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Expert: MJ would've earned more than $1B had he lived

ERK-SOME TESTIMONY: A CPA called as an expert witness in the never-ending Michael Jackson trial told the jury today that had he lived (and retired from music at 65), the megastar might have earned somewhere between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion. Accountant Arthur Erk, who specializes in royalty audits for music artists, said that the planned This Is It tour and a Vegas show, among other possible revenue sources, could have generated income in that neighborhood, even allowing for Jackson's prodigious spending habits. AEG Liveattorneys are expected to dispute these estimates. In its report, the L.A. Times notes, "AEG Live chief executive Randy Phillips was ecstatic after the astonishingly swift sale of the London tickets, and at the same time worried about the star. 'We could have done 200 plus shows based on demand,' he wrote in an email. 'Major stars like Coldplay, Akon, Blackeye Peas [sic], etc., want to support. We so underestimated the demand. Now I have to get him on stage. Scary!'” The potential earnings from Michael Jackson's Ghost merchandise have not yet been floated. (7/15p)

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