AEG is not backing down from its charge that Michael Jackson's mother and her lawyers leaked e-mails to a reporter, in violation of a court order, despite a claim of responsibility by someone not connected to the Jackson's wrongful-death lawsuit against the concert promoter.
The dramatic e-mails, published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, revealed the promoter for Jackson's "This Is It" concerts expressed doubts about the star's health and his ability to be ready for the shows for several months before his death.
Howard Mann, who partnered with Katherine Jackson on a book about her family, acknowledged to CNN Wednesday that he gave the controversial documents to Times reporter Harriet Ryan.
Mann said he obtained the documents from various sources, but none of them came from the Jacksons or their lawyers. Some of the documents were part of discovery in other cases, including the criminal trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, he said.
"The Times does not comment on sources," Ryan said in response to CNN's request for comment on Mann's claim that he gave them to her.
Mann was involved in a bitter copyright dispute concerning that book with Jackson's estate at the time he gave the reporter the documents, but the lawsuit was settled earlier this week.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam, who said Tuesday that he had "unequivocal evidence" showing that MIchael Jackson's mother and her lawyers leaked the e-mails, has asked the judge in the wrongful-death suit to punish Jackson with fines and exclude the e-mails as evidence in the case.
"The documents released to the press were given to Mrs. Jackson and her attorneys -- and to no one else -- confidentially in discovery and subject to a court order," Putnam said Tuesday.
On Thursday, he called it "convenient that Howard Mann -- a longtime business partner of the Jackson family -- has come forward in this fashion."
"Whether these documents were leaked through an intermediary or directly by Mrs. Jackson and her counsel, this remains an egregious violation of the court's order requiring immediate sanctions and an investigation," the AEG lawyer said.
Putnam accused Jackson and her lawyers of leaking the documents -- despite that their "publication hurts her son's memory and her grandchildren more than anyone else" -- because they "know they cannot win on the law and are losing control over the case."
"After months of discovery, plaintiffs now know what we have known all along -- there is nothing to support their claims," the AEG lawyer said.
Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle said the admission by Mann that he was the source of the e-mails should settle the matter.
"He (Mann) definitely never received any documents from Katherine, Prince, Paris, or Blanket Jackson, nor from their lawyers in the wrongful death suit against AEG," said Jackson lawyer Kevin Boyle. Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson are Michael Jackson's children.
Boyle criticized AEG's lawyers for their haste in pointing the finger at the Jacksons.
"AEG made these accusations against the Jackson family and their lawyers apparently without doing even the most rudimentary investigation," Boyle said. "We are further disturbed that the motion for sanctions filed by AEG was given to the press before it was served on Katherine Jackson or her counsel."
If the AEG lawyers had reached out to the Jackson lawyers earlier, they could have helped solve the mystery of the leaked documents, he said.
"AEG has known about the alleged leak since a week before the article was published," Boyle said. "AEG never contacted the Jackson's counsel to inquire about the article or the documents."
The documents made public in the Times story are not the most damaging to AEG that were uncovered, Boyle said.
"We can assure you that we are in possession of documents that make for an extremely compelling story in the wrongful-death case, and that completely support the plaintiffs' claims," he said.