"The fact that if the tour is even just postponed that AEG Live has the ability to cease any further compensation for Dr. Murray, giving Dr. Murray even greater conflict of interest since he was in financial dire straits, he did need this gig and if it was postponed, which could hypothetically be in the best interest of Michael Jackson, he ran the risk of losing any further compensation," he testified.
Berman was asked about the so-called "smoking gun" e-mail sent by AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware ahead of a planned meeting with Dr. Murray: "We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want him to understand what is expected of him."
The e-mail indicates AEG Live executives wanted "to control, to some extent, Dr. Murray" by reminding him they are paying his salary, Berman said.
Is that reasonable, he was asked. "Certainly not," Berman said. "It is indicative of the fact that they want to control the services of Dr. Murray, as opposed to the artist."
Berman testified that AEG Live executives should have recognized there could be a problem with Dr. Murray when he initially asked for $5 million for one year as Jackson's doctor. "That is a pretty bizarre amount," he said.
The eventual agreement to pay the doctor $150,000 a month was still "an exorbitant amount, more than any other person on the tour was paid," he said. "Even more of a red flag since AEG was aware of another doctor who was willing to take the job for $40,000 a month."
"It's indicative of something out of whack," Berman testified.
Berman also said it was "inappropriate" for AEG Live to not loop in any Jackson lawyer or manager into the negotiations with Murray. "I find that extremely unusual," he testified.
Murray signed the contract and faxed it back to AEG Live on June 24, 2009 -- a day before Jackson's death. But AEG Live's executives never signed and the signature space for Jackson's signature was also left blank.
"That is not inconsistent with this being a valid oral agreement," Berman said.
Berman testified the e-mails confirmed an oral agreement was in place. It is a common practice in the music industry for oral agreements to be put in writing long after the services are commenced, he said.
He pointed to the certification of sponsorship AEG submitted to the British government for Murray to practice in England as evidence they considered him hired.