AEG Exec Testifies He Knew Jackson Was Taking Painkillers

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LOS ANGELES — A high-ranking AEG executive testified Tuesday that he had known for years that Michael Jackson was taking painkillers but wasn’t aware he was abusing them until the pop singer abruptly canceled his Dangerous world tour in the early 1990s to enter rehab.

Paul Gongaware, the co-chief executive of AEG Live’s touring division Concerts West, testified that although he was the manager of the Dangerous tour and knew Jackson was being given painkillers, he didn’t know how serious the problem was until the singer made a public announcement during the tour about his decision to check into rehab.

Gongaware is a defendant along with AEG in a wrongful death suit filed by Jackson’s mother and three children that accuses the concert promotion company of negligently hiring and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave the singer a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol and is now serving jail time for involuntary manslaughter.

Leaning back casually in his chair as he answered questions from the Jackson family attorney, Gongaware said he knew a doctor was medicating Jackson during the Dangerous tour but did not find out why the tour was eventually cut short.

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