Michael Jackson manager's e-mails found, could be key in AEG trial

Michael Jackson's family is seeking billions in damages, equal to what the pop star might have earned had he lived.

Story highlights

  • Frank DiLeo's laptop couldn't be found after Jackson's lawyers subpoenaed it
  • AEG's lawyers represented DiLeo's estate in the fight to stop the subpoena
  • Another lawyer kept a copy of the manager's e-mail file
  • Jackson lawyers argue AEG forced Michael Jackson to take DiLeo as his manager
A cache of e-mails believed lost when Michael Jackson's last manager's laptop disappeared could become key evidence in the wrongful death trial against AEG Live.
Lawyers for Michael Jackson's mother and three children don't know what they'll find in Frank DiLeo's e-mails, but they are hoping it will support their contention that DiLeo was beholden to the concert promoter and not to Jackson.
Jackson changed managers twice in the last three months of his life. In late March 2009, he hired Leonard Rowe -- one of his father's friends -- to replace Tohme Tohme, the manager who initially negotiated the deal with AEG for his "This Is It" tour.
Jackson lawyers argue that AEG Live forced Jackson to take DiLeo, who had worked for him off and on for decades, as his manager in May 2009 because they did not want to work with Rowe.
Their contention is part of their larger argument that AEG Live executives were liable for Jackson's death because they hired, retained or supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
AEG counters that it was Jackson who chose and hired Murray, not them. AEG lawyers argue that Jackson was responsible for his own death and that drug addiction led to his bad decisions.
The coroner ruled his death, which came near the end of preparations for a series of comeback concerts, was caused by an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that Murray was using to treat Jackson's insomnia.