Michael Jackson’s makeup artist cross-examined in wrongful death lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Michael Jackson’s former makeup artist testified about Jackson’s drug use at the singer’s wrongful-death trial Friday.

In the courtroom Friday, dueling attorneys showed jurors two versions of a 1999 clip of Michael Jackson in concert.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, assert that a mishap injured Michael’s back and sent him into a cycle of dependency on painkillers. A longer view from the defense for AEG showed what happened later: Jackson never flinched while finishing the song.

Among the questions for the jury in the case brought against AEG by Katherine Jackson: How much did AEG managers know about Jackson’s early abuse of medications? And were they negligent 10 years later for hiring a doctor who secretly administered to Jackson the surgical sedative propofol, which caused Jackson’s death?

Karen Faye, Jackson’s former makeup artist, testified Friday. Faye described how Jackson’s health had changed over 27 years. She said that his legs, once muscular, were thin, and his face was skeletal. She said that Jackson was not strong enough for the rigorous concert schedule set by AEG.

She recounted an alarming moment with Jackson’s costume designer, who was fitting him. She testified that he said to her, “Oh my God, I could see Michael’s heart beating through his skin.” The response, Faye says she overheard from Jackson’s manager, Frank Dileo: “Get him a bucket of chicken.” Faye wept.

“It was such a cold response. It broke my heart,” Faye said.

Faye recounted multiple incidents that she says alarmed her about Jackson’s use of painkillers from the time he was burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, to the stress of his criminal trial on molestation charges, to the day at rehearsal before he died.

Yet under cross-examination, Faye said she never had a single conversation with Jackson about his drug use, and that there was a period of time after Jackson went through rehab in 1993 that he seemed to be fine.

Faye said she had one discussion with Jackson family members who wanted to get him help, but that Michael would not cooperate.

Testimony resumes Monday with a staffer who worked on Jackson’s final production, and the coroner who performed Jackson’s autopsy.


A court sketch shows Michael Jackson’s makeup artist Karen Faye breaking down on the stand Thursday, May 9, 2013, in the wrongful death suit against AEG.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Michael Jackson’s makeup artist took the stand Thursday in the wrongful death suit against AEG, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how promoters dealt with Jackson’s pain and trouble sleeping.

Jurors viewed images through the eyes of Karen Faye, who for 27 years applied the star’s makeup, covered his scars and testified that she was once asked to give Jackson injections of pain medication.

Breaking down several times, Faye testified that it was burns to Jackson’s scalp that started it all. His hair caught fire in the 1983 shooting of a Pepsi commercial.

Faye said Jackson began to use medicated pain patches. Later, a doctor administered medication.

The tour director then was Paul Gongaware, who went on to become CEO for AEG Live, now being sued by the Jackson family. The plaintiffs accuse AEG execs of causing Jackson’s sedative overdose death through negligence.

Faye told jurors that before one concert in the 1990s, which included a stunt that shot Jackson in the air, she found Jackson out of it.

She stated that he was kind of glazed over, and that he stumbled and fell over. “He can’t go on,” she told the doctor. “You can’t make him.”

Faye said that the doctor responded by grabbing her around the neck, pushing her against the wall and telling her, “Yes, I can.”

The testimony is elicited by Katherine Jackson’s attorney in an effort to show that AEG knew Michael Jackson’s history and physical limitations, yet allegedly still pressured him to perform beyond his capabilities.

Faye told the court that even decades earlier, Jackson needed as many as two days to recover from a concert. The adrenalin wouldn’t let him sleep.

For the This Is It tour, the schedule alarmed her. She testified she told director Kenny Ortega that Jackson could not do it.

She stated that the shows were too close and that there had to be changes.

Ortega “kind of fluffed it off,” she stated, adding that he didn’t seem concerned.

Faye resumes her testimony Friday, when AEG will get their chance to question her.