LOS ANGELES (KABC) — In the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial, lawyers for defendant AEG called their first witness Monday morning, a choreographer who worked on the set with Jackson.
Did Michael Jackson look frail and sick as he rehearsed for his sold out concert tour? Or did he appear more like any 50-year-old artist showing wear from decades of dancing? Conflicting portrayals emerged in court Monday.
The tour promoter AEG is being sued by Jackson’s family. AEG claims that even in Michael Jackson’s final days, there was no sign that he was getting insomnia treatments from his doctor that would lead to his death.
AEG’s first witness Monday was choreographer Stacy Walker. She testified that Jackson was thinner than when she toured with him a decade before and that he wasn’t performing as he had when he was in his 20s or 30s.
But Walker stated that it was not surprising considering a person can’t stay at their physical peak forever.
Asked if she saw any signs of drug use or abuse, she said no.
She said she was concerned when Jackson was missing rehearsals just weeks before opening night. But then he returned to practice. Walker told the jury: “He was great.”
Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, dabbed her eyes and was hugged by daughter Rebbie.
Walker, weeping, stated, “I never in a million years thought he would leave us, pass away. It never crossed my mind.”
The plaintiff’s lawyer then asked how well Walker knew Jackson. Walker said she had three conversations with him in her lifetime, that her job was to focus on the dancers, that she never saw Jackson sick, and that stars often tour with an entourage. Having a doctor present, she testified, did not surprise her.
After Walker finished, coroner’s investigator Dr. Christopher Rogers testified that Jackson died from an overdose of the sedative propofol.
Rogers said that though Jackson weighed 136 pounds at death, the megastar had better-than-average health for a person of his age.
Tuesday the lead choreographer on the tour is scheduled to testify for the defense about those final rehearsals.