LOS ANGELES (KABC) — During the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial Tuesday, a lead choreographer testified that he never saw Jackson take any drugs, but he believes at times the pop star was under the influence of “something.”
Jackson’s workload was on display for jurors as defense attorneys played a clip of rehearsal for his concert tour. It was a segment called “Drill,” a fresh element.
According to the testimony, it was the only totally new routine that Jackson had to learn. He had performed the other concert songs for decades.
Lead choreographer Travis Payne, testifying for AEG, worked closely with Jackson. He told the jury Jackson missed as many as five rehearsals in the weeks approaching the show’s premiere. One time, he said, Jackson was wrapped in a blanket and sitting in front of a heater.
The tour promoter, AEG, is battling a claim from Katherine Jackson that AEG was negligent in hiring and supervising the artist’s doctor, Conrad Murray.
On Tuesday, AEG showed evidence that tour promoters were concerned about Jackson’s health. The defense showed an email forwarded to Payne. It was from the concert producer, Kenny Ortega, appealing to Jackson’s manager and other execs after Murray ordered bed rest for Jackson.
“Please have them stay on top of his health situation. Without invading MJ’s privacy, it might be good idea to talk to his doctor to make sure everything MJ requires is in place. Who is responsible for MJ getting proper nourishment/vitamins/therapy everyday? Personally, I feel he should have a top Nutritionist and Physical Therapist working with him on a regular basis,” the email said.
In an aggressive cross-examination, the attorney for Katherine Jackson elicited testimony that AEG never hired a physical therapist or a nutritionist.
Payne also was called to describe times Jackson was woozy after visits to a dermatologist. The lawsuit asserts it was one of several signs that Jackson was dependent on prescription drugs and that AEG knew it.