Live music giant AEG has accused lawyers for Michael Jackson's family of deliberately leaking sensitive emails pertaining to the star's death to the media.
A Jackson lawsuit alleges that AEG put pressure on Jackson to prepare for his 2009 This Is It tour despite knowing he was in a weak condition. It also claims that AEG was aware Jackson had hired Dr. Conrad Murray to aid his health. Murray was later charged with Jackson's manslaughter.
In September, the Los Angeles Times ran a story in which emails from top brass at AEG were printed. They appeared to strengthen the Jackson family's position.
In response to the Jackson family lawsuit, AEG has now filed a motion accusing the Jacksons and their lawyers of leaking emails to LA Times deliberately.
CNN reports that AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam said: "It is clear that only one entity could have done it."
In front of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos, Putnam claimed that the e-mails - which the LA Times reporter has shared with AEG - have "certain unique characteristics" that prove they were given to the Jackson lawyers by AEG as part of discovery in the wrongful-death lawsuit.
Amongst others, the emails showed Randy Phillips, Live CEO of AEG, stating, "MJ locked in his room drunk and despondent” and “scared to death"... "I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking. He is an emotionally paralysed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time."
AEG has requested that the Jacksons not be permitted to use the e-mails in next year's trial, in which the Jackson family will attempt to prove that the promoter holds liability for Michael Jackson's death.
Jackson's team denied either the family or legal reps had leaked the the e-mails - even suggesting AEG lawyers could have done so deliberately.
Jackson was booked for a 50-night residency at the O2 Arena in London called This Is It, but he died in June 2009 shortly before the tour was due to start.
AEG have since claimed a £11m cancellation policy but the insurers of the concert, Lloyd's of London, argue that the company made false claims about Jackson's health and readiness to perform.