Judge admonishes AEG Live CEO about testimony

Associated Press
FILE - In this July 2, 2009 file photo, AEG CEO Randy Phillips speaks to members of the media in Los Angeles. Phillips told jurors hearing a negligent hiring lawsuit filed against him and his company by Jackson’s mother that he did not believe the company was responsible for the King of Pop’s death and that he believed the case was a shakedown by the Jackson family during testimony on Tuesday June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
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FILE - In this July 2, 2009 file photo, AEG CEO Randy Phillips speaks to members of the media in Los Angeles. Phillips told jurors hearing a negligent hiring lawsuit filed against him and his company by Jackson’s mother that he did not believe the company was responsible for the King of Pop’s death and that he believed the case was a shakedown by the Jackson family during testimony on Tuesday June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 demeanor 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 behavior.

"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 characterizations of Jackson's doctor that Phillips made in an email 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.

Jessica Stebbins Bina, a defense 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 anesthetic propofol.

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

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at https://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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