TJ Jackson testifies
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Some of Michael Jackson’s nephews were called to the witness stand Thursday in the family’s wrongful death trial.
Members of Michael Jackson’s extended family were both inspired and guided by the pop icon, according to court testimony.
TJ is currently co-guardian for Jackson’s children, tending them along with their grandmother, Katherine Jackson. TJ testified to the family’s loss. He told the jury that Jackson had become like a surrogate parent to him, saying, “He was just everything,” as he broke down.
“My mother was murdered a month after I turned 16. My world crumbled and my uncle Michael saved it,” said TJ.
TJ ,now 35, said it was one reason he agreed to help care for the Jackson children. He described how close they had been to their father. Blanket always wrapped around his legs and Prince acted like his father’s assistant. Paris, he testified, was daddy’s princess and took it the hardest.
The children and their grandmother are suing AEG Live for millions of dollars in damages for allegedly hiring the doctor who caused Jackson’s death. The complaint accuses AEG executives of pressuring Jackson to attend rehearsals for his upcoming tour in London and ignoring signs that he might not be healthy.
TJ testified that he saw his uncle at a family gathering six weeks before his death. Under cross-examination, he said that his uncle appeared happy and that he didn’t see any sign of ill health and didn’t notice any weight change.
TJ told the jury about his last conversation with his uncle and that Michael Jackson said, “See you in London.”
In a late development, Jackson attorneys said the singer’s daughter, Paris, will not be called to testify, at least not by the plaintiffs.
Michael Jackson was foolishly generous when he was alive … handing out $100 bills to complete strangers whenever he felt like it — this according to his nephew.
TJ Jackson — the co-guardian of Michael’s three kids — testified today as part of the wrongful death lawsuit against AEG, claiming MJ was “extremely generous” … citing generosity towards his employees, as well as random handouts of $100 bills to strangers.
It’s pretty crazy … considering MJ died a financial wreck, buried in nearly insurmountable debt.
During his testimony, TJ also said MJ’s daughter Paris was hit the hardest by the singer’s death, saying, “The loss of my uncle has hit her at a different level … She was daddy’s little girl. My uncle was her world.”
TJ said he also supports Halle Berry‘s efforts to block paparazzi from chasing celebrity kids — claiming the Jackson children are often faced with rogue photogs. He said, “I think it’s awful what they get away with.”
T.J. Jackson breaks down on stand, says Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris is ‘in a tough spot’
Michael Jackson’s nephew testifies in wrongful-death trial as lawyer confirms Paris Jackson won’t take the witness stand.
Michael Jackson’s daughter is in a “tough spot” after her attempted suicide and in too much “pain” to testify in her family’s wrongful-death case against his concert promoter, a judge heard Thursday.
“Paris is not going to be testifying,” lawyer Deborah Chang told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos while the jury was out of the courtroom.
“We have a little girl in so much pain right now, she cannot come,” Chang said.
Paris, 15, was hospitalized after paramedics rushed to her Calabasas mansion earlier this month for a call that she downed 20 Motrin pills and slashed her arm with a kitchen knife.
Chang confirmed Paris won’t take the witness stand as she argued to admit a handwritten note the King of Pop’s daughter purportedly wrote to her dad in the months before his death.
“Dead Daddy, I love you so much & I’m so glad I got a goodnight hug,” the note reads. “Sleep well. I love you & good night. I’ll see you tomorrow! XOX Goodnight. Lots of love, Paris Jackson”
Chang argued that the pencil-written note depicts how Paris “felt about her father” and the great love they shared.
A lawyer for AEG objected that it was hearsay, and the judge agreed. The note was not admitted as evidence.
Earlier Thursday, Michael Jackson’s nephew broke down crying on the witness stand as he discussed the heartache his family has suffered after Michael’s fatal overdose.
Tito “T.J.” Jackson Jr. didn’t specifically mention Paris’ failed suicide bid, but he said that as her co-guardian along with grandmother Katherine Jackson, he’s now working overtime to help the troubled teen.
“I don’t want (you) to go into details on what’s going on with Paris now, but could you explain how Paris is handling the loss of her father?” asked Kevin Boyle, one of the lawyers representing Katherine.
“It’s tough,” T.J. said. “She was daddy’s girl. My uncle was her world.”
He acknowledged Michael’s death has “been very hard” for all three kids – including sons Prince, 16, and Blanket, 11 – but Paris was “the princess of his life.”
“Paris has a heart of gold,” he said. “I just think the loss of my uncle has hit her at a different level. She’s in a tough spot, but we’re all loving her and doing everything we can to get her where she should be.”
The 34-year-old son of Jackson 5 member Tito Jackson said he agreed to become co-guardian of Michael’s kids because the “Thriller” singer gave him extra support and guidance after the 1994 drowning murder of his mom DeDe Jackson.
He called Michael his “mentor” and smiled as jurors watched a music video of him and his brothers singing with the pop icon.
“He was just everything,” T.J. said, bowing his head in tears and needing a minute to compose himself.
He called his grandmother the “queen” and “CEO” of the family, saying it was his role simply to help her in any way possible with Michael’s kids.
He said Katherine also has taken Michael’s death “very hard.”
“Our children are supposed to outlive us, so it’s been very difficult on our grandmother,” he said.
The married dad with three kids of his own was named co-guardian last summer after some relatives reported Katherine “missing” while she was out of state with a group of Michael’s siblings challenging the validity of his will.
T.J. said he handles the kids’ school and medical appointments and tries to instill in them the humility he admired in his uncle.
He said he drives a Honda Accord and Michael’s son Prince drives a Ford truck, not a Maserati.
“(Prince) is an amazing person,” T.J. said. “Since he was a kid, he’s always been one of the smartest kids I’ve ever seen or known, reading books at a young age, devouring books.”
Prince gave his own emotional testimony a day earlier, speaking publicly about his dad for the first time Wednesday.
The high schooler recalled his tears the day of his dad’s fatal overdose and lamented his inability to share milestones such as his driver’s license and first girlfriend with his doting dad.
“Nothing will ever be the same,” Prince testified Wednesday. “I can’t sleep at night. I have a hard time sleeping. For a while after he died, I became emotionally distant from a lot of people.”
Prince also touched on his sister’s current hospitalization in general terms.
“Out of all my siblings, she was probably hit the hardest because she was my dad’s princess,” he said. “It really hurt her a lot. She definitely is dealing with it in her own way.”
A source told the Daily News Paris suffers from “severe” depression and likely will remain in treatment for an extended period.
Speaking to jurors Thursday, T.J. said Michael’s youngest son Blanket also misses his dad but is trying to live a normal life – one that includes martial arts classes every Tuesday.
He said Blanket was always “very shy.”
“Blanket was always wrapped around (Michael’s) leg, right behind his leg,” he said. “Wherever my uncle was, Blanket was there. My uncle was everything to Blanket.”
Katherine is suing AEG Live for damages that could top $1 billion, saying the promoter of Michael’s ill-fated “This Is It” concert series should be held liable for his death.
Her lawsuit claims AEG Live negligently hired the doctor who’s now serving four years for Michael’s fatal overdose on June 25, 2009.
AEG has denied any wrongdoing, arguing it was Michael who hired the doctor and went to great lengths to hide his use of an intravenous anesthetic as a treatment for his insomnia.