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News summary of week 11 at the AEG trial. KENNY ORTEGA’S STORY

July 16, 2013

Here is the news summary of week 11 at the AEG trial, July 9-12 (there was no court on Friday July 13).

Monday July 9, 2013 DAY 44

Ortega and MJOn this day Dr. Finkelstein’s deposition was shown  and Kenny Ortega began testifying.

Dr. Finkelstein went on the third leg of the Dangerous tour with Michael Jackson in 1993 and gave him medication to deal with the pain from his scalp surgery and the neuroma on his head.

No need to repeat it all over again as we’ve just discussed it in the previous post. All I will say is that medication was given to Michael only when he was in pain as Dr. Finkelstein testified.

Gongaware knew of the problem perfectly well though in his testimony he said he learned of Michael’s dependency from his statement on TV.

I think I am beginning to see the train of thought of AEG bosses. All of them looked at Michael as a drug-addict and regarded the symptoms they saw throughout June as signs of Demerol withdrawal. And since withdrawal symptoms are generally not life-threatening they chose to completely ignore them.

They cut off his ties with everyone whom they considered possible suppliers of “drugs” and this is probably the reason why Grace Rwaramba had to go. They suspected her to be a supplier.

Through their stereotypes about Michael AEG created for themselves and the people around them a totally distorted image of him. They considered him a “junkie” who was “his own worst enemy” and should be therefore controlled all over and held in a “straight jacket”. The reality was absolutely different – he was dying in front of their eyes due to lack of sleep and their own harassment of him and the only thing he needed for survival was a little more understanding and respect.

All this is terribly sad.

Michael used to say to Kenny Ortega, “Change needs to happen within each of us for a change in the world to happen.” These are the words of great wisdom. No changes for the better will ever take place if we don’t change from within.

Since Dr. Finkelstein’s deposition was provided in the previous post I am starting direct with Kenny Ortega’s testimony on the same day:

Monday July 9, DAY 44


Outside the presence of the jury, attorneys arguing about whether plaintiff can call Ortega as hostile witness.


Judge said he isn’t adverse witness because he had contract with AEG. But judge said it may be a time where she will allow adverse questions


Attorney for Jacksons Brian Panish did direct examination.


Full name: Kenneth Ortega


Ortega reviewed his deposition but did not read testimony given at Dr. Murray’s criminal trial.


Ortega said he read some articles about this trial. He also read Karen Faye’s deposition, given to him by his attorney.


The director was deposed in the Lloyds of London litigation for several days.


Ortega said he had a contract with AEG Live. “I was working in communication with them,” he said.


For certain things, Ortega said he reported to Paul Gongaware and Randy Phillips.


Ortega said his agent and attorney negotiated his contract with AEG Live. Gongaware represented AEG Live.


Ortega said at one point his rep said the negotiation turned from AEG Live to Michael Jackson. He doesn’t know the details, though.


Ortega said he has earring loss, so he can’t hear well. He asked Panish to speak up.


He said he’s a director, choreographer and sometimes producer. “My role in This Is It, I was Michael’s creative partner in the show.”


Ortega said for the creative part, he reported to Michael and to AEG regarding budget or scheduling.


Ortega said AEG was Michael’s partner in promoting and producing TII, and they were financers of the project.


The director said he was called by Mick Jagger to work on the 50th anniversary tour, working with AEG.


Ortega: I believe Mick Jagger just made me an offer and we accepted it. My agent called me, daily offer, I accepted.


Panish: Do you consider yourself friend with Gongaware?


Ortega: Yes


Ortega’s rep dealt with Paul Gongaware in The Rolling Stones tour.


Panish: Do you consider yourself friend with Randy Phillips?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: Do you consider yourself friend with MJ?


Ortega: Yes


Ortega was originally named a defendant in this case. Panish asked if he knew why he was dismissed from the suit.


“I’m not an employee of AEG,” Ortega responded. Ortega said he is from Redwood City, CA, grew up in the Bay area.


Ortega said he started dancing when he was 4 years old. There was always music at his house, watched his parents dance.


He opened up his own theater company when he was 18. Ortega said around 1963-64, Michael was walking through backstage they made eye contact


He looked at me and smiled. I was overwhelmed, Ortega said.


Ortega: I was in such awe of him and the brothers. It was such a momentous moment for me, it was like being touched by a star


Choreographer creates the dance steps, movements in a stage show or concert or musical, Ortega explained.


Ortega said he didn’t do the choreography for the This Is It tour. It was lots of people, some was classic and belonged to MJ for some time.


Travis Payne was MJ’s partner for the new choreography in TII.


Ortega worked on High School Musical 1, 2 and 3, Dirty Dancing, Newsies, Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, etc.


Ortega did choreography for Cher, Madonna, Kiss, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler.


Ortega has been asked to do a new “Dirty Dancing” but he’s not sure it will happen


Panish showed a video clip of Madonna’s “Material Girl.”


Panish showed excerpt of it with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey; snippet of “Newsies,” 1st full-length picture he directed/choreographed.


Panish showed clip of High School Musical. He directed and choreographed 1, 2 and 3.


HS Musical 1 and 2 were released on TV only, 3 was a movie. “It was the number one opening weekend of any musical ever,” Ortega said.


Michael and the children went to see High School Musical in Las Vegas.


Panish: How did it make you feel?


Ortega: (long pause) I’m speechless, I can’t think


P: Was that a big thrill?


O: Beyond


I know for sure Paris was singing, they were all standing and enjoying it, Ortega recalled.


MJ went backstage. “The cast, they were just crying, and screaming, and just speechless,” Ortega said.


He was very generous, very sweet and kind to everyone, Ortega said about Michael Jackson.


Ortega choreographed the 96 Olympics in Atlanta, 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Super Bowl half time, World Cup.


Ortega: Choreography is about the movement of the human body, technique, dance language, physical, how to instruct


Ortega first met MJ in 1990. “MJ called me to help mount the Dangerous Tour,” he said.


I felt incredible, he was the greatest performer on the planet and as far as I’m concerned. The greatest song and dance man ever.


He said he was co-director of Dangerous with MJ. MJ had a ton of ideas, asked him to realize those on stage.


It was exciting, stimulating, awesome, Ortega said.


Ortega described Michael Jackson: Musician: world class Singer: one of a kind Dancer: the best


Ortega has worked in the industry for over 40 years. Panish asked Ortega how MJ influenced other dancers.


Like no one else in his generation, Ortega said. “I think he was the most influential dancer for generations of kids still even today.”


Panish showed clip of “This Is It” movie showing the young dancers who had been chosen to dance with MJ and how he influenced them.


Ortega: It was primarily Michael’s vision that I shared. He wanted to put on the greatest show that anyone had ever seen.


He wanted to rock the world, Ortega said. “He wanted to let them know he was back.”


The opening of the show was significant to MJ. He wanted the audience to think how will be able to top that!, Ortega testified.


He always wanted something that was world class and thrilling, Ortega said.


Ortega helped prepared the opening of the Dangerous tour in 1992. Michael would enter the stage in what they called “toaster.”


The “toaster” popped up and gave illusion of flying. Ortega said MJ would then stand still on stage for a few minutes.


He would call that milking the crowd, Ortega explained. “He knew how to work the crowd better than anybody.”


Panish showed clip of opening of Dangerous. “It was one of the most spectacular openings that anyone has seen or done,” Ortega said.


It left people breathless, Ortega said.


MJ went to an orphanage in Romania before going to his hotel. Ortega said MJ didn’t want to do the show before the orphanage was cleaned up.


MJ wanted to make sure every child had what they needed, Ortega explained.


Ortega said MJ wanted to improve the human condition for children around the world.


Panish: Did you know Michael was dependent on painkillers?


Ortega: No


P: Never heard of that?


O: No


P: To this day?


O: No


In 1995, Ortega was acting as a consultant to MJ for an event at Beacon Theater in NY.


Panish: Did you ever become aware he was not well?


Ortega: He was unhappy


Ortega: He called me in because he was unhappy with what was going on with his classic choreography, he didn’t want it to be changed.


Ortega said MJ fainted and the show was cancelled.


Panish: Can we say he collapsed?


Ortega: Yes


MJ was then transported to the hospital by ambulance. “It could’ve been exhaustion, I don’t know, I don’t recall,” Ortega said.


In “HIStory” tour Ortega and MJ were co-creators & co-directors. “We used to call creative jousting,” Ortega described the creative process.


Ortega: We didn’t always agree on 100%, we allowed ourselves to have creative joust, to play with the ideas and allowed it to ripe


Panish: Was his creativity or demeanor different?


Ortega: He was still inspired, raised the bar on himself and on everyone working with him


Ortega: The video used for the show would have subtitles saying love one another, take care of the planet, take care of the children.


Ortega said he went on first 6 or so dates on both “Dangerous” and “HIStory” tour. He explained it was the normal amount.


Panish showed video of “HIStory” tour opening. Ortega said MJ wanted his music to inspire change in the world.


Greatest example of it is Man in the Mirror, Ortega said. “Change needs to happen within each of us for a change in the world to happen.


Ortega said the song “What About Us?” showed Michael’s deep concern about healing the planet. “And that went deep,” Ortega said.


Ortega talked about shows that MJ did for charity.


Panish showed clip of Earth song.


Ortega: In Munich, Michael was on a set held up by cables. During the big conclusion of Earth song there was a bridge supposed to float down


Ortega said because an improper cable replacement, the bridge came down faster that it was supposed to.


I know he hurt his back, Ortega said. MJ jumped up and went back on the stage. “The show must go on.”


Ortega said he thinks MJ had back problems afterwards. But the director said he never saw MJ take medication.


P: Loopy?


Panish: Did you observe MJ different after seeing a doctor?


Ortega: Yes


P: Please explain


O: Off, a little off


O: Yeah


He was a little… off, loopy, Ortega said.


Panish: Did anyone tell you they thought MJ was ‘assisted’ with something?


Ortega: No


Ortega: The scalp burn, I didn’t know he was taking medication for it, I knew he was injured from the Pepsi commercial.


Ortega said TII was going to be in London and there was hope for international tour.


Ortega: If the show were to go on to other countries, then I would receive royalties, yes


Ortega said Paul Gongaware and John Meglan were the ones who contacted him about being part of the TII tour.


Email on Feb 10, 2009 from Gongaware to Ortega was the first email the director remembers about the TII.


Ortega said MJ kept referring to the tour as “This Is It,” so Ortega suggested the tour should be called TII.


At this time, Ortega was working on development of movie for Paramount, “Footloose” remake. He was going to direct it.


At times, Ortega said he can work in multiple projects, but once one takes off he needs to be exclusive to it.


Ortega said Randy Phillips never told him what happened before the TII press conference with Michael Jackson.


He said had he known, it would have had an impact on whether to go forward with TII.


I didn’t know anything had happened and I wasn’t there, so there wasn’t anything to be surprised about, Ortega said.


Honestly, I didn’t even know if it was for sure, Ortega said. He testified in his depo he was surprised Phillips didn’t tell him anything.


Email on 3/12/09 from Gongaware to Ortega: Blew out 30 shows today on the presale. Hot doesn’t begin to describe it


Ortega responded: “I’d say we are off to a good start. Congrats to all at AEG see you soon”


Gongaware responded: We stopped at 50 sold out shows at the O2 arena. Demand was there for another 50. This is history and you’re part of it


Ortega responded: Yeah! Good for MJ, God knows he’s been out through as much negative as any one person should have to go through.


Ortega cont’d: Great news, I couldn’t be happier for the Team.


Judge adjourned trial until tomorrow at 1:30 pm PT. Ortega ordered to return then. Attorneys remained in court discussing exhibits.


Panish said defendants have 14,000 exhibits on their list, down from 28,000. There are 1353 documents produced by Kenny Ortega.


For the latest watch @ABC7 and go to . We hope to see you tomorrow for full coverage of the trial. Good night everyone

Alan Duke is giving a fairly accurate report of the above adding information about Dr. Schnoll’s testimony and the mystery of Frank Dileo’s computer:

Director of MJ’s comeback show takes stand

By Alan Duke, CNN

July 9, 2013 — Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)

Los Angeles (CNN) — Kenny Ortega, the director of Michael Jackson’s aborted comeback show, began his testimony Monday about what AEG Live executives did and said in Jackson’s final days.

His first hours on the stand Monday afternoon were spent discussing Jackson’s creativity, saying his voice, songs and dancing were “like no one else in his generation.” He will return Tuesday to resume his testimony.

Lawyers for Jackson’s mother and children argue in the wrongful death trial against AEG Live that those executives ignored warning signs about his health and mental condition that, if heeded, could have saved his life.

The lawsuit contends the promoters hired, retained or supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s propofol overdose death.

AEG Live lawyers argue that Jackson — not their executives — chose and controlled the doctor, who was giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic in a desperate search for sleep in his last two months.

Ortega, who knew Jackson well and worked with him closely preparing his “This Is It” shows, sounded a warning to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips in an e-mail on June 20, 2009 — five days before Jackson’s death — that Ortega did not think the entertainer would be ready for the shows.

He described seeing “strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior” with Jackson. “I think the very best thing we can do is get a top psychiatrist to evaluate him ASAP.”

Expert: MJ was ‘drug dependent,’ not addicted

AEG says Jackson was secretive about his drug use, which the company contends was an addiction, so there was no way of knowing what treatments Murray was giving Jackson in his bedroom.

But a drug addiction expert testified last week that there was “not a lot of evidence to support” the belief that Michael Jackson was addicted to drugs.

If he was an addict, Jackson “would be taking drugs that were not prescribed by a medical professional, taking larger amounts than prescribed and have drug-seeking behavior,” Dr. Sidney Schnoll testified.

There was no evidence Jackson ever took drugs that were not given to him by a doctor or that he took more than prescribed, Schnoll said.

The bottles of sedatives found in his home after his death had more pills remaining in them than he would have expected if Jackson was an addict, Schnoll said. This “indicated these were not being taken on a regular basis,” he said.

Evidence shows Jackson sought drugs from a number of doctors, but that was not inappropriate because he needed them “to treat a legitimate medical problem,” including back pain, scalp pain and dermatologic issues, Schnoll testified.

While not addicted, Jackson was dependent on drugs, he said.

The painkillers that forced Jackson to end his 1993 “Dangerous” tour early so he could enter a rehab program were taken to relieve the pain from scalp surgery needed to repair burns suffered when filming a Pepsi commercial, Schnoll said.

The burns left scars on damaged nerves in his scalp, which becomes “excitable tissue” that “can be firing just like the nerve,” he said. The result “can be every painful, like a burning kind of pain — persistent, sharp, shooting kind of pain,” he said. “It’s very uncomfortable and one of the most difficult to treat.”

Pain relief is a legitimate use of opioid drugs and a person can function normally if they are taken under a doctor’s care, he said.

President John Kennedy was opioid dependent to relieve “very severe back pain” while in the White House, he said.

“He did alright as president?” Jackson lawyer Michael Koskoff asked.

“It depends on your political affiliation,” Schnoll answered.

The Demerol injections Jackson got during frequent visits to a Beverly Hills dermatologist between April and his death in late June 2009 were given for legitimate medical reasons, Schnoll testified.

If he were addicted to Demerol — which is a powerful opioid — he would not have gone 43 days between injections, which medical records show, he said.

Jackson also went roughly 13 years — from 1993 until 2008 — without the drug, he said. The doctor conceded under cross-examination by an AEG Live lawyer, however, that a gap in available medical records may be misleading.

Jackson’s use of sedatives was an effort to treat his chronic insomnia, Schnoll said.

If the underlying sleep problem could be resolved, the chances of ending Jackson’s use of the drugs would have been good, he said.

There was no indication that Jackson was addicted to propofol before Murray began giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic for 60 days leading up to his death, he said.

Unheeded warning signs?

Ortega, in his e-mail to AEG Live CEO Phillips on June 20, wrote that “I honestly don’t think he is ready for this based on his continued physical weakening and deepening emotional state.”

He said Jackson was having trouble “grasping the work” at rehearsals.

Production manager John “Bugzee” Hougdahl wrote in an e-mail to Phillips hours earlier that Ortega had sent Jackson home from a rehearsal that night because of his strange behavior.

“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks. He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried now,” Hougdahl wrote. “He was a basket case and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet — get hurt. The company is rehearsing right now, but the DOUBT is pervasive.”

Phillips replied to Ortega: “Please stay steady. Enough alarms have sounded. It is time to put out the fire, not burn the building down.”

By “burn the building down,” he meant pulling the plug on the tour that was set to begin in three weeks, Phillips testified last month. “In a highly charged situation like this, I just wanted to keep things calm until we could have the meeting.”

Phillips met with Murray, Jackson and Ortega at Jackson’s home later that day. While Jackson lawyers argue that meeting was intended to pressure Murray to make sure Jackson was ready for rehearsals, AEG lawyers contend Murray assured producers nothing was wrong.

Phillips testified that he remembered little about the conversation at the meeting and Murray has invoked his constitutional protection against self-incrimination to avoid testifying in the trial. This makes Ortega’s testimony crucial for both sides. 

Hand over evidence or face jail

A related drama could unfold Monday in another courtroom as a judge in Ohio decides if he’ll carry out a threat to throw the widow and daughter of a former Jackson manager in jail for refusing to hand over a laptop computer subpoenaed by Jackson lawyers.

Frank DiLeo, who served as Jackson’s manager decades earlier, reappeared in his life in his last months. He died in 2011. Jackson lawyers want to search his laptop for evidence to support their contention that DiLeo was beholden to the concert promoter and not to Jackson.

His daughter, Belinda DiLeo, refused a judge’s order last week to disclose where the computer was, prompting the contempt of court order. The judge gave the DiLeo’s until Monday to hand it over or face jail. A hearing will be held Wednesday to determine of the women complied with the order.

Jackson changed managers twice in the last three months of his life. In late March 2009, he hired Leonard Rowe — one of his father’s friends — to replace Tohme Tohme, the manager who initially negotiated the deal with AEG for his “This Is It” tour.

Jackson lawyers argue that AEG Live forced Jackson to take DiLeo, who had worked for him off and on for decades, as his manager in May 2009 because they did not want to work with Rowe.

A cache of 5,000 e-mails has already been recovered and a lawyer in Ohio is reviewing them to redact non-relevant and personal information before handing them over to Jackson lawyers.

Tuesday July 10, 2013 DAY 45

You probably noticed that point 122 in the above ABC tweets was marked black and red:


Ortega responded: “I’d say we are off to a good start. Congrats to all at AEG see you soon”

Black is what was reported by ABC and red is what was added from the court transcript. The addition of “Congrats to all at AEG” may be not that significant but this is one of those small things which make Ortega look also beholden to AEG and not to Michael Jackson.

And the fact that Ortega’s attorney is being paid by AEG does not help in building more trust for him.

I don’t believe many things about Ortega. I don’t believe that he never heard about Michael being to a rehab (everyone heard about it).  I don’t believe him when he talks about his status in the show – he says he was reporting to AEG as they were financiers of the project, but also says that his salary was to be approved by Michael (so MJ was to pay for it and Ortega knows about it?).

And I don’t believe him when he says that Michael did not come to the rehearsals for a full week before June 19th. First of all other witnesses said that Michael attended the Forum on June 16, 17 and late in the evening on June 18th though he was in a very bad state, and second, Talitha, a faithful Michael’s fan says that she was there and saw Michael on those days. Here is her tweet:

Talitha is a faithful fan of MJ who followed him to every day of  the rehearsals

Now Ortega is eager to explain why he was so worried about the show and is therefore exaggerating the gravity of the problem with Michael’s rehearsals. Even Travis Payne said that Michael missed no more than 5 rehearsals all in all, so at this point Ortega is blatantly LYING.

Actually it was Ortega who went to the AEG “high-ups” complaining that Michael was not attending rehearsals, and this in spite of the fact that he should have known that it was not Michael’s duty. And from his answers it transpires that around June 16-18 he confronted everyone with an ultimatum – either MJ comes to every rehearsal or he, Ortega, leaves the show. This is why Michael was imploring him on June 19 not to leave him alone.

Five days before Michael’s death Ortega may have become concerned about Michael’s state, but before that he was much more concerned about the show.

And one more thing. Karen Faye learned of something terrible that happened on June 18th connected with Kenny Ortega, and was so distressed by it that first thing in the morning sent a message about it to her boyfriend. She managed to retrieve the message from her telephone, but it was never read during her testimony on June 28th as AEG’s lawyers vehemently objected to it.

Up to this day we don’t know the text but most probably it was the ultimatum set by Ortega to Michael on June 18th, which drove him into the terrible condition the next day. It was probably after that ultimatum that Michael looked very scared when he appeared at the Forum at 9:30 pm, as Karen Faye said.

Tuesday July 10, DAY 45


Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. There was only afternoon session today in trial between Jackson Family vs AEG.


Katherine Jackson is present in court wearing a black and white polka dot jacket. Director Kenny Ortega back on the stand.


Ortega said he didn’t want to change any of his testimony from yesterday. His lawyer drove him home yesterday.


Ortega said he’s not familiar with the details of his contract. Ortega chose his attorney for this case, but AEG is paying for it.


Panish asked how Ortega would’ve been impacted had he known MJ’s condition on the day of the press conference.


P: Less wanting to do it because of MJ’s condition?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: Less wanting to do it?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: Because you cared about MJ’s condition?


O: Yes


Rebbie entered the courtroom. She’s wearing a bright pink jacket, sitting next to Mrs. Jackson.


Panish asked if at times Ortega would want to meet with MJ alone. Ortega said yes.


In order to get into each other’s head and for me to be in the same page with MJ on where his plans were for the show, Ortega explained.


Ortega said he was only involved in the negotiation of Travis Payne’s payment.


Panish asked if AEG wanted to do production within reasonable costs. “I think that’s general position of responsible producers,” Ortega said


I didn’t discuss financing with MJ, Ortega said.


Ortega had not worked with MJ for more than 10 years. In terms of creativity, Ortega said not much had changed between the two.


Jackson and Travis were more involved in the actual dance steps and performances, Ortega said.


I think Baryshnikov and Michael battled it up to see who could do more multiple 360s, Ortega testified.


Ortega said the turns are called pencil turns, and he compared MJ to the famous ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.


My goal was to edit together the pieces to tell a story about what Michael’s goals for the show were, Ortega explained.


Ortega said he obviously wanted to make Michael look good, but the intention was to tell the story.


Panish showed an email with names of artists who were to be involved in the “This Is It” tour.


Ortega said Karen Faye reached out to him, had already spoken with MJ about being part of the crew.


Ortega said Bugzee was not the stage manager. He worked under Paul Gongaware as accountant, Ortega explained.


I wouldn’t have called him stage manager, Ortega said about Bugzee (Houghdahl).


Panish: Did you ask Bugzee to write an email on your behalf?


Ortega: Not that I recall


Email on March 25, 2009 from Gongaware to Ortega: Kenny, I’m afraid we may not be able to meet your financial requirements for a deal.


Email cont’d: I’m totally bummed by this. Couldn’t sleep last night trying to figure it out. We need to move forward quickly.


Email cont’d: I know, but I haven’t been able to find a way to make this work. My deepest, most sincere apology. Paul G


I remember it had to be approved by Mr. Jackson, Ortega said about the email. He testified he never spoke about money with MJ.


Judge asked what “financial requirements” meant to him, and Ortega said it referred to his salary.


Not what I expected, but sometimes negotiations take time, Ortega explained.


Panish: Were you surprised?


Ortega: Was I surprised? No


Panish asked if this was a negotiation tactic? Ortega smiled and answered perhaps.


Ortega didn’t think the negotiations were dead. He kept working in good faith. Ortega and Payne share the same agent (Julie McDonald).


He and Payne continued working without a contract. “It was my hope and in the end we would come to terms,” Ortega said.


Ortega: It would all work out and I kept the faith that that would happen.


Ortega said he performed auditions for dancers, singers, band and interviewed various people for various designer’s role.


Ortega doesn’t know when he signed his contract. Panish showed a copy of Ortega’s contract. It was executed on April 25, 2009.


Ortega did not have a written agreement when he did the dancers audition.


Ortega Contract: The principal terms and conditions of Employer and Employee’s engagement for the Concerts are set forth in the agreement


Contract cont’d: (the “Agreement) between Company, on the one hand, and Employer and Employee, on the other hand, as previously


Contract cont’d: confirmed in emails between the parties’ representatives, which such emails are attached hereto as Exhibit “A”


Contract: and incorporated herein by this reference.


The contract says Ortega could get a total of $1.5 million, plus $100K for each of the five territories and $250K for the US.


The concerts were supposed to start in London on July 8.


Ortega: Michael and I both wanted to extend our time before opening, so I felt comfortable taking the heat (of postponing it).


As a director of the show, I didn’t feel we would be ready for the show’s original dates, Ortega said.


Email on 5/19/09 from Ortega regarding the postponement of the show: I’m uncomfortable with the way the release reads at this moment.


Email cont’d: I feel strongly that it is unnecessary and misleading to both of the press and fans to suggest things as “staging is from another planet” or “never before seen staging.” We are not doing the Chinese Olympics.


Ortega said they were exaggerating, and that he thought the press release was “creatively misleading.”


The show got so big, Ortega explained, saying he needed an extra week to get it ready.


Phillips is quoted in release that “this is a one-off adjustment do purely technical reasons and we don’t anticipate any further changes.”


Ortega met Dr. Murray at the Carolwood home in April or May. He remembers the doctor going to rehearsals once or twice.


MJ went to 2 rehearsals at Staples, June 23rd and 24th. Ortega said Dr. Murray was involved in creating Michael’s scheduling for rehearsals


It was either Phillips or Paul Gongaware who told Ortega Dr. Murray would be making MJ’s schedule and would help MJ get to rehearsal.


Panish: Who was responsible for the content of the show?


Ortega: Michael Jackson


First it was Dr. Murray and then Randy helped, Ortega said about MJ’s rehearsal schedule.


Dr. Murray would give Ortega the schedule rehearsal. Ortega said it was not unusual, but he never had a doctor give him artist’s schedule.


Panish: Was there a time you were concerned MJ wasn’t showing up at rehearsals?


Ortega: Yes


Email on June 23, 2009 from Timm Wooley to Bob Taylor: Changes are structural only: KO has responsibility only for the show content & structure in consultation with MJ. Randy Phillips and Dr. Murray are responsible for MJ’s rehearsal and attendance.


Panish asked if Ortega had ever seen a situation where a CEO of a company was responsible for the artist’s schedule/attendance. Ortega: No


I just wanted him to come to rehearsal, Ortega said. “In terms of when he came I was willing to structure everything around that.”


At some point, it became my number one concern, Ortega said about MJ showing up at rehearsals.


There were 4 calls between Dr. Murray and Ortega on June 18. One lasted 30 minutes.


Ortega said they were already in rehearsals and the only reason KO would call Murray was to inquire about MJ’s non-appearance at rehearsals.


My own frustrations Ortega said explaining Murray was creating the schedule, which wasn’t working. “He was my lifeline so to speak”


Panish: Was Michael coming every day to rehearsal in June?


Ortega: No


Panish: Every scheduled day?


Ortega: That I don’t know


Panish: Were you ever involved in a show where you called a doctor of an artist when he was not coming to rehearsals?


Ortega: No


MJ wasn’t showing up at all at rehearsals in June, Ortega testified. “I recall MJ not coming to rehearsals for a period of time in June.”


Panish: Remember yourself having serious frustration on June 18th?


Ortega: Yes


That all we worked, MJ and I, this dream, this goal he and I had, tis desire, was going to fall away, Ortega explained.


Ortega said MJ was his directing partner, he needed the artist to get the show on the road.


On Jun 19, there were several calls between Ortega and Dr. Murray. Ortega remembers this date because there was an issue with MJ.


Ortega’s first phone call was at 11:25 am and MJ was not at rehearsal.


Panish: Did you learn they had an intervention?


Ortega: I remember there was plan to get schedule in order, it was my feeling we weren’t going to make it, there was plan to make it clear


Before June 19, Ortega said MJ hadn’t come to rehearsals for a “good week,” but it could’ve been more.


They were supposed to leave for London on July 3, so they has 10-12 rehearsals remaining.


On the 19th I had more than a serious concern that the show could go on, Ortega said.


Panish: You had serious doubt?


Ortega: Yes


They were going to rehearse in London as well. As of June 19th, Ortega hadn’t seen MJ for a week or more.


On June 19, there was a fitting to take place. Michael showed up but very late, Ortega said.


Ortega explained it was hard for him as a director to work like that, so he went to AEG’s high ups.


Ortega said on June 19th MJ was cold, shivering. “He was slow at growing into the show,” Ortega explained.


Panish: How about balance issues?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: How about losing weight?


Ortega: I had a concern, yes


Ortega said MJ complained of back pain.


Regarding MJ’s balance, Ortega said there was a period of time it wasn’t as good as it had been.


P: Did he seem paranoid?


O: Yes


Panish: Did he seem lost?


Ortega: Yes, on the 19th


Panish: Did you think he was communicating with clarity?


Ortega: No. For part of the evening. He got better


Panish showed an email from Alif Sankey expressing concerns about MJ on June 4.


Ortega: The choreographer is not responsible for the artist’s physical/emotional, but if they see something they are to report to director


June 13th, Payne wrote an email saying MJ was taking a sick day, per doctor’s order.


On Jun 14, Ortega wrote to Gongaware that MJ was not allowed to attend the rehearsals the day, asked about MJ’s nourishment/therapy.


Ortega said the intention was to get assistance in trying to help Michael in every way possible so he could go to rehearsal.


Court then adjourned. Jury ordered back at 9:45 am PT tomorrow with more Kenny Ortega on the stand. We hope to see you then!

Wednesday July 11, DAY 46

Ortega’s testimony on this day makes it clear that he did threaten Michael that he was quitting the show and it was him who suggested that AEG should pull the plug. Whether it happened on June 18th or June 16th we don’t know as Ortega says he does not remember attending the meeting on June 16th.

He also described the meeting on June 20th and in much detail too. It turns out that the meeting was about him (Ortega) and was an “accusatory” one as the previous night he had sent Michael home from the rehearsal. Conrad Murray spoke to him in an angry voice and said that Ortega had no right to not let Michael rehearse. He told him to stick to his job and leave a doctor’s job to him. Ortega was shocked and left the meeting sooner than the rest of them. When he was leaving Michael gave him a hug and said he would take the reins.

Phillips did not speak much at the meeting and was more like a bystander. Prior to the meeting that day he had spoken to Murray for almost half an hour and was watching this drama now like a director watching his actor perform according to the instructions given.

It seems that Randy Phillips was extremely displeased with Ortega’s sudden U-turn. Up till now Ortega had always been on AEG’s side as he was urging Michael to come and rehearse, and at some point even threatened him with pulling the plug on the show, but when on June 19th he saw what condition they had driven Michael into, he got really frightened and sent him home.

In the eyes of people like AEG this was an impossible weekness, and this is why Randy Phillips described Ortega’s actions as “hysteria”. As to Murray’s performance that day Phillips liked it very much and in an email following the meeting said that the doctor was “fantastic”:


“The doctor was fantastic and I think Kenny’s hysteria will be in check””

And after all that someone dares say that this doctor was independent of AEG?

Wednesday July 11, DAY 46


Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. Day 46 of Jackson family vs AEG trial (Week 11) has wrapped up. Kenny Ortega testified all day.


Katherine Jackson was present in the courtroom wearing royal blue jacket. Ortega said he didn’t review anything since yesterday.


Ortega received a daily rate to work in The Rolling Stones tour. The amount was negotiated/set by his agent.


AEG is paying for Ortega’s attorney in this case and he’s getting a witness fee of $35/day.


Panish: Pull the plug, is that a term you use?


Ortega: Yes


Panish asked if Ortega suggested to pull the plug on MJ. Ortega responded: “I may, not regarding MJ, but the show.


Panish: Did Mr. Phillips talk about pulling the plug?


Ortega: I don’t know if he used that terminology, but we did discuss stopping the show


The discussion happened when MJ was absent from rehearsals, Ortega said. The director wrote an email suggesting to stop the show.


Ortega said he discussed with Phillips if things didn’t change they might’ve to stop show.”Without Michael I don’t know how we can continue”


Panish: Did you use term “pull the plug?”


Ortega: I may have


About email Ortega sent Gongaware asking if he knew Dr. Murray ordered MJ not to rehearse, Ortega said he wanted to alert AEG about it.


Panish: Have you ever been on a show where doctor told artist not to rehearse?


Ortega: I think I worked in a show where artists were sick


Email on June 14, 2009 from Ortega to Gongaware: Paul, MJ did not have a good Friday and he didn’t show on Saturday. He has been habitually late (the norm). I realize he’s up against a lot. I have ton of love/sympathy for what he’s been through. We must do all that we can as a team to stay on top of his needs everyday. He required more attention and management. As I mentioned I truly believe he needs nourishment guidance & physical therapy (massage) for his fatigued muscles & injuries. He is not in great physical shape. I believe he’s hurting. He has been slow at grabbing hold of the work. We have twenty days we can’t let him slip. I’m doing all I can every day to build up his confidence & to create schedule that will help to ready him and to arrive us at our goals. Every time he is late or cancels it chisels away that possibility. There can be no more calls to Travis asking him to come to the house. MJ needs to be told that it’s time to get real. He must take care of himself so that  he can meet the schedule or there are going to be consequences. We need a healthy, rested and ready MJ at the Forum and Staples for all the remaining rehearsals as well as the few we have at the O2 in July. Thanks, KO


Ortega said he just wanted to make sure MJ had all health benefits available to be able to do the show.


Email on Jun 14, 2009 from Gongaware to Ortega: Frank and I have discussed it already and have requested a face-to-face meeting with doctor. We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary. We want him to understand what is expected of him.


As to Gongaware’s email, Ortega said he didn’t know whether he discussed it with Gongaware.


Panish: Would it be fair to say as of June 14, 2009, you thought the show was in jeopardy?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: Would it be fair to say as of June 14, 2009, everyone was under pressure?


Ortega: Yes


Panish asked if Payne ever told Ortega MJ looked assisted when coming to rehearsal. Ortega said he doesn’t remember if he used that word


Ortega said he understands being assisted to mean under the influence of something.


I don’t have any idea in which capacity, but I knew he was, he was introduced to me as his doctor, Ortega said about Dr. Murray.


Ortega said he doesn’t recall the conversation with Payne about MJ being treated for sleeping problems. He doesn’t dispute that he may have


Ortega: I believe I was under the impression Michael was seeing doctor. I believe when he showed up like that he had been to a doctor


I just didn’t need Mr. Payne to make me aware of it, Ortega said, explaining he could see the problems himself.


Panish: You saw, at least 4 times, MJ come to rehearsal in a condition you’d describe as under the influence?


Ortega: Yes


Ortega said he’s not a specialist in drug addiction. Panish asked if he had discussion with Payne about it.


Ortega: I don’t recall the conversation, but most likely yes, I’m not disputing his testimony.


Panish: Do you know if at this time AEG had sick cancellation?


Ortega: No


Ortega said he had been insured for big events, like the Olympics. He took physical examination for it.


Ortega said Karen Faye, Travis Payne, Alif Sankey, assistants Stacy Walker and James Faris raised concerns about MJ’s physical condition.


I don’t think everyone spoke about it, but they were aware and concerned, Ortega said.


Ortega and Faye don’t get along on a personal level, Ortega said.


I did think she was looking after Michael’s best interests, Ortega said about Faye. She did not keep MJ secluded this time around, though.


Michael Bearden was the musical director in “This Is It” in charge of the music. Ortega said he’s top notch, very respected in the business.


Panish asked if Bearden was also concerned with MJ’s health. “He may have, yes,” Ortega responded. Bearden is brilliant, successful musician


Email On June 16 from Bearden to Ortega: Hey guys! on MJ’s lead vocal re-sings. I’m not sure if we’re going to get what we need in time. I’d like to try to get some alternate takes or un-processed leads from the vault if we can. I can go in with M Prince and re-mix  the stuff we need on the 22nd (our proposed media day). I we can get everything we need from the vault I can use what we have  and take out ad libs and such to try to make it feel new. MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time. He can use the ballads to sing live and get  his stamina back up. Once he’s healthy enough and has more strength I have full confidence he can sing the majority of the show live. His voices sounds amazing right now, he just needs to build it back up.


He wasn’t vocal ready yet, not in shape to sing and dance, Ortega said about MJ.


Ortega explained MJ was still building back his voice, that’s what Bearden was referring, to have power to sing/dance the entire show.


This exchange happened about 18 days prior to opening day.


Response on June 16, 2009 from Ortega: I have a 2:30 at MJ’s house today with Frank, Randy, Paul and the Doctor.


Email cont’d: I will add your concerns/requests to an ever growing list of items I already plan to discuss w/ MJ. The plan is he’s joining us tonight for band work. How many individual vocals are we talking about? If he put his mind to it, how long would it take?


Not necessarily to be done, but things I needed Michael to give his input, Ortega said.


Ortega doesn’t remember if he went to MJ’s house on June 16. He’s not disputing he did, though.


I would call the meeting on the 20th an intervention, Ortega said.


I could’ve had this meeting, but there were just so much going on, I could’ve been there on the 16th, I just don’t recall, Ortega said.


Ortega explained he doesn’t remember anyone telling him not to go to the June 16th meeting.


Ortega doesn’t recall whether MJ was at the rehearsals on June 16, 17 and 18. He knows MJ was at the rehearsal on June 19.


Ortega said MJ arrived at night to rehearse on June 19, probably in the evening around 9 o’clock.


I saw a Michael that frightened me, a Michael that was shivering and cold, Ortega said.


Ortega: He, I thought there was something emotionally going, on, deeply emotional, thought something physical going on. He was cold.


As to his physical condition, Ortega said MJ was shivering, just seemed fragile.


Panish: Troubling?


Ortega: Very troubling


Panish: Skinny?


Ortega: Skinny? No, he wasn’t a heavy person to begin with. It wasn’t weight I was concerned on, it was his appearance.


Panish: Did it appear he had lost weight?


Ortega: Yes


I observed Michael like I had never seen him before, Ortega said. It troubled me deeply, he appeared lost, cold, afraid.”


Ortega said MJ was coherent. “I think when he first came in he didn’t seem coherent, but when I started talking to him he became better.”


Ortega: He seemed to warm up and feel a little better, but he wasn’t well.


Panish: Did you feel something was wrong?


Ortega: Yes. Not well enough to rehearse


Ortega: I was in a room, right off the main room. I think MJ was already in the room. Karen called me and asked me to come in to the room


Ortega: No. I didn’t see him in T-shirt, so I wouldn’t know he was that thin.


Panish showed picture of MJ’s fitting on June 19th and asked if that’s how he always looked.


P: A little emaciated?


O: Yes


P: What was different?


O: His body, he looked very thin


Panish: Is that how he always looked?


Ortega: No


Ortega said MJ was covered when he saw him on June 19th, so he didn’t see him like the photo.


Panish: Did you ever seen him like that before?


Ortega: No


I remember asking for food, I asked if MJ had eaten Ortega recalled. “I remember calling the doctor, I was very upset and I was concerned”


I wanted someone who’s a professional to be aware that Michael showed up in that condition, Ortega explained.


Ortega: I know that I did my best to provide for Michael. I don’t recall if the doctor ever answered the phone or I kept leaving voicemails.


Ortega: We talked, Karen put a heater on the floor, took off his shoes, I began rubbing his feet, he said it felt very good


Ortega said MJ told him he never had his feet massaged before. “I couldn’t believe it!” Ortega said.


In the overflow room, several fans raised their hands at this point saying they would rub his feet anytime!


Ortega said he cut up the salad, Michael ate, they talked and Michael said he didn’t  want to go home, he wanted to watch the rehearsal.


Ortega said Michael asked that Travis Payne be on stage and be him, so he could seat with the director and see it.


Panish: Do you remember crying?


Ortega: Yes


Panish: Were you crying because you were concerned with Michael?


O: Yes


P: Serious concern?


Ortega: Yes


P: Being a drama queen?


O: No


P: Overreacting?


O: No


Panish: And you did everything you could?


Ortega: Yes, that I could think about it


Panish: Did you try to tell AEG there was a problem?


Ortega: I believe you have records of it


Ortega said he sent emails to AEG only when he thought it was absolutely necessary.


Panish showed email chain “Trouble At The Front”.


Ortega took a deep breath. Panish asked him if he was alright. He answered lets keep going, please.


Email from Leiweke to Phillips asking to set up a meeting. Then Phillips forwarded the email to KO asking him to be present at the meeting.


Ortega: I thought Michael had a problem on the 19th. I wasn’t thinking about the production on the 19th. I was only thinking about Michael!


Email on 6/19/09 from John Hougdahl to Gongaware and Phillips


Subject: Trouble at the front. Paul/Randy. I’m not being a drama queen here…


Email cont’d: Kenny asked me to notify you both. MJ was sent home without stepping foot on stage. He was a basket case


Email cont’d: and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet – get hurt.


Email ends: The company is rehearsing right now, but the DOUBT is pervasive. Time to circle the wagons. Bugzee


This isn’t my email, I didn’t ask him to write this email, I asked him to reach out to Paul and Randy Ortega said. “These aren’t my words”


I made him aware of the situation, Ortega said about Hougdahl. “I don’t even know I personally said it to him or sent someone else.”


Ortega: I didn’t leave MJ’s side until he left. I wanted to be with him, I didn’t want to leave his side.


Ortega said he remembers having thoughts at the StaplesCenter and typed his email probably while still there.


Ortega said he didn’t respond to the chain of emails, but was only offering his accounting of the day.


Trouble At The Front Email:


Ortega wrote: I will do whatever I can to be of help with this situation.


My concern is now that we’ve brought the Doctor in to the fold and have played the tough love, now or never card,is that the Artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real emotional stuff. He appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a terrible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light, it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing. I was told by our choreographer that during the artists costume fitting with his designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight. As far as I can tell, there’s no one taking responsibility (caring for) for him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him, wrapping him in blankets to warm his chill, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor. There were four security guards outside his door, but no one offering him a cup of hot tea. Finally, it’s important for everyone 2 know, I believe that really he wants this. It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away He asked me repeatedly tonight if i was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart.


Ortega began to cry while reading this part of the email.


Email ends: He was like a lost boy. There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.


I’m not ok right now, Ortega said. Judge asked if he wanted a break, he asked for a few minutes. Judge gave a 10-minute break.


After the break, Ortega apologized to everyone. Testimony resumed.


Panish showed phone records of Ortega where he called Dr. Murray several times on June 19th.


Ortega said he doesn’t remember speaking with the doctor. He said he believes he did the best he could to reach him, though.


Ortega: I really didn’t know what Dr. Murray did, but Michael showing up in this condition, I had a concern.


Panish: Did you have a concern about Dr. Murray at this time?


I was concerned about Michael being in this state when he had a doctor, Ortega said.


Apologies… exceeded number of tweets again! Here’s more of Kenny Ortega’s testimony today.


The doctor in the fold means he was in charge of Michael’s schedule and it involved me, Ortega said.


I believe this was something else, it was not the tough love, you have to show up of this is not going to happen, Ortega said.


It was real emotional stuff, Ortega testified. “I just felt he wasn’t present, he wasn’t there.


Ortega: I’m not a doctor, I just felt there was something going on, more than physical. My response was to have a professional evaluate him


Panish: And you had a real concern with Dr. Murray?


Ortega: Yes


Panish asked if Ortega thought MJ was not being cared for. “Not at the level I’d expected Michael deserved,” he answered.


I was not feeding (MJ) literally, I did not feed Michael, Ortega said.


Panish: Were you scared about Michael?


Ortega: Absolutely in the beginning, a little less in the end, when he was a little warm, better


Ortega: I tried the doctor, who I thought it would be the most natural, and then reached out to AEG, Michael’s partners, for help


Ortega said he could’ve walked away, and MJ would’ve been left without a director.


I didn’t believe it could go forward at this point, at this night Ortega said. “I wanted it for him, I know it was what he wanted for himself”


He seems lost, not like the Michael I’d seen, Ortega said. “I couldn’t see his body but his physical presence wasn’t what I had seen last”


Ortega said he believes his email was a strong suggestion that MJ needed to be seen by a doctor for his psychological condition.


Ortega said he didn’t see Randy until next day, on the 20th, when he was at the meeting at Carolwood house.


Panish: Did you discuss with Randy Phillips, 5 days before MJ’s death, about pulling the plug?


Ortega: Not that I recall


Panish: How would MJ be if show was canceled?


Ortega: I know how deeply it mattered to him to do these shows


I said I thought it would break his heart, Ortega explained.


Ortega said he doesn’t remember an email response from Randy Phillips to his email.


Email from Phillips: Kenny, I will call you when I figure this out. We have a person like that, Brigitte, who’s in London advancing his stay


Email cont’d: We will bring her back ASAP and Frank, too, however, I’m stymied on who to bring in as a therapist


Email ends:  and how they can get through to him in such a short time.


Panish: You were not concerned with the business side, but with Michael Jackson?


Ortega: Yes


Ortega: I didn’t want to break Michael’s heart, I was torn. My instinct was to stop the show, but I didn’t want to break Michael’s heart.


Ortega responded Phillips: Randy, I’m at home awaiting your call or instructions. I honestly don’t think he is ready for this based on his continued physical weakening and deepening emotional state. It is reminiscent of what Karen, Bush, Travis and obsessive-like behavior. I think the best thing we can do it is get a top Psychiatrist on to evaluate him ASAP. It’s like there are two people there. On (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit on him, the other in this weakened and troubled state.


Ortega: He was afraid for one thing I was going to leave him. Anxiety: he was anxious he didn’t want me to leave or quit


Ortega: Obsessive behavior: he was repeating for me not to quit or leave him


There was no question in my mind that Michael wanted to do the shows, Ortega said.


Ortega: ‘There’s nothing to be afraid of, we are going to do this, This Is It.’ That’s the Michael I had allegiance to.


Phillips responded to Ortega that he not be an amateur psychiatrist. Ortega said that was not his intention.


Ortega said he does not know whether Dr. Murray was ever successful, unbiased and ethical. The director did not check the doctor out himself


Ortega didn’t think Dr. Murray was giving good care to MJ.


P: Raise a red flag?


O: Yes


Panish: Do you think you were trying to sound an alarm?


Ortega: Yes


P: Why?


O: Because I was concerned


Panish: Were you trying to concern Mr. Phillips about this situation?


Ortega: Yes


I saw something that troubled me deeply and I felt it needed attention, Ortega said.


Ortega: I had seen something deeply troubling and I wanted to be taken seriously.


I felt Michael was in trouble and needed help, Ortega said.


Panish: If Phillips were more concerned about getting the show on the road rather than MJ, would that worry you?


Ortega: Yes, because they were talking about a person’s health, I was more concerned about Michael’s health than anything else at that time.


Phillips testified he thought Ortega was entrenched in the situation and not being open minded. Ortega disagreed with Phillips’ perception.


I got the impression that Randy would be looking over and investigate himself, Ortega explained.


Panish: Did Randy Phillips ever tell you what the problem with MJ was?


Ortega: No


Dr. Murray, in some capacity, tried to tell Ortega what was happening. But the director never got an answer to what was wrong with MJ.


Ortega: I wanted it to be taken care of, whatever it was, I wanted it looked into and taken care of.


Panish: In all the time you knew MJ, did you ever see him in the condition he was on June 19th?


Ortega: No


I just wanted Michael to be ok, Phillips said. He trusted both Phillips and Gongaware.


P: Distraught?


O: Yes


Panish: Do you know how you felt?


Ortega: I was stressed


Gongaware told Ortega about the meeting on the 20th. Neither Phillips nor Dr. Murray ever told Ortega they spoke on the phone for 20 mins.


Meeting on the 20th was between Michael, Dr. Murray, Randy Phillips and myself. It happened at the parlor in the house.


Ortega said when he realized the meeting was about him, he stood up to express his feelings.


Ortega did not stay very long at that meeting. He estimates 10-15 minutes, definitely under a half an hour.


Ortega left by himself. The others stayed: Jackson, Dr. Murray and Phillips.


Ortega said Dr. Murray began the meeting. He said he had a feeling the meeting would be about the night before and the depth of his concerns


P: Who was accusing you?


O: Dr. Murray


Panish: Who was the one being accused?


Ortega: Me


Ortega described the meeting as “accusatory.”


Dr. Murray was upset with Ortega, the director said.


Panish: Did Phillips ever tell you that he had a phone conversation, for 20 minutes, on June 20th with Dr Murray?


Ortega: Yes, through email


Ortega said all he’s familiar with is that Phillips had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Murray at some point.


Panish: Did you think MJ was in decline?


Ortega: Yes


Panish; Was he mentally able and stable?


Ortega: I certainly didn’t think on June 19th.


Ortega said Dr. Murray was angry at him at the meeting, “I was shocked,” Ortega explained.


Ortega: I was shocked because what he was saying it wasn’t at all reflecting of what happened.


Ortega said he excused himself. Dr. Murray said MJ was fine and could handle all responsibilities for the show.


I was flabbergasted! Because I didn’t believe that was possible, Ortega testified, saying he felt hurt, insulted.


Panish asked if he was ever treated like that in his long career. “Oh sure!” Ortega responded.


Ortega: Have I ever being talked down, hurt, insulted? Yes, so many times I can’t tell you!


Panish: Did Michael stick up for you?


Ortega: Yes


Ortega: He (Dr. Murray) was upset with me, and he said I had no right to not let MJ rehearse.


Ortega: Dr. Murray said MJ was physically and emotionally capable to handle all the responsibilities of the performance.


Ortega said Dr. Murray told him to stick with his job and to leave the doctor job to him.


Ortega testified he asked Michael to explain to Dr. Murray that MJ asked to stay, but the evening was different. And MJ did just that.


MJ stood up, gave Ortega a hug before he left. “The doctor suggested that MJ had told him one thing and now was saying another” Ortega said


Michael said no, no, no, they were in disagreement too, Ortega said. The director told MJ he only cared about MJ.


Ortega said MJ responded ‘I know, I know, I love you, I will take the reins.’


Panish: And 5 days later Michael was dead


When Michael Jackson showed up at rehearsal on June 23, Ortega said: “It was miraculous!”


Ortega: Whatever the flu, whatever it was, it was just not present. I didn’t ask questions, I was just overjoyed.


Ortega: Yes


Ortega said everyone noticed the drastic change. “I didn’t know anything about any medication.”


He had a metamorphosis, Ortega said, in awe. “Pretty extraordinary.”


I doubted myself, I remember going did I see something? Ortega said. Michael just didn’t seem the Michael he saw on June 19th.


Panish: Do you know if Dr. Murray had stopped giving MJ Propofol?


Ortega: I had no idea


Earth song was the last song Michael rehearse. Panish asked if MJ did it well. Ortega smiled and answered yes. Ortega takes very deep breath


Panish: What happened the next day?


Ortega: Michael died (Ortega’s voice cracked a little)


I was standing on the stage, waiting for Michael, Ortega recalled. The director said StaplesCenter was like refrigerators, so cold.


Panish show video of Earth song. This is the last song he rehearsed, Ortega said. He was bundled up in several layers of clothing.


Ortega’s favorite songs are: 1- Man in the Mirror 2- Billie Jean 3- 100 other songs all tied in the 3rd place


Phillips was to pick MJ up at the Carolwood house to bring MJ to rehearsal. Obviously, he never showed up, Panish noted.


Gongaware called Ortega from the hospital. “Our boy is gone,” Ortega said Gongaware told him.


But Ortega said he didn’t believe him. “I said I’m not trusting this is Paul Gongaware.”


Ortega said Gongaware told him to sit down. Ortega asked Gongaware to tell him something only the two would know to prove it was Gongaware


You have to sit down and get a hold of yourself, Gongaware told Ortega on the phone. “Listen to me, Michael’s gone.”


I wanted to believe it was some weirdo calling me, it was a very awkward phone call and I didn’t want to believe him, Ortega testified.


Phillips never said anything at the meeting on the 20th, was more like a bystander, Ortega said.


Ortega said they never did a full run-through of the show.


Ortega believes AEG paid him everything they owed him for the work done. Sony paid him for the musical documentary.


Ortega said he believes Sony kept all the film in a vault so the video would not get leaked.


Ortega said MJ’s intention was to take the show out to the world one more time and end it in the US. Ortega would get bonuses if that happened


Judge asked why he’d get bonus if his job was done. Ortega said it’s like getting royalties, since he was one of the creators of the show.


Ortega said MJ had intention to do movies inspired in his songs “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal.”


Panish: How did you react?


Ortega: Yes, please!


Ortega: He invented music video, the list goes on and on. He raised the bar in every area he worked in


Panish asked what was MJ’s background.


Ortega said MJ was fantastic songwriter, singer, musician, dancer and also a filmmaker. “We worked together really, really well” Ortega said


Ortega recalled they had a chance to work together on “This Is It,” they made 4 short films.


Panish showed picture of MJ looking at the viewfinder of the camera used to film movies, Ortega next to him.


Anything Michael wanted to do with me I was interested in, Ortega said.


Photo of MJ, Ortega and young Prince: Attractive, Ortega joked. “You didn’t show my phone number, but showed my profile!


Ortega: Along w/ the way he talked about his mother, the kids were the single greatest blessing, brought the greatest happiness to his world


Ortega said MJ gave them Christmas every day of the year. “There was just evidence of fun.”


Ortega: He was just there for them, he was concerned about them, he was parental.


Regarding the children, Ortega said:  “They loved their father, it was very clear, very evident, it was obvious.”


He loved her dearly, Ortega said about MJ and Katherine Jackson. “He cared deeply about her.”


Panish said he has no further questions at this time. AEG’s attorney, Marvin Putnam, did cross examination.


Ortega said AEG is paying his legal fees because it is their contractual obligation to do so. It’s written in his contract.


Putnam referred back to June 19th. Ortega reiterated that he didn’t everything he could that night.


Ortega said he had been worried about MJ’s mental state before during the HBO Concerts in 1995. “I thought he was anxious,” he said.


No one from AEG was present during the 95 incident. Ortega said it was different from the 19th, though. In 95, he was anxious, unhappy.


Ortega explained the 1995 one was the only experience he had with MJ that was similar.


Ortega had never seen MJ physically weak like he saw him on the 19th.


MJ got better as the night went on on June 19th. “He was just more articulated, in the room, warm, engaged and calmed,” Ortega said.


Ortega said the 1st day he met Murray, MJ introduced him as “my doctor.” Putnam asked if MJ said Murray was the tour doctor. Ortega said no


Putnam: Are you trying to be evasive?


Ortega: No, I’m trying to do my best


Ugh!!! Twitter jail again!!! Frustrating, but we want to bring you all the details of the testimony. Please bear with us…


Putnam showed Ortega’s phone records on June 19th. There are 2 calls from Ortega to Dr. Murray and 1 from Murray to Ortega, all very short.


After the calls to Dr. Murray, Ortega said Michael was eating, they had late conversation, he was rubbing his feet.


Ortega: Michael wanting to stay and watch, we went on stage, Travis stood in for MJ, we did pyrotechnics if I’m not mistaken, then MJ left.


Ortega didn’t contact AEG himself, but asked someone to do it on his behalf. Putnam asked why he wanted to alert AEG about MJ.


Because we were all on the same team, Ortega responded. “I thought we needed to help Michael.”


Putnam asked if Ortega understands why Phillips was having difficulty  figuring out what was going on.


On one hand, Ortega was saying there was a problem. On the other hand, Dr. Murray said everything was ok. Ortega answered yes.


Putnam asked what Ortega thought Phillips and Gongaware felt about MJ: “I felt they loved him,” Ortega responded.


Putnam: Any reason to believe they don’t?


Ortega: No


Putnam: Any reason to believe they didn’t?


Ortega: No


Putnam: Why?


Because of the way that they supported him throughout the entire venture, Ortega said.


Putnam said he’s looking fwd to seeing Ortega again in a few weeks. The director has business engagement overseas, won’t be back for weeks.


Court adjourned until this morning. Plaintiffs will finish up Taj Jackson and then call Arty Erk — an entertainment earnings expert.


Erk is supposed to offer info on how much MJ would’ve earned, mostly from the concert.

If Ortega weren’t the one who initiated all that pressure on Michael during the rehearsals I would even believe some of his present tears summed up by Alan Duke:

Concert director brings tearful testimony to Michael Jackson death trial

By Alan Duke, CNN

July 11, 2013 — Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT)

Los Angeles (CNN) — Kenny Ortega choked up with emotion as he read aloud an e-mail he wrote days before Michael Jackson’s death.

“He was like a lost boy,” Ortega read. “There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.”

The director of Jackson’s comeback concerts testified for a third day Wednesday in the wrongful death trial of AEG Live, the promoter and producer of the This Is It tour.

“I’m not OK right now,” Ortega told the judge. “Can I have a second?”

Judge Yvette Palazuelos allowed Ortega to go alone into the jury room for several minutes before returning for more testimony.

It was one of several times that Ortega shed tears during testimony that described a weak and paranoid Michael Jackson six days before his death, but a revived Michael Jackson in his last two days. Jackson’s mother, who is suing AEG Live, also cried as she listened to Ortega.

The Jacksons contend that AEG Live executives hired, retained or supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who admitted to police he was giving the singer nightly infusions of propofol. The coroner ruled Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death was the result of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic, which Murray said he was using to treat Jackson’s insomnia. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

AEG Live lawyers argue Jackson chose and controlled Murray, and their executives had no way of knowing about the dangerous treatments he was giving Jackson in the privacy of the entertainer’s bedroom.

But, according to testimony and e-mails, AEG Live execs put Murray in charge of Jackson’s rehearsal schedule after Ortega complained that Jackson had been missing so many rehearsals that the tour was in danger.

Jackson lawyers argued that Murray was influenced by a conflict of interest — created by his arrangement with AEG Live — to continue dangerous propofol infusions to help Jackson rest for rehearsals. He was $1 million in debt and had abandoned his medical practice two months earlier to serve as Jackson’s personal physician for the tour. If he failed to get Jackson to rehearsals, the shows might be postponed or canceled and he would be out of a job, they argue.

Ortega: “I felt that we should stop”

After a poor rehearsal on June 13, 2009, and a missed rehearsal the next day, Ortega expressed his concern in an e-mail to AEG Live co-CEO Paul Gongaware: “Were you aware that MJ’s Doctor didn’t permit him to attend rehearsals yesterday? Are Randy and Frank (DiLeo, another Jackson manager) aware of this? Please have them stay on top of his health situation without invading MJ’s privacy. It might be a good idea to talk with his Doctor to make sure everything MJ requires is in place.”

The AEG Live executives later told him they met with Murray and put him in charge of getting Jackson to rehearsals, Ortega said. The director said he was told that if he needed to know whether Jackson was coming to a rehearsal, he should call the doctor. Ortega was given Murray’s cell phone number, which he said he programmed into his own phone.

After Jackson was a no-show for another week, Ortega had a 30-minute conversation with Murray.

“I was told he was creating the schedule and the schedule wasn’t working,” Ortega testified. “He was my lifeline, so to speak.” Ortega said he was venting his frustrations with Jackson and was “crying out.”

While Jackson showed up on June 19, “he appeared lost, cold, afraid,” Ortega said.

“I saw a Michael that frightened me, a Michael that was shivering and cold,” Ortega testified. “I thought there was something emotional going on, deeply emotional, and something physical going on. He seemed fragile.”

He persuaded Jackson not to go onstage that night because he was afraid he would hurt himself, he testified. Instead, Jackson agreed to watch the rehearsal with choreographer Travis Payne dancing his parts.

Jackson appeared paranoid and afraid, he said. “He was repeating for me not to quit or to leave him. He was afraid that I was going to quit or leave him.”

With just a dozen days left for rehearsals before the touring company moved to London for the opening, Ortega testified, he was worried “that all that we had worked for together, Michael and I — this dream, this desire — was going to fall away.”

Ortega testified that on June 19, he “felt that we should stop” the production, but he was “torn because I did not want to break Michael’s heart.”

Ortega sent a series of e-mails that night and the next morning to AEG Live executives warning that they needed professional help for Jackson.

“There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior,” Ortega wrote. “I think the very best thing we can do is get a top psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP. It’s like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not waiting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state.”

Ortega testified that he was called to a meeting with AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, Jackson and Murray at Jackson’s home on June 20, hours after he sent those e-mails.

Murray angrily confronted him, Ortega testified. “He said I had no right to not let Michael rehearse, that Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all his responsibility as a performer and I should be a director and not an amateur doctor or psychologist. I should stick to my job and leave the rest to him.”

Jackson died while under Murray’s care five days later, in a bedroom just upstairs from the parlor where the meeting took place.

“A metamorphosis”

A much different Jackson appeared at the next scheduled rehearsal on June 23. “It was miraculous,” Ortega testified.

“I was overjoyed at his energy, his state of mind, his enthusiasm,” he said. “He had a metamorphosis. It was pretty extraordinary.”

Murray told investigators he stopped using propofol to induce Jackson’s sleep for the two previous nights — after 60 nights of it. Jackson lawyers contend that is why Jackson was revitalized.

Ortega said Jackson appeared to have gotten “real sleep, organic sleep.”

A sleep expert testified last month that someone can recover quickly from heavy use of propofol, which interrupts the normal sleep cycles. All of the symptoms that Ortega saw in Jackson on June 19 suggested Jackson had been deprived of real sleep for weeks, the expert said.

Jurors watched a video of “Earth Song,” the final song Jackson performed at the June 24 rehearsal — his last. “I love this piece,” Ortega said as he watched.

“Our boy is gone”

Ortega was standing on the StaplesCenter stage in Los Angeles the next day when he got a call from AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware telling him Jackson was dead.

“Our boy is gone” Gongaware told him, he said.

“I think I was in shock,” Ortega said. “I wanted to believe that it was some weirdo on the phone.”

Ortega, who had worked with Jackson on other tours and projects, testified Tuesday that he would have been less likely to agree to direct This Is It if he had known what happened the day Jackson was to appear in London to announce the tour.

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips testified last month that he “slapped” and “screamed” at Jackson because he was “nerve-racked” on that day, March 5, 2009. Phillips recounted that it was “a miracle” that a “drunk and despondent” Jackson finally appeared at the London event. AEG was hosting thousands of Jackson fans and hundreds of journalists for the anticipated announcement, which was to be seen live around the world.

“I screamed at him so loud the walls were shaking,” Phillips wrote to AEG parent company CEO Tim Leiweke. “Tohme (Jackson’s manager) and I have dressed him, and they are finishing his hair, and then we are rushing to the O2. This is the scariest thing I have ever seen. He’s an emotionally paralyzed mess, filled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time. He is scared to death. Right now I just want to get through this press conference.”

AEG Live executives did not tell Ortega about the incident when they approached him days later to direct the show, he said. He would have been “less likely” to accept the job had he known, because of his concern about how the preparation for the tour would affect Jackson emotionally and physically, he said.

Taj Jackson, Michael Jackson’s oldest nephew, returns to the witness stand Thursday morning to continue his testimony begun last month.

The trial, which is in its 11th week, is expected to conclude sometime in August. The Jackson lawyers said they should call their last witness next week, which would be followed by AEG Live presenting its defense.

One of the readers of the article said what most probably all of us think about it:

I am not a fan — I never much liked him … BUT it seems to me everyone used him to not only further their own career but also to help fullfill their own personal agendas (wealth, credibility, etc.. etc..)

This was one big bandwagon everyone so eagerly jumped on – but as the horse pulling it all grew weary and tired… no one cared… instead yelled out “You can do it !” “Almost there!” and did whatever they could – pumped into him whatever they needed to…. to keep him on his two feet.

And now? No one is taking the blame.. but everyone is certainly pointing fingers.

Know what? Opening your mouth now, about things you knew was happening then only proves to many of us >> you did not a darn thing to stop it…..

If I was in this for what ever reason and saw a person being used in this fashion – even if they were my worst enemy – I would of grabbed their hand and taken them out of that for their own good… to save them from themself and friends…. and family and associates… they trusted.

You – them – all of those involved slowly sucked the life out of him…. as you so eagerly tried to suck every bit of anything else you could get… before.. he was unable to give more.

Don’t come here to say you saw it happen and toss us the reasons why you did.. nothing. You still did.. nothing. Go away… go away in shame alll of you that felt what you wanted was worth this person’s life….

He was in the end – just a puppet for all of you…

And it sickens me..

Thursday July 12, 2013 DAY 47

Taj Jackson's wedding

Taj Jackson’s wedding in June 2013

Taj Jackson resumed the stand.

Before his testimony an important note was presented to court –Michael wrote: “Tohme away from my $ now. No contact. Where’s my house (underlined twice)”.

So Michael evidently suspected Tohme of embezzling his money and was wondering where is the money he gave him for the house. In this connection it is interesting to recall that approximately at that time Tohme bought a house for himself at some $6mln or so, and later had to return $5mln. to the Estate when it was found that it was Michael’s money.

Taj Jackson says he kept a box of documents from Michael’s bedroom which he passed over to the Jacksons’ attorney early this year. He realized that no one even remembered that he had those documents at all.

He also had two computers from Michael’s home – one with the music, and the other used by the security team. The music computer was given to the Estate, and the security computer was left at Havenhurst house, and he did not see it since then.

Computers disappearing here and there are becoming a trademark feature of this case. It was the computer of the security team! It must have registered everyone who was coming in and out those days! It had invaluable information and now it is probably gone?

What also struck me is that AEG’s lawyers are so set on compromising Grace Rwaramba that they got themselves into an awkward situation with confusing Nancy Grace with nanny Grace.

Alan Duke said that the laughter in the room did not subside for several seconds:

Lawyer confuses Nancy Grace with nanny Grace in Jackson death trial

By Alan Duke, CNN

July 12, 2013 — Updated 1040 GMT (1840 HKT)

Los Angeles (CNN) — An AEG Live lawyer made an embarrassing mistake in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial — confusing HLN host Nancy Grace with the Jacksons’ former nanny.

It happened Thursday as attorney Kathryn Cahan cross examined Taj Jackson — Michael Jackson’s oldest nephew — who had just described a close and lovely relationship between the late pop icon and his three children.

Did Taj Jackson think Grace Rwaramba — who served for years as the nanny for Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson — was “dishonest at times,” Cahan asked.

The judge ordered him to answer, overruling a Jackson lawyer’s objections that the question was irrelevant to the case.

“I have not experienced her dishonesty,” Jackson answered.

Cahan then presented something she apparently thought would discredit Jackson’s testimony, showing he was not being honest. It was a “TwitLonger” message posted online by him on December 11, 2011. TwitLonger is a service that allows users to post longer messages on Twitter.

Taj Jackson was discussing his dislike of journalist Roger Friedman, who he called “anti-Jackson” and a “sneaky snake.”

“Sorry… but there are a couple of people who truly disgust me. And to me, he belongs in the same category as Grace, Dimond, and Bashir,” he wrote.

Does that document refresh his recollection of your opinion of Grace Rwaramba, Cahan asked.

“That’s not the same,” he responded. “That’s Nancy Grace!”

It took several seconds for the loud laughter in the courtroom to subside.

A proud note by Michael about his son Blanket

A proud note by Michael about his son Blanket

Dimond is Diane Dimond, a journalist unpopular with many Jackson fans for writing a book about Jackson’s child molestation trial, and Bashir is the journalist who conducted a series of interviews with Jackson that fans blame for triggering the molestation charges.

Grace Rwaramba — not the TV host — is expected to testify in the next week about her observations of Michael Jackson’s relationship with his children.

If jurors decide that AEG Live is liable for damages in Jackson’s death, they will have to place a monetary value on the emotional loss his children suffered. Two handwritten notes found in Jackson’s bedroom by the family were read to jurors Thursday in an effort to demonstrate the love.

Note from Paris to her father

Note from Paris to her father: X stands for hugs, O for love (or the other way about)

Taj Jackson identified one as the handwriting of Paris, who was 11 when her father died: “Dear Daddy, I love you so much & I’m so glad I got a goodnight hug. Sleep well. I love you and good night. I’ll see you tomorrow. XOX Goodnight. Lots of love Paris Jackson”

The other note was Michael Jackson’s handwriting: “Words of Blanket my son, 6 years young. ‘What’s your favorite letter Daddy? Mine is ‘G’ for God and D for Daddy’ age 6, Blanket.”

Jackson lawyer Deborah Chang suggested the father’s note showed how dedicated he was to his children since he took time to write down what his young son said.

An expert in entertainment economics will be on the stand when the trial enters its12th week Monday in a Los Angeles court. Certified Public Accountant Arthur Erk, who audits the earnings of some of the world’s biggest entertainers, will give his opinion on how much income Jackson would have earned had he not died of a propofol overdose while preparing for a comeback tour four years ago.

Jackson’s mother and three children contend that AEG Live, the promoter and producer of the “This Is It” concerts, was liable for the the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

AEG Live lawyers argue it was Jackson, not their executives, who chose and controlled Dr. Murray and that they had no way of knowing about the dangerous propofol infusions he was giving Jackson to treat his insomnia.

Here is Taj Jackson’s testimony:

Thursday July 12, DAY 47


Session has started this morning. The attorneys are discussing with the judge whether to allow jurors to see some hand notes MJ wrote.


Side note: Yesterday, some fans brought flowers for Mrs. Jackson. They were not allowed to give them to her, though.


However, this morning Mrs. Jackson thanked the fans for the flowers and hugged them.


Judge is now in her chambers waiting for the attorneys to talk amongst themselves to see if they agree on a resolution.


@luv2dance73 We don’t know yet if Dr. Murray will take the stand. If he does, it will probably be in the defendants case in chief.


Photo shown to the jury of Michael Jackson looking at the viewfinder of a camera, watched by Ortega.


Kenny Ortega and Michael Jackson.


MJ, Ortega and young Prince. This is the profile photo Ortega joked about it saying he looked “attractive”.


Katherine Jackson is present in a bright coral pink jacquard jacket. Taj Jackson is about to take the stand.


The judge reversed her earlier decision not allowing Jacksons to show the handwritten notes based on hearsay.


Jacksons’ attorney Debra Chang successfully argued that the notes would be admissible under state and federal evidence code 1250.


Chang said there’s an exception if it reflects a feeling, emotional or physical reaction. Judge agreed.


One note reads: Tohme away from my $ now. No contact. Where’s my house (underlined twice)


Jury entered the courtroom at 11:20 am PT. Judge apologized to the jury for keep them waiting so long.


Deborah Chang, attorney for the Jacksons, doing direct examination.


Judge said the attorneys had to discuss issues that takes some time.


Taj: Some people would argue we were his (MJ) children before he had his children


He was definitely our mentor, everything we did in life we kind of geared to what he was doing, Taj explained.


Taj said he has several handwritten notes from MJ that he saved as keepsake.


Note MJ wrote: Taj, I love you all and am proud of you. PS. please rehearse


Taj said it is written in a Neverland stationary, has the logo at the bottom.


He wrote various notes to me like this, Taj said. “That was probably from my mom telling him we were not rehearsing that much.”


Taj was the piano player. MJ bought him his first instruments.


Note MJ wrote Taj.


Chang showed a picture of MJ getting his Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Taj and TJ were present.


Taj said MJ would ask him to watch his kids when he needed. He was also in charge of MJ’s storage.


It would be foolish not to ask his advise, Taj said, explaining they could, and would, ask anything they wanted.


He picked out a lot of our songs, some we didn’t like that much and he told us why they were important, Taj testified.


Taj: He was a perfectionist when it came to his craft. He would study, study, study, and tell us to study the greatest, top 10 singers.


The demo sounded a little old fashioned, we couldn’t hear what he was hearing, Taj said about “I Need You” song.


Taj said they were recording down the street from MJ’s recording studio. His uncle lent his voice to the end of the song.


Taj: What’s most amazing, it was all in one take, he didn’t try again, all you hear was all in one take


The song “I Need You” was a success for them. Chang played a snippet of the music video. MJ was not part of it, just his voice.


We were always trying to do what our uncle was doing, Taj said, mentioning the choir in the song.


Taj said MJ would tell him ‘you have to carry on the legacy, carry on the torch when I retire.’


Michael taught Taj and his siblings to listen to the same music several times and hear different instruments each time.


I don’t want to give out too many secrets, Taj said, laughing.


Taj: For him it was about studying, that’s what we learned as well. I started at 12 years old, but didn’t start 3T until I was about 19.


Taj said he and MJ share their mutual love for music and movies. They would watch it in different ways, once without sound, then with sound.


It was kind of intimidating to me, Taj said, since he didn’t know much about movie and said he needed to learn a lot to become a filmmaker


Taj said the robot transformer in the “Moonwalker” film was in their honor, because they loved the transformers.


He was constantly studying and reading about directing, he knew it back and forth and would test us, Taj said.


MJ hired a USC professor to teach him movie directing. Taj said the children also learned from the professor.


Taj said MJ loved King Tut, he loved Egypt, egyptian culture.


MJ wanted him to study 3D, Taj said, since he loved the technology and wanted to do things with it. He wanted Taj to master it.


Captain EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is playing at Disneyland. It’s a 3D science fiction film with MJ’s music.


Taj said he would stay with his uncle weeks at times. He said he lived at Neverland for about a year, majority of times with his uncle.


Taj said he witnessed MJ writing notes to himself. He said he learned it from his uncle and keeps notes himself nowadays.


He liked to conduct meetings usually over the phone, Taj said. MJ would keep the phone on speaker so Taj would learn the business dealings


Taj estimated over 100 meetings over the phone, probably over 20 in person.


Michael believed in “What you conceive, you believe, you achieve,” Taj testified.


Taj said MJ would write down his ideas and what he wanted to achieve. He would see his uncle write on anything he could write.


Chang showed picture of a mirror with several notes hang on it. “Michael was very sentimental,” Taj said.


Taj said MJ kept several items as mementos. Taj ran through a window at Neverland when he was 3 and MJ kept the blanket he was wrapped in.


Taj explained the system MJ had in his life.


Types of Documents


1- Inspirational (“Law of Attraction”)


2- Loving Keepsakes (notes)


3- “To Do” Topics to Cover During Meetings to Have Others Do


Taj said after MJ died he went to Carolwood house to collect some of MJ’s belongings. He said he wanted to keep them for his cousins.


Taj said when his mother died, he lost a lot of things either in storage or they were auctioned off and it was very painful for them.


Taj retrieved a box of documents from MJ’s storage. The attorneys stipulated some of the notes were MJ’s handwriting.


Judge then broke session for lunch. Testimony should resume within 30 minutes.


Picture of Taj, his siblings and his late mother, shown to the jury last time Taj testified.


Photo of Taj and Michael Jackson at Neverland in a roller coast. Also shown last time around.


Taj’s wedding picture


Another note Michael Jackson wrote Taj.


Taj kissed his grandmother Katherine shortly before taking the stand in the afternoon.


Taj said he’s familiar with Paris’ handwriting, has seen her doing homework.


Note from Paris to MJ: Dear Daddy,I love you so much & I’m so happy I got a goodnight hug. Sleep well, I love you & good night. I’ll see you tomorrow! XOX, goodnight and lots of love.Paris Jackson


Here’s Paris’ note, shown to the jury.


Words of Blanket my son 6 years young


Note Michael wrote to himself: Age 6. Blanket. What’s your favorite letter Daddy? Mine is G” for God and “D” for Daddy”


Here’s MJ’s note about Blanket.


That ended Jacksons side questioning of Taj. AEG attorney, Kathryn Cahan, is doing cross examination.


Taj said he was the one family member who spent the most time with MJ (out of his cousins and extended family.)


Taj visited MJ in every tour he did: Triumph, Victory, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory. He stayed at the hotels with MJ’s, went to his room.


Cahan: Did you ever see any signs of MJ using drugs?


Taj: No


In 2008, MJ was living in Las Vegas. Taj saw him regularly during that time. “He was definitely happy and healthy, yes,” Taj testified.


Taj said that after living in Neverland, MJ went overseas and then to Las Vegas. Taj saw MJ maybe twice, when he was at the Bel Air Hotel.


Taj said he never saw MJ use drugs. “I didn’t even know he had moved,” Taj said about MJ moving in to Carolwood house in 2008.


The last time Taj saw MJ alive was in May of 2009 during his grandparent’s 60th anniversary party. He never went to the Carolwood house.


Taj said that when they learned MJ was going on tour, they stayed away and gave him space. They knew they could be a distraction for MJ.


I know MJ was on the phone once to stop an auction, Taj said. Call wasn’t to Taj though, he doesn’t recall talking to MJ on the phone.


Taj heard MJ was recording an album for the news or family members. The album started in 2008, Taj said.


He was constantly recording and writing, Taj said. “He juggled a lot of things.”


Taj: There were very few people my uncle trusted.


Taj said MJ wanted to put the storage facilities in Taj’s name.


Taj: He had been betrayed his whole life. He knew he could trust me and if something happened to him I would do the right thing.


Taj said his mom did the same thing, put her valuables in a safe. However, his mom’s possession in the storage locker were auctioned off.


Taj: A company sued our family for not performing at a certain event and they put a lien on the storage.


Taj: The storage unit got tied up and unfortunately we became the victims of it.


Taj said MJ had sentimental things in the storage that he wanted to keep for his children.


Taj said the storage was full with stuff from Neverland. It had furniture, arts, arcade games.


MJ had 2 storage lockers. One in Vegas is half of the size of the courtroom (30×37 feet) and the one in Buellton was at least 4 times bigger


Cahan asked if Taj was being paid to take care of MJ’s storage. He said at first he didn’t want to get paid, but MJ insisted.


Everyone else is making money off of me, I want to take care of my family, Taj said MJ told him.


Taj said he doesn’t think MJ wanted to live at Neverland again. “It felt violated in a way, the purity of it. It didn’t feel the same.”


Taj doesn’t know when he went to Carolwood house. Rebbie and her daughter, Janet, Katherine, possibly Trent and 1 of his brothers were there


It’s a time I’d rather forget, Taj said.


Taj doesn’t remember seeing La Toya that day.


Taj testified the house seemed normal, not messy. Taj went to MJ’s bedroom on the second floor.


Cahan asked if MJ was messy. Taj said he wasn’t trying to defend his uncle, but understood him.


When you travel a lot, living out of luggages, it’s messy, Taj testified. “It looks like my place now,” Taj said, laughing.


Taj doesn’t remember who handled him the box. It was a cardboard storage box.


Taj: The idea of going there was to preserve the stuff. It’s something someone can sell on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars


He said it could be seen it was documents, that he threw in some stuff as well, but 95% of the stuff was already in the box.


Taj said he only stayed in his uncle’s master bedroom, closet and bathroom.


The box was given to me in the master bedroom, I just assumed the documents were from that area, Taj said.


It was traumatic enough to be in that room so I just wanted to get out of there quickly, Taj recalled.


Taj said he received a computer for safe-keeping.


Taj took the box to his house. He said he skimmed through some of the documents. This was in the Summer of 2009.


Taj turned over the box of documents to Sandra Ribera, one of the Jacksons attorney early this year.


The lawsuit was filed in 2010, Cahan said. Taj: “I don’t even know they remembered I had the box.”


I protected that box with my life, Taj said. He kept it hidden in his closet of his house.


He turned over the entire box to his lawyer. Taj said he was given two computers from the Carolwood house.


One was a computer with music, one was a computer used by the security team, Taj said.


Jeffrey Phillips, business partner of my aunt La Toya, gave him the computers, Taj said. He was at the Hayvenhurst house.


He handed them to me, Taj said. They were MacTowers. Taj is not sure whether he got the screen as well or not.


Taj: It was known Estate was looking for music for MJ’s new album. I’m assuming Jeffrey knew I was helping Estate out in that aspect of it.


Taj is still working with MJ’s Estate.


Taj: I turned 1 of them on, it had music files. Turned the other one on and had log in request, with Mr. Amir’s name, asking for a password


Taj could not access it, since he didn’t have the password.


The Estate was looking for 4 hard drives with music in it, Taj said. He thought that’s what was being given to him.


The music computer was given to the executors of Michael’s estate, Taj said.


Attorneys in the hallway said judge asked for it because she wanted to know why they were spending so much time on the computer issue.


Judge said the computer stuff had already been litigated during pretrial.


Taj said he called Michael Amir Williams but the password he gave him didn’t work.


Michael Amir said there was no music in that computer. The Estate, thus, was not interested in the security computer.


Taj said he left the security computer at Hayvenhurst house. He hasn’t seen the computer since.


After “TII” tour ended, MJ and Taj would make movies. “I think when TII ended, he would’ve shifted his focus to films primarily,” Taj said.


MJ’s son, Prince, was going to make movies with them too. “I’m sure more powerful people would be involved too, not just us,” Taj said.


His last words to me: After this, we’re doing films, Taj recalled.


Cahan asked if MJ ever told him he wanted to partner with Kenny Ortega, not him, to make “Thriller” 3D movie.


Taj: I’m sure he would partner with, he wanted to partner with Peter Jackson at one point. I wasn’t exclusive to him


The last 3T album was in 2003. “We dropped everything after Michael passed to be with his kids,” Taj explained.


Code Z was kind of my homage to my uncle, Taj said. “We did kind of zombie tribute to him.” It was a fake trailer, not made into movie yet


Taj said he was planning to go to London to see his uncle Michael performing.


MJ had his own record label, MJJ. Taj said MJ was concerned in putting 3T under his label in case something went wrong they would blame him.


Taj has spent a lot of time with MJ’s children after his passing. “We’ve been a unit,” Taj said.


Cahan: Has Debbie Rowe gotten back involved with the children?


Taj: Yes


She started a relationship with Paris, that’s as far as I know, Taj said. Rowe is Prince and Paris’ biological mother.


Plaintiffs asked for sidebar since judge ruled that no parentage question were to be asked. AEG said Debbie Rowe is the kids’ biological mom


Judge read admonition to jury. She said there was a question regarding the status of Debbie Rowe’s relationship with the children.


Judge said they are only to consider the relationship between Michael and the children when assessing damages, if any.


@tajjackson3 is Taj’s twitter account. Cahan asked Taj if he thinks Grace Rwamba is a truthful person. “Yes,” Taj answered.


Grace Rwamba was the children’s nanny.


Cahan then showed Taj a tweet he sent in 2011. “That’s not the same Grace,” Taj said. “That was Nancy Grace!” Everyone started laughing.


Taj was excused, may be subject to recall.


Cahan said she has no question at this time.


Here’s the tweet Taj wrote:


Plaintiffs then called his next expert witness, Arthur Erk. He’s a CPA for Citrin Cooperman, partner in the firm in New York.


Erk is in the entertainment group, handle finances for entertainment. “Music happened to be my particular specialty,” Erk said.


Erk said they have 10 sports clients in football and baseball. He became a CPA in 1978.


Erk described his extensive background in the industry. He has worked with rock back Kiss, did royalty audits.


I was retained to calculate MJ loss of future earning capacity due to his untimely leave, Erk said.


The categories in Tier 1 that Erk analyzed was Touring, Merchandising, Sponsorships and Endorsement, Las Vegas and Royalties.


For all the latest, watch @ABC7 and go to . Hope you have a great weekend! See you all on Monday!


Judge adjourned session until Monday at 10 am PT. Erk is ordered to return. There will be no session tomorrow, a jurors asked the day off.


MJ wanted to have a team show in Las Vegas based on Neverland. Erk calculated its earning, use of music for royalties.

Ortega’s testimony on July 9, 2013 from TeamMichaelJackson:

View this document on Scribd

Ortega’s testimony on July 10, 2013:

View this document on Scribd

Taj Jackson’s testimony:  (Please support TeamMichaelJackson to provide future transcripts!)

View this document on Scribd

Some more pictures from the trial:

Taj Jackson attended the Walk of fame ceremony

Taj Jackson attended the Walk of fame ceremony

3T with their mother Dolores

3T with their mother Dolores

Taj with Michael in Neverland

Taj with Michael in Neverland

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicoletta permalink
    July 16, 2013 7:21 am

    that all the damn people did not have a shred of humanity is now clear as the sun, KO first. But in the end we must say that they have been unable even to be good businessmen.

    The comment that you have given talks about Michael as a horse pulling the wagon, a horse sick and tired.

    Well, the old Italian farmers know that if they want to harvest, the horse must be treated well, and fed and watered with care because it is their treasure.

    But, of course, for them this horse was an addict, an addict freak.
    So, it seems to me, that it has pulled the coin in the air: head, wow! it works, you go ahead, cross, died …. ooops does not pull anymore.

    It is not so that you make good business, that’s not how you earn money.

    I hope with all my heart that this cause will be won by the Jackson family. Not for extreme sympathy, not for the spirit of justice, but because I want these fools villains are punished by their side that hurts more: losing their damn, fucking money.


  2. July 16, 2013 12:27 pm

    A life of great human like M.Gandhi, M.King, M.Nelson, M.Jackson, independent from anyone and anything, and that is true freedom. I call it “A human touched by god” and “It’s all for L.O.V.E.”
    A life of banal men like Bashir/Sneddon/AEGs depends on sex and money.


  3. July 16, 2013 2:41 pm

    “And I don’t believe him when he says that Michael did not come to the rehearsals for a full week before June 19th.” Helena

    Yes, also my immediate thought when I read the tweets. This could not be true due to the other testimonies.

    It really looks like Ortega was the one who put first pressure on everybody because he wanted to have Michael at the rehearsals. It’s partly understandable because he needed to get the production ready, but he felt he needed Michael to be there all the time. Several people said Michael was not present enough for Ortega. The problem is, it probably went as far as Ortega saying he would leave if Michael didn’t appear, so he could have been the one who first used the “pulling the plug” expression.
    I again read the part of Phillips’ testimony where he said: “I was concerned that if he didn’t go to rehearsals Kenny could not finish the production.” RP agreed with Ortega, and so breach of contract would have been imputed to Michael and not to Ortega.
    Ortega may have been concerned about Michael later, but he apparently played a crucial role in the pressure on Michael and in the beginning of all the occurrences and the decision-making of the last weeks.
    However, on June 20 Ortega was made look like a fool by Phillips and Murray, and Phillips demonstrated again who the boss is.


  4. July 16, 2013 3:09 pm

    “It really looks like Ortega was the one who put first pressure on everybody because he wanted to have Michael at the rehearsals. It’s partly understandable because he needed to get the production ready, but he felt he needed Michael to be there all the time. Several people said Michael was not present enough for Ortega.” -Susanne

    Travis Payne said that he didn’t agree with Ortega’s opinion that Michael missed many rehearsals. He said 5 rehearsals at the most for all time.

    I think there could be one more reason for Ortega’s panicking. They simply had too little time for preparing the show and were behind schedule. This is why it is so important to find out why AEG suddenly set the shows on a date 18 days earlier than planned. In the contract it was July 26, so why set the beginning of the show for July 8th? The rehearsals were cut by almost three weeks! Why is no one talking about it?

    It was either poor planning and mindless cut of the rehearsal period in order to leave more time for the shows and squeeze more concerts into a given period, or a deliberate plan to pressurize Michael. This lack of time was compensated for by intensifying the process. And they were doing it at Michael’s expense.

    Let’s look at some pieces of the insider’s letter once again. Much of it is getting much clearer now:

    -Michael did not get along at all with Randy Phillips. Everyone knew it, even Phillips knew it. Phillips had a very arrogant way of dealing with Michael, he was terrified that Michael would not get ready for the shows and AEG would lose a lot of money. According to this person, Phillips made it clear to several people that these concerts had to happen, no matter what, because he “had to personally convince everyone at AEG that this was a good deal” therefore his job was at risk if anything went wrong. On many occasions Phillips would go to Michael’s house with Ortega and Travis Payne whenever Michael would not show up. At times they would come back with him, at times no. The official explanations to the crew was “Michael is not feeling well today,” “Michael rehearsed at home” or “Michael is rehearsing with his vocal coach.”

    At first the crew believed it, but after a few weeks everyone started realizing something was up because even though Ortega and Payne would say everything was fine, it was obvious that they were very frustrated and nervous, and there were several heated discussions between Ortega, Phillips and Payne, but what exactly was being discussed was not clear since they always made sure they would be far enough for anyone to hear. During these conversations one of them would always be on a cellphone, and then they would pass it around to themselves. This person believes they were talking to Michael.

    -Michael, and this is shown in the movie, did not want to wear the ear monitors. As this person told me, “look at any footage from Michael in concerts in the past, and you will never find him wearing ear monitors, he did not like them, did not need them.” According to him, Ortega got upset at one time at Michael, and in front of everyone told him “you have to understand that here you do not have an option, you have to wear them, this is going to be a closed arena, not an open stadium, and the sound is different.” He said his tone was very nasty and everyone was shocked, especially since Michael looked very upset, but mostly hurt, by it.

    Interestingly, yesterday Karen Faye wrote on her facebook that Michael always complained to her that he did not like ear monitors, and asked her to tell Ortega. According to her, she did and Ortega told her “well, he has to wear them!”

    -This is very interesting. According to this person, there was absolutely no way the concert was going to be ready for opening night on July 13th, and everyone knew it. He asked me the following “when you saw the movie, you do realize right that they had to show the best scenes, the best performances, right ?” I said “yes, of course” to which he replied “so do you realize that what you have seen, most of it came from June 24th, 23rd and 22nd ? Based on what you saw, did it feel as if everything was going to be ready in 2 weeks ?” He said that Michael did not have his clothes ready, and that there was “pathetic” @#$%$ing around from different stylists that were trying to come up with ideas. But nothing was ready, no clothes, not even for the dancers. Michael wanted Michael Bush, but Travis Payne brought in that Zaldy guy, and AEG was behind Zaldy, rather than Michael Bush.

    The opening number for the concert was only done on the computer, just like we saw in the movie. It was never rehearsed, and the robot that Michael would have come out from was not ever ready. Also the closing of the show was just a concept.

    Also, they never rehearsed with implementing the videos for Smooth, Thriller and Earth as we saw in the movie, those were edited in the movie, but they never rehearsed using them, and it was still unclear how they would be used with the songs, especially Smooth Criminal.

    -Michael had fun when performing, it appeared as if it was what he needed, however off stage Michael did no look happy, he rarely interacted with the crew, other than Karen Faye and at times with Michael Bush. According to this person, Michael stayed as far as he could from Ortega, Payne and Phillips off stage, because he always felt he was being chased by them to do more, perform more and give more.

    He said that the crew in general felt Ortega was being too demanding, especially when it was obvious nothing was ready on time. But they mostly felt Ortega was being pressured by Phillips, and that it was Phillips who was just going crazy because was in a position of losing everything with these shows.


  5. July 16, 2013 3:32 pm

    “So, it seems to me, that it has pulled the coin in the air: head, wow! it works, you go ahead, cross, died …. ooops does not pull anymore.”– Nicoletta

    This is exactly the way it looks to me too. Their contract had reservations for two possibilites simultaneously – that the concerts go on forever and drain Michael of all blood until he falls, or if MJ is unable to perform they take all his assets.

    It was a win-win situation for AEG with absolutely no consideration for Michael’s interests. I have never seen anything like that. Nothing, just nothing was in Michael’s favor in that contract. It was simply unreal to see it so slanted. And now we see the manifestation of it at the trial.

    “I hope with all my heart that this cause will be won by the Jackson family. Not for extreme sympathy, not for the spirit of justice, but because I want these fools villains are punished by their side that hurts more: losing their damn, fucking money.”

    Exactly. It isn’t so much the matter of the Jacksons winning – it is the matter of AEG losing. AEG should be punished where it hurts most – losing money.


  6. Sina permalink
    July 16, 2013 4:38 pm

    “I think I am beginning to understand the logic of AEG bosses. All of them thought Michael to be a drug-addict and regarded the symptoms they saw throughout June as signs of Demerol withdrawal. And since the withdrawal symptoms are generally not life-threatening they chose to completely ignore them”.– Helena

    This could be true going by the email chain “ trouble at the front”:

    June 20 From John Branca to RP.TL, PG,JK,FDL,MK,
    “I have the right therapist/ spiritual adviosor/ SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELLOR who could help. Recently helped mike tyson TO GET SOBER and parolled . Do we know whether there is a substance involved (perhaps better discussed on the phone).”

    JK replied : “yes , Let us talk on the phone – we should keep email to a minimum – Joel.”
    Unfortunately we dont know what the answer was to that question because they went on talking on the phone.

    ( I say thank God for the emails!!!).
    But if it is true that they suspected drugabuse they are even more evil to let it go on. Gongaware and probably all of them knew what Michael had went through when he had addiction problems during Dangerous tour and it was him who had warned Finkelstein not to become a dr Nick. When he called Finkelstein for the O2 concerts F told him that he wanted to be Michaels tour doctor, only if he was clean.

    “And since the withdrawal symptoms are generally not life-threatening they chose to completely ignore them “-

    Helena you cannot ignore withdrawal symptoms. Why do you think it is so hard to come off drugs? Its mostly because of the withdrawal symptoms which not only drive a person crazy but can cause serious complications , will always cause a craving for the drug and relapse.
    So if they suspected drug abuse they should have stopped the shows immediately.
    Btw if they thought drugabuse, how do they think he would pass the medical exam in London which was due in 2 weeks.
    Is that the reason why they were putting pressure on Murray ? What exactly did they ask from him?


  7. July 16, 2013 4:57 pm

    “Helena you cannot ignore withdrawal symptoms. Why do you think it is so hard to come off drugs? Its mostly because of the withdrawal symptoms which not only drive a person crazy but can cause serious complications , will always cause a craving for the drug and relapse.” – Sina

    I’ve read that the withdrawal from Demerol may be awful. It is hot and cold sweats, goose bumps all over the skin, severe flu-like symptoms. But the site I was reading assured readers that it was not a life-threatening condition. Awful but not life-threatening.

    A life-threatening condition is lack of sleep which produced the same symptoms. And of course they should have taken Michael to a good doctor anyway – firstly, because it was necessary to determine the reason for his terrible state, and secondly, because irrespective of the reason he suffered and needed help.

    If I say that I see the train of thought of AEG bosses it absolutely does not mean that I agree with them.


  8. July 16, 2013 5:30 pm

    As soon as it came to discussing money with AEG shouting began:

    “Both attorneys were shouting to each other, court clerk asked them to knock it off, called sheriffs”.

    Expert: Jackson would have earned $1B on comeback

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson could have earned $1.1 billion or more if he had performed a worldwide concert tour and created a Las Vegas show before his death, an accounting expert familiar with the singer’s earning potential told jurors Monday.
    Arthur Erk, a certified public accountant who conducts royalty audits for musicians, told jurors that Jackson might have earned $1.5 billion for the shows if he had charged higher ticket prices during later shows on the “This Is It” tour.
    Erk said he was using conservative estimates to figure Jackson’s earning potential if he had lived for several more years, completed a worldwide tour and created a Las Vegas show based on his music. The estimates took into account endorsements and royalties that Jackson could have earned and are heavily dependent on the idea that Jackson would have performed a 37-month, 260-concert world tour.
    AEG Live defense attorney Sabrina Strong questioned Erk’s assumption during cross-examination because Jackson had never completed a tour that long and hadn’t performed a tour in more than a decade. Strong also questioned Erk about three instances where Jackson got into legal disputes over canceled performances, but the accountant said those didn’t factor into his analysis.
    “He needed to work,” Erk said.
    His testimony was meant to show jurors the superstar’s earning potential in the case brought by Jackson’s mother against concert promoter AEG Live LLC.
    Katherine Jackson claims AEG Live is liable for her son’s death because it failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of giving the singer an anesthetic overdose.
    AEG denies it hired the doctor or bears any responsibility for Jackson’s June 2009 death at age 50.
    Jurors heard directly from Katherine Jackson on Monday when Strong played a portion of her deposition testimony to rebut the idea her son would have embarked on a lengthy tour.
    On the video, she said she was surprised when her son announced the “This Is It” shows in London. “He would always make a joke about he don’t want to be doing the Moonwalk on stage when … he’s over 50,” she said. “He wanted to be doing something else.”
    Erk’s figures also account for an estimated $134 million the singer would have likely spent before retiring from show business at age 65, Erk said. He said he did not consider the fact that Jackson was an estimated $400 million in debt when he died as a factor in his future earning potential.
    Strong also questioned why Erk didn’t take into account Jackson’s lavish spending, which the lawyer said another witness testified in deposition consisted of $435,000 spent over two months on hotel and airfare in the early 2000s.
    Jackson had signed on for only 50 shows in London, although contracts for the shows indicated a longer tour was a possibility.
    Jurors will have to determine the amount of any damages in the case if they find AEG Live is liable for Jackson’s death.
    Erk said Jackson contemplated doing a Las Vegas show based on his music and archival footage that would have generated new royalties for the singer. He estimated the show would last 10 years.
    Jackson also contemplated a film career, according to testimony from his nephew Taj Jackson and the singer’s longtime creative collaborator, Kenny Ortega. Erk will not offer any estimates on how much Jackson may have earned if he had a successful film career.
    Erk is testifying as an expert witness. The accountant also performed royalty audits on companies that released Jackson’s music during the height of his popularity in the 1980s, he said.

    AEG attacks projection of $1B earnings for Jackson
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — An expert who projected Michael Jackson could have earned more than $1 billion on his comeback concerts testified Tuesday that his analysis didn’t include a breakdown of the singer’s yearly earnings over his lifetime and projected a longer concert tour than the superstar had ever performed.
    Arthur Erk, a certified public accountant who is an expert in musician’s royalties, said his analysis didn’t take into account thousands of pages of figures detailing Jackson’s spending over the years.
    His projection that Jackson would have earned between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion if he performed a 37-month, 260-show tour and crafted a Las Vegas show came under attack Tuesday by a lawyer for concert promoter AEG Live LLC. He said his figures were a conservative estimate of Jackson’s earning potential if he had lived.
    Erk is testifying for Jackson’s mother in her lawsuit against AEG Live, claiming the company is liable for her son’s death because it failed to properly investigate the doctor who administered a fatal overdose of an anesthetic propofol in June 2009. At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing for 50 comeback concerts in London called “This Is It,” but there was the possibility the singer would have embarked on a worldwide tour.
    The accountant based his calculations on documents prepared by AEG, but on cross-examination conceded that the company never projected the singer would earn more than $1 billion after the “This Is It” shows opened. He said he didn’t have information regarding Jackson’s earnings over his lifetime.
    Erk’s estimate contemplated Jackson receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandise, endorsement deals and royalties from a Las Vegas show based on his music and archival footage.
    AEG Live attorney Sabrina Strong showed Erk a chart that showed that Jackson’s three previous solo tours comprised 275 shows over a 10-year span. She challenged Erk’s contention that he was being conservative by projecting Jackson would have performed 260 shows over a three-year period.
    Strong also attacked Erk’s calculation that Jackson would have spent $134 million between ages 50 and 65. She cited testimony from Jackson’s former business managers and accountants in depositions that Jackson was historically outspending his earnings by millions of dollars each year. She questioned why Erk and associates who helped him compile his analysis didn’t review tens of thousands of pages that detailed Jackson’s spending over the years.
    Erk said that wasn’t part of his job as a hired expert and he relied on figures about Jackson’s monthly spending prepared by the singer’s accountant before his death.
    “We boiled down what we thought was necessary to do the calculations,” Erk said.
    Jackson died an estimated $400 million in debt.


  9. July 16, 2013 11:02 pm

    Here was one of the most amazingly talented, gifted human beings on the planet and to learn that no one had ever massaged his feet before completely shocked and saddened me! He should have had people at his beck and call; personal servants only too happy to cater to his every need. The very core of his success, the powerful engine that kept an entire industry going, was his body, mind and soul. A whole team should have been working 24/7 to address his every need. A simple thing like a foot massage could have helped immensely to relax him and bring relief to his aches and pains. Had people been there to care for his physical needs, it may have helped his insomnia problem. Although clearly, the mental torture he was being subjected to contributed greatly to his inability to sleep. For those familiar with anatomy and the benefits of massage, the feet are the center of many nerve endings in the body. They carry our weight and are typically the most neglected part of our bodies. Poor Michael. He was horribly treated and neglected during the time in his life when he needed the most love and nurturing. Perhaps God just intervened and took him away because He had had enough of watching him being so abused, used and neglected. God’s no fool. He is infinitely patient but Michael was God’s gift to us and far too many were ungrateful. Unless I’m delusional, the testimony so far is pretty damning of AEG. If they aren’t held responsible, then the jurors have been asleep at the proverbial wheel.


  10. lynande51 permalink
    July 17, 2013 8:37 am

    Helena I think Kenny’s alarm was based on the fact that he saw something wrong with Michael and he suspected the Doctors that were around him. He was put off by the very doctor that was causing it.Not only put off but told by that doctor that it was caused by Dr. Klein. I think it has pretty much been established that AEG hired him. A lot of the testimony we are hearing now is clearing up so much of the lies and rumors that Michael put up with throughout his life. The trial it seems has a twofold purpose for Katherine that so many fans still have not understood.
    I know that one in particular has voiced several times ” what does this testimony have to do with AEG hiring Murray”? It doesn’t but it puts Michael’s life into perspective. What the media portrayed him as is not even close to the truth and we now have experts proving it in a court of law. I think Katherine had a strategy.
    I think she took her responsibility to his children much more seriously than anyone thinks. This trial will clear the air and it has to be for the kids we’ve already seen the toll that it has taken on them not just to loose their beloved father but to put up with grown people that think they have a right to continue to harass him.. She knows that, we know that but very few fans have the insight to see that this trial is not hurting Michael it is helping him and his kids. For everything bad that has been said about Michael through this trial 10 positive things have come out. That I believe was her strategy.


  11. Tina permalink
    July 18, 2013 4:04 am

    Thanks lynande51 you said it all.

    What I have observed from this trial is a lot of positive things about Michael which helps to make the record straight and what I am thinking know is about the jurors how they might perceived Michael before and now after knowing this all, I am sure they will have an immense respect for him.
    I am really happy that Mrs. Jackson has the courage to fight this injustice.But I don’t know why those “fans” couldn’t get it. The hate for the Jackson’s couldn’t let them see what is happening in this trial .They are still blaming Mrs. Jackson’s for whatever negative story coming out by the tabloids.When they hear about the injustice AEG done to Michael they say ” what does this testimony have to do with AEG hiring Murray?” They don’t even want to hear what happened.And the irony is I am listening these kinds of comment form the Fan groups which dedicated themselves for justice for Michael. What a justice? I don’t understand it.

    But thanks to Mrs. Jackson to let us know the truth.


  12. July 18, 2013 7:13 am

    AEG called all the shots.And thats what matters.


  13. July 19, 2013 9:51 am

    “I am really happy that Mrs. Jackson has the courage to fight this injustice.But I don’t know why those “fans” couldn’t get it. The hate for the Jackson’s couldn’t let them see what is happening in this trial .They are still blaming Mrs. Jackson’s for whatever negative story coming out by the tabloids.When they hear about the injustice AEG done to Michael they say ” what does this testimony have to do with AEG hiring Murray?” They don’t even want to hear what happened.” – Tina

    Oh, “fans” are a very sore subject. How is it possible to blame Michael’s mother for what tabloids say? It is like blaming her for walking down the street and the dogs barking at her. They will bark anyway, so does it mean that she or anyone shouldn’t even go out?

    What also amazes me about “fans” is that they think they have the right to judge others. Are they impeccable to be able to do it? When someone makes a mistake they stigmatize this person forever – but don’t they themselves make mistakes? Where have they learned this terrible hypocrisy? From the media? Where have they learned to bully and ridicule others? From those who relentlessly harassed Michael?

    Michael was an absolutely different kind, and if these people want to call themselves his “fans” they should at least try to be a little like their hero.


  14. July 19, 2013 11:13 am

    “The trial it seems has a twofold purpose for Katherine that so many fans still have not understood.
    I know that one in particular has voiced several times ”what does this testimony have to do with AEG hiring Murray”? It doesn’t but it puts Michael’s life into perspective. What the media portrayed him as is not even close to the truth and we now have experts proving it in a court of law. I think Katherine had a strategy.
    I think she took her responsibility to his children much more seriously than anyone thinks. This trial will clear the air and it has to be for the kids we’ve already seen the toll that it has taken on them not just to loose their beloved father but to put up with grown people that think they have a right to continue to harass him.. She knows that, we know that but very few fans have the insight to see that this trial is not hurting Michael it is helping him and his kids. For everything bad that has been said about Michael through this trial 10 positive things have come out. That I believe was her strategy.”

    EXACTLY, Lynette. Very well said. I hoped very much for the trial to clear the air. People needed to know what Michael was really like and understand what a distorted picture was painted of him by the press. That story about his scalp being stretched alone can silence all talk about him being “weird”. And the experts talking from both sides? What we’ve learned from Dr. Schnoll and the sleep expert is invaluable. If it were not for the trial we would never know this precious information.

    Of course I am afraid to say it too soon because AEG is going to spill out their worst now. But on the other hand Michael did not do anything we can be ashamed of. He was simply not that kind of a person and anything he did had an explanation. And he wasn’t even “eccentric” – he was the most normal person on the planet who found himself in totally abnormal conditions.

    P.S. By the way I am happy to hear from you Lynette.


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