Michael Jackson announcing his planned concert series at the London O2 Arena, March 5, 2009.
(AP) LOS ANGELES – Five days before Michael Jackson died, his manager called the singer’s doctor, Conrad Murray, told him Jackson was sick, and implored him to have blood tests done, according to a voicemail played Thursday in court.
The message left by Frank DeLeo was retrieved by police from the cellphone of Dr. Murray and played during the trial of a negligence lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother against concert promoter AEG Live.
“I’m sure you’re aware he had an episode last night,” the message said. “He’s sick … We gotta see what he’s doing.”
Plaintiff’s lawyer Brian Panish acknowledged outside court that the episode occurred on the day Jackson was told by Kenny Ortega, the director of his “This is It” concert, to go home from a rehearsal because he was pale and shivering.
Panish suggested that if DeLeo was aware of the incident, so were AEG executives.
The lawsuit claims AEG didn’t properly investigate Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors said he gave Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
Jurors were not given any further details on the episode.
Katherine Jackson and her daughter Rebbie sat in a front row of the courtroom during testimony.
AEG denies it hired Murray, and it is likely to blame Jackson for insisting on having Murray as his doctor because of the singer’s dependence on propofol, which Jackson used to sleep.
Jackson Trial: First Witnesses To Testify
Celebrity friends including Diana Ross are due to take the stand in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit now under way.
By Greg Milam, US Correspondent
The jury in the $40bn (£26bn) court battle over the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson is expected to hear from the first witnesses on Tuesday.
Lawyers for the family of the King of Pop will begin to present evidence to support their claims that tour promoter AEG Live was negligent in the months leading up to his death in 2009.
Jackson’s 82-year-old mother Katherine is suing the entertainment giant for failing to properly investigate Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter over her son’s death.
The company says it did not hire Murray and that Jackson – with years of prescription drug use – was responsible for the doctor and his conduct.
The case is expected to last three months and could see a stellar line-up of witnesses from Jackson’s family and showbiz friends. Lawyers are expected to trawl through his colourful past.
Legal analyst Tanya Young Williams told Sky News: “We have never seen a trial that includes all of these elements, the drug use, the financial affairs, the child molestation cases. This time we will and that is why this will be the wildest Jackson trial yet.”
What promises to be a sensational, drawn-out trial got off to an unconventional start on Monday as lawyers argued over who knew of Jackson’s abuse of prescription drugs and the powerful anaesthetic that ultimately killed him.