Los Angeles Police Detective Orlando Martinez on Tuesday told jurors hearing a civil case against Jackson's concert promoter that Conrad Murray was more than $500,000 in debt and his finances were "severely distressed."
The doctor's Las Vegas home was in foreclosure proceedings, he owed back child support and had liens and judgments spread across several states.
Martinez said that led him to believe Murray's actions were motivated by the $150,000 a month he expected to be paid by AEG.
"He may break the rules, bend the rules, do whatever he needed to do to get paid," Martinez said. "It might solve his money problems."
Murray's finances were not a factor in the criminal case that ended with his 2011 conviction for administering a fatal dose of propofol to Jackson.
The former cardiologist is not a party to the case, but he is a key figure in Katherine Jackson's negligent hiring case against concert giant AEG Live. The Jackson family matriarch contends AEG did not properly investigate Murray before allowing him to serve as Jackson's tour physician for the ill-fated "This Is It" shows planned for 2009.
Martinez testified he found most of the debts against Murray in public records.
AEG denies it hired Murray, and its attorney has noted that Jackson and his children had been treated by the doctor before the shows were planned.
The detective's testimony will be brief on Wednesday. Court will recess early to allow an alternate juror to attend a family funeral.
Martinez is the second witness called in the case, which in its early stages will focus on Jackson's death. Potential witnesses later in the trial include stars such as Diana Ross, Quincy Jones and Spike Lee. Jackson's mother, several siblings and his two oldest children, Prince and Paris, are also listed as potential witnesses.
Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake in the trial, which may last 90 court days.
AEG attorneys said they intend to call Murray as a witness. He remains in a Los Angeles jail and is appealing is conviction.
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