LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Jurors in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial on Thursday saw video clips of the pop star in rehearsal less than four weeks before he died.
The defense showed the clips to rebut claims that Jackson was not fit to perform and that AEG should have known it.
The video is AEG’s response to emails previously shown by the Jackson attorneys from AEG production heads. One email said Jackson’s health had been deteriorating for eight weeks and that Jackson would have fallen if he tried a 360-degree spin.
According to court testimony, the clip, in which Jackson completed several spins, was shot within that eight-week span.
Under questioning by AEG attorney Marvin Putnam, AEG Live President Randy Phillips said he was confused about reports of Jackson’s ill health. Phillips said that he had a talk with Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, and the doctor said Jackson might have had the flu and was in great health and looking forward to doing the shows.
Phillips said at a later meeting at Jackson’s house, the singer looked great and explained his absence from rehearsals. According to Phillips, Jackson said, “I have done this choreography most of my career. I have muscle memory. I don’t have to be at rehearsal all the time.”
AEG is battling Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit. She claims that AEG hired Murray, who gave Jackson nightly doses of surgical sedative to help him sleep. The singer died June 2009 of a propofol overdose.
Phillips testified that AEG was not responsible for Jackson’s personal life and that he forwarded the emails about Jackson’s health to a team of Jackson’s managers who worked directly with the star.
The mood changed at the end of the court day. The attorney for Katherine Jackson, Brian Panish, fired a question at the defendant, “You will say anything won’t you?”
Phillips replied, “That’s outrageous.”
Panish resumes his questioning on Friday.
Jurors at the Jacko trial heard testimony from a surprise witness yesterday — the ghost of Michael Jackson!
Randy Phillips, CEO of concert promoterAEG Live, testified about a chat he had with his longtime friend Brenda Richie, who claimed to have talked to a medium who had channeled the spirit of The Gloved One after his 2009 death.
In the supernatural tête-á-tête, Jacko’s ghost allegedly absolved Dr. Conrad Murray of any guilt in his death and admitted he “accidentally killed himself,” Phillips said.
“Brenda called me to tell me that she was in communications with Michael either through a medium or directly,” Phillips told jurors about his talk with Richie, the ex-wife of singer Lionel Richie.
“She said Michael told her that it wasn’t Dr. Murray’s fault, that he had accidentally killed himself.”
Brian Panish, a lawyer for Michael Jackson’s family, objected to Phillips’ ghost story, calling it triple hearsay, since Phillips was relaying a chat from Richie, who had heard from a medium, who — allegedly — spoke to a dead Jacko.
Remarkably — over the laughter of courtroom spectators — LA County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos allowed Phillips’ explanation to stand.
Phillips’ wacky testimony yesterday was in response to questions about an e-mail he sent on Aug. 18, 2009, implying he believed the medium’s talk with Jacko would prove Murray wasn’t behind his death.
“I think I know what MJ died of and this would exonerate Conrad,” he wrote.
When the e-mail was first brought up Monday, Phillips said he didn’t recall what he had been talking about. But yesterday, he offered up his weird tale from the crypt.
Jackson’s family is suing AEG Live, claiming that concert promoters knew the King of Pop was in declining health but did nothing to help him — other than hire Murray.
AEG officials insist they had no idea Jackson was in such fragile shape and argue the company shouldn’t be held liable for Murray’s criminal acts.
In an odd coincidence, Jackson’s brothers. Jermaine, Tito, Randy and Marlon, are set to perform at AEG-owned Staples Center in downtown LA later this month during the BET Awards broadcast.
On his way out of court yesterday, Jackson family lawyer Kevin Boyle quipped, “I hope the Jackson brothers survive their AEG Live experience.”