "just as valid as a written contract" -- were in place when Jackson died.
Murray had been treating Jackson for two months and the written contract stated that his start day was May 1, 2009. A series of e-mail exchanges involving Murray and AEG Live executives and lawyers supported his argument, Panish said.
Blame and damages
If the jury concludes AEG Live has liability, it would have to decide how much the company should pay in economic and personal damages to Jackson's mother and children. They can use estimates of Jackson's "lost earnings capacity" -- the amount of money he could reasonably be expected to have earned if he had lived -- to guide them.
AEG Live expert Eric Briggs testified it was "speculative" that Jackson would have even completed another tour because of his drug use, damaged reputation and history of failed projects. He suggested the star may never have earned another dime.
Putnam's closing argument about damages must overcome the impression left on jurors Tuesday when Panish played a video montage of Jackson performances.
"That is, I think, the best evidence of if Michael Jackson could have sold tickets -- not what Mr. Briggs would tell you," Panish told jurors.
Panish suggested jurors pick a number between $900 million and $1.6 billion for economic damages. They should add on another $290 million for non-economic damages -- or personal damages, he said.
Putnam argued that the number, if the jury finds AEG Live liable, should be closer to $21 million, the amount of money AEG Live's expert calculated Jackson would have given his mother and three children over the next 16 years. He couldn't have given them more because he was had a $400 million debt that ws getting deeper, he said.
"If Mr. Jackson had lived, it's hard to see how he would ever have dug himself out of that whole," Putnam said.
The last question on the verdict form asks jurors to assign a percentage that they believe represents Michael Jackson's share of blame in his death. The total damages owed by AEG Live would be reduced by that percentage.
Panish will have two hours to rebut Putnam's arguments before jury deliberations begin later Thursday.