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Jacksons – AEG trial Week 14. AEG’S EXPERTS and the FUN, THRILL and MESS of it

August 1, 2013
Eric Briggs

Eric Briggs

UPDATED August 3, 2013

This post will cover four days of the trial and will be long. This is why I suggest you skip all of it and go immediately to the last point of it which contains the most important information. It is called “Sorting out this mess” and it is actually all you need to know about Eric Briggs testifying for AEG.

After reading it you can very well return to the beginning (if you want to) and see what it was like before updating. This is what it was like:

PURE COMEDY GOLD

Who could expect that the testimony of some AEG’s experts would be so big a thrill? And occasionally fun too?

So while the fun is going on I suggest we stick to Eric Briggs and John Meglen before discussing those medical professionals and MJ’s drug issues AEG makes so much noise about. AEG promises us that there will be still ‘many, many of them’ so there is no hurry. 

I had the first real laugh since the beginning of this trial when reading the article by Alan Duke published last week and the comments following it. The impression Meglen’s testimony produced is that he and Briggs are not only burying their business with their own hands but they are also digging a grave for the whole industry by exposing some of their own and others’ ugly secrets.

Meglen, for example, says that he “knows how numbers are manipulated” in their business and Briggs reveals the unsavory truth that artists get “much less” than the huge sums generated by them for their promoters.

In short this is the information that simply can’t be missed:

AEG Live exec: ‘Celine Dion’s bigger than MJ’

By Alan Duke, CNN

July 25, 2013 — Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)

Los Angeles (CNN) — A top executive with AEG Live insists Celine Dion is a “bigger” artist than Michael Jackson.

John Meglin, testifying Wednesday at the wrongful death trial of AEG Live, also downplayed how many tickets Jackson could have sold if he had not died while preparing for his comeback concerts.

AEG Live lawyers are challenging an entertainment expert hired by Jackson lawyers who estimated the King of Pop would have earned $1.5 billion touring the world before his 66th birthday had he not died from an overdose of a surgical anesthetic at age 50.

Michael Jackson’s mother and three children contend the company is liable for damages because it hired, retained or supervised the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his death.

If jurors agree, they could then use estimates of Jackson’s lost earnings as a guide to determine how much AEG Live — the promoter and producer of his “This Is It” tour — must pay the Jacksons in damages.

AEG Live lawyers argue that Jackson — not its executives — chose and controlled Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who signed a $150,000 a month contract with the company to serve as Jackson’s doctor for the tour. AEG Live executives never signed the contract, which Murray returned to them just hours before Jackson’s death.

A nurse anesthetist will testify Thursday about administering anesthesia to Jackson during a medical procedure. He will be the first of what AEG Live lead lawyer Marvin Putnam said would be a parade of “many, many” medical professionals who treated Jackson. The company will try to prove that Jackson was a secretive drug addict, which prevented promoters from knowing about the dangers he faced under Murray’s care.

Meglin, who has been a concert promoter since the 1970s, is the CEO of Concerts West, the division of AEG Live that was in charge of Michael Jackson’s tour. He was the first witness called as the company began presenting its defense in the 13th week of the trial.

Much of his testimony was focused on attacking the analysis of certified public accountant Arthur Erk, who testified last week that he was “reasonably certain” that Jackson would have performed 260 shows around the world as part of his “This Is It” tour. He would have earned $890 million over the three years of concerts in Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Australia, Erk said.

Jackson would have earned at least $1.5 billion from touring, endorsements and sponsorships had he lived to age 66, Erk said.

Erk’s analysis suggested Jackson would stage many of his shows in large stadiums, with more than 90,000 fans buying tickets to many of the concerts. But Meglin testified that his experience told him that no stadiums would seat that many people for Jackson’s kind of show. The Erk estimates were inflated by about 30%, Meglin testified.

The Rose Bowl would only seat 60,000, Meglin said. Although Billboard Magazine reported that U2 performed for 97,000 people in the Pasadena, California, venue in 2009, Meglin said he was “trusting my gut” that the numbers were inflated. “I know how those numbers can be manipulated,” he said.

Jackson lead lawyer Brian Panish noted that 98,000 people were in the Rose Bowl seats when Michael Jackson performed the halftime show for Super Bowl 27 in 1993.

Meglin also contested Erk’s suggestion that Jackson would have taken his tour to India for at least three shows.

“Nobody goes to India,” he said. He later acknowledged that Jackson performed there during his HIStory tour.

“It’s not a very big market,” Meglin said of India, which is home to about 1.25 billion people.

Meglin also disagreed with what one of his superiors, AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, wrote in an e-mail that there was enough demand in England alone to sell out more that 200 Jackson shows. “He believed that,” Meglin testified. “I don’t believe that.”

Fans bought all 750,000 tickets put on sale for 31 shows in March 2009 in just two hours, Phillips said. Enough buyers were already registered to sell out another 100 shows, Phillips wrote.

Meglin also disagreed with Phillips’ opinion that Michael Jackson was the biggest entertainment artist ever.

“I do myself personally believe that that is not true,” Meglin testified Wednesday. “In my opinion Celine Dion is right up there with Michael Jackson and, to me, she is bigger.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/25/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html

The comments from various people were fantastic:

  • AEG is smoking something.
    • Crack.
  • This Meglin clown is hurting their case with his used car salesman testimony.
John Meglen of AEG Live

John Meglen of AEG Live

Meglin: “The Rose Bowl would only seat 60,000.” 
Lawyer: “But Billboard reported that U2 performed there for 97,000.”
Meglin: “My gut tells me those numbers can be manipulated.”
Lawyer: “98,000 were there the last time Mr. Jackson performed at the Rose Bowl.”
Meglin: “Oh.”

Lawyer: “Mr. Jackson would have taken his tour to India for at least three shows.”
Meglin: “Why? It’s not a very big market.” 
Lawyer: “India is home to about 1.25 billion people.”
Meglin: “Nobody goes to India.”
Lawyer: “But didn’t Michael perform there during his last tour?”
Meglin: “Oh yeah.”

Lawyer: “Your boss said the demand in England could sell out 200 shows.”
Meglin: “He believed that. I don’t believe that.”
Lawyer: “But all 750,000 tickets for the first 31 sold out in two hours, and buyers were already registered to sell out another 100 shows.”
Meglin: “Oh.”

Lawyer: “Mr. Jackson was one of the biggest artists ever worldwide, right?”
Meglin: “Eh, even some Canadian artists are bigger. Celine Dion. Justin Bieber. That group that sang ‘Afternoon Delight’.”
Lawyer: “Starland Vocal Band wasn’t from Canada.”
Meglin: “Oh.”

Who at AEG decided to put this trainwreck on the stand? Pure comedy gold.

Pure comedy gold indeed. And since the comedy continues this week too I suggest we follow it and offer you a summary of the news for almost the whole of week 14 of the trial.

MONDAY JULY 29, 2013. DAY 58

After a short video deposition last Friday on Monday Briggs started his testimony live. You remember that he was hired by AEG as their main expert to refute Arthur Erk’s estimates of MJ’s potential earnings.

And judging by what we have already heard of Briggs’ testimony it should be a no less hit than Meglen’s ridiculous performance.

First of all Briggs revealed the shocking truth that AEG was to pay Michael Jackson only $22 million out of the several hundred millions he was to make for these AEG exploiters by performing 50 shows.

Well, previously AEG said something totally different:

May 31, 2009

Jackson stands to earn $50 million for the O2 shows, “This Is It” — $1 million per performance, not including revenue from merchandise sales and broadcast rights. Jackson is considering options including pay-per-view and a feature film. But the real money would kick in after his final curtain call in London.

AEG has proposed a three-year tour starting in Europe, then traveling to Asia and finally returning to the United States. Although Jackson has committed only to the O2 engagement thus far, Phillips estimates ticket sales for the global concerts might exceed $450 million. Such a rebound could wipe out Jackson’s debt.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/31/entertainment/et-michael-jackson31/2

AEG never told Michael the real figure of $22 mln. for the London shows.  Moreover he probably even didn’t know of $50 mln mentioned in the above article – the figures AEG bosses were operating when talking to him were much higher. Paul Gongaware advised his colleagues to talk to Michael in gross figures and that would be almost half a billion if I remember it right.

The reality is different of course. The lion share of that half a billion was to go into AEG’s pocket and Michael was to receive the sums AEG were too ashamed to even say outloud. I think their wildest projection was something like $132 mln though I am not sure. Actually with AEG you can never be sure of anything. You can’t know your contract, you can’t have your documents, you can’t know the real numbers – actually you can’t know anything. This is AEG’s very special knowhow.

The ABC tweets on Monday July 29, 2013 DAY 58 say:

  • Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. Week 14 of Jackson family vs AEG trial is underway. There was only morning session today.
  • AEG’s retained expert, Eric Briggs, was back on the stand. Sabrina Strong, AEG’s attorney, resumed direct examination.
  • Strong asked about Briggs opinion on the completion of the 50 shows agreed by Michael Jackson at the time of his death.
  • The expert said it was speculative to assume MJ would complete all 50 shows in London.
  • Slide: Erk’s TII Tour: Speculative
  • A slide shown to the jury relates to a world tour that would be speculative, Briggs said.
  • 1- No agreement beyond 50 shows
  • 2- MJ’s drug use
  • 3- MJ’s history if cancellations
  • Slide: 4- World tour depends on completion of 50 shows
  • a- Performance Risk
  • b- Execution Risk
  • However, Briggs said numbers 1 and 2 also relates to the 50 shows in London.
  • Briggs said MJ’s history and manner of drug use and lasting affects are supporting basis for opinion that 50 shows were speculative.
  • MJ had a significant history of canceling projects, even if they were reasonably sure to happen, Briggs said.
  • Briggs said he evaluated Mr. Erk’s numbers regarding the 260 shows.
  • Jacksons atty Brian Panish asked for sidebar. It lasted 23 minutes.
  • Regarding the 260 shows Erk calculated, Briggs said the expert’s projection was unprecedented for gross ticket sales and revenue perspective
  • Briggs said the highest grossing tour ever is U2 360 Show, which generated $736 million in ticket sales and merchandise.
  • Tour Gross Revenues: Tickets/Merchandise
  • 1- U2: $736 million
  • 2- Rolling Stones: $558 million
  • 3- AC/DC: $441 million
  • 4- Madonna: $408 million
  • Briggs said what’s actually received by the artist is much smaller that the gross number and it is based on the expenses of the tour.
  • If the production is expensive, Briggs said the net to AC/DC members could be higher than the net to U2 members, even though U2 grossed more
  • MJ’s Highest Grossing Tours:
  • BAD generated $126 million for 120 shows
  • HISTORY generated $165 million for 82 dates in 1996-97
  • Briggs said the Dangerous tour was not included because it was not reflected in the list of highest grossing tours of all times.
  • Dangerous tour was cut short due because MJ entered rehab, Briggs explained.
  • AEG’s Predicted Future Tours:
  • Prod 1: $94 million
  • Prod 2: $107 million
  • Strong asked Briggs how AEG’s 2009 Budget compare. Erk projected $1.65 billion for 260 shows tour, he answered.
  • Clearly this is in excess of anything we’ve ever seen in the history around the world, Briggs opined.
  • Briggs said Mr. Erk was projecting $900 million to be paid to MJ as net for tickets, endorsements and merchandising.
  • Based on the record, this amount was nowhere near what MJ had brought home in the past, Briggs testified.
  • Briggs said Paul Gongaware testified MJ’s Dangerous tour lost money, it was not profitable. He also testified HIStory tour was a break even.
  • Net is the value of tickets and merchandising minus all the costs to put on the show, Briggs explained.
  • Regarding the HIStory tour, Briggs said, based on Gongaware’s testimony, there must have been costs that made the tour break even.
  • What’s implied is that MJ did not generate any significant net from this tour, Briggs said.
  • Briggs testified that AEG’s budget shows that MJ, if he completed all 50 show shows, would’ve taken home between $22 and $31 million.
  • This amount included tickets and merchandising, but not endorsement, Briggs said.
  • Briggs: As Jun 2009, no endorsement was in place, no sponsorhip was in place. AEG Live had taken steps to secure them but none were in place
  • Briggs said Erk projected MJ would net $890 million from a 260 world tour shows between tickets, merchandising, endorsements and sponsorship
  • I don’t know how anyone can be reasonably certain this would occur, Briggs said.
  • The highest grossing tour of all times was U2’s 360, Briggs said, which was $736 million. Erk’s projection for MJ to net was way above that.
  • It’s completely out of line of with history, with MJ’s own history and history of all other tours, Briggs opined.
  • If there’s no tour, there’s no merchandise, the expert said.
  • Briggs’ experience with endorsement relates to working with the estate of major artists, like Elvis and Frank Sinatra.
  • They were approached many times by large companied to put their names on products to sell.
  • Briggs explained the industry uses a “Q” score data, which draws the likability of a celebrity or persona.
  • Briggs said there are two major types of factors that companies take into consideration to select artist to endorse:
  • 1- history in securing endorsement, relationship with previous sponsors
  • 2- how predictable the artist is, how stable his/her actions are
  • Companies are looking for safe bets, Briggs said. “They don’t want to take big risks with their products.”
  • Briggs explained the companies are concerned about what general public thinks of the artist/celebrity.
  • Briggs: The tour gross relates to people being interests in seeing someone perform. MJ was a great performer.
  • But there’s a difference between excellence as performance of stage and whether the company wants to align itself with performer, Briggs said
  • Briggs said the “Q” score data associated with MJ analyzed his albums’ sales, actions taken by AEG, and MJ’s stability and predictability.
  • Briggs explained data companies call people and ask how much they like a certain artist, their “Q” score.
  • They then report the results back to the brand company to decide how safe a bet an artist is.
  • Briggs received two sets of data: MJ likability, MJ comparative group (Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Justin Timberlake)
  • Judge wanted to know what kind of questions the company asks people in the survey.
  • Briggs said the question is about the person’s impression of the artist, with normally 3-5 choices for answer.
  • The questions are not as much if a person would buy a product, but their impression of the artist, Briggs explained.
  • Q score survey: Question: What’s your general impression of individual/celebrity?
  • Answers: One of my Favorites, Very Good, Good, Fair/Poor
  • Briggs said it’s useful to look at comparison with other artists, how they stack up against others that are similar to the artist in question.

Briggs said that Michael Jackson’s “likability” as a performer was doubtful for product endorsement deals. This is the first time I heard of product endorsement and had to look it up. The dictionary said:

Product Endorsement Definition:
A written or public statement by a celebrity, business or professional group extolling the virtues of a product and recommending the use of the product to the public. A product endorsement from an authoritative figure is a key element in business advertising and marketing campaigns.

The Super Bowl 1993

Eric Briggs: “in 1993 MJ’s likability was pretty well in line with other artists”.  What other artists is he talking about?  Who else could draw 98,000 people for the Super Bowl in 1993?

The above made it clear that the ultimate goal of those who started Michael’s persecution in 1993 and never stopped until his dying day was his complete financial ruin.

They wanted to fully destroy his image so that his name lost all its ‘likability’ and selling capacity and no one wanted to be associated with him or his music.

This is why after 1993 selling records for Michael turned into an uphill battle irrespective of the finest quality of his albums, and the fact that he still managed to be selling millions was actually a miracle.

This is how his music proved its absolute value.

And this is why the number of his records after the 1993 scandal should never be compared with the Thriller numbers – no, it should be compared with the zero number of albums which other artists would have sold had they been in the same circumstances.

All circumstances were fighting against Michael and it was only due to his unrivalled genius that he still managed to overcome the negative trend and still sell millions.  So with the necessary adjustments made for the horrendous war conditions Michael was working in, each million of those follow-up albums should be regarded at least as ten million sold in peace time.

It was due to the absolute excellence of his music and performance that despite all those “likability” issues the London shows instantaneously sold out and left half a million people waiting in line. However the unprecedented demand for the tickets and the very fact that AEG pursued Michael Jackson for two years before they “nailed him down” are something which Briggs is totally ingoring now.

Therefore let me remind everyone how desperate Randy Phillips and John Meglen of AEG were to work with the man who is now being belittled by their expert Eric Briggs. At that time Randy Phillips never minded any likability and was “resourceful and relentless” in his determination to get Michael:

TW: Take us back to how you talked MJ out of retirement. How were you able to convince him?

Randy Phillips: I talked to him/pitched him about a year and a half earlier. He turned me down, but I’m resourceful and relentless. I (eventually) talked him into it. One year and a half later, Tom Barrack from Colony Investments, who saved Neverland Ranch, helped him restructure his finances. He approached me and said MJ wanted to talk to me personally.

http://www.examiner.com/article/examiner-exclusive-aeg-s-randy-phillips-talks-this-is-it-michael-jackson-and-more-part-ii

John Meglen said it was very, very difficult to “weed through” a lot of others offering their services to Michael (their competitor Live Nation was one of them):

John Meglen: “Early on, there were a lot of different representatives around Michael, so weeding through that was always a very, very difficult thing,” Meglen says. “I think the important point was that, what we laid out to Michael was the breadth of the company, of AEG. I think from the very get go, we kind of planted into Michael that we were a great match for him.”
http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1263248/aeg-execs-discuss-the-making-of-michael-jacksons-this-is-it

At that time AEG had a “standing offer” for MJ after chasing him for 2 years:

In late November, Randy Phillips, President and CEO of AEG Live, said that the company — which books and runs the O2 — has been chasing Jackson for two years looking for a multi-night engagement. Though no deal was signed at the time, Phillips said AEG has had a “standing offer” to Jackson since 2006 to re-create his landmark Thriller album in its entirety at the O2 but had struggled to nail down a firm deal with the elusive singer.

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1606272/michael-jackson-expected-announce-london-concerts.jhtml

And now their expert Briggs is trying his hardest to downplay Michael’s appeal to the public:

  • Briggs said there’s data for “Q” score from 1990 to 2006, with some gaps. There’s no “Q” score data between 2006 and 2009.
  • Strong showed a chart of MJ’s “Likability,” which declined after 1993. The chart shows a Negative-Positive Impression.
  • Briggs said that in 2006, there was 1 (one) person with positive impression for every 7.4 people with negative impression of MJ.
  • Briggs said “in 1993, MJ’s likability was pretty well in line with other artists”. From that point, it declined substantially.
  • In 2006, Briggs said the chart shows that there were 7.4 negative impressions for 1 positive regarding Michael Jackson.
  • Briggs explained that in 1993 there was a start of some significantly negative headlines associated with MJ, his drug abuse and other issues
  • There’s no data available from 2006 to 2009. Briggs said he requested the data but was unable to get it.
  • He said if someone’s likability is so negative, they take those people off the list, since no company would want to align itself with them.
  • Judge asked Briggs if MJ could’ve been compared to an individual artist, such as Justin Timberlake, as opposed to a group of similar artists
  • He said the norm is to compare with the average of the group with the artist in question.
  • Briggs said Mr. Erk specified album unit sales for five of MJ’s albums. “It also showed a significant decline,” Briggs said.
  • MJ’s albums sale:
  • 1982 — Thriller — 65 million
  • 1987 — Bad — 45 million
  • 1991 — Dangerous — 32 million
  • 1995 — HIStory — 20 million
  • 2001 — Invincible — 13 million
  • Briggs testified MJ had a significant issue in the media related to negative headlines in a broad of topics.
  • That would impact a company’s decision on endorsements/sponsorship. Companies are focused on selling, Briggs said.
  • The expert explained there was a significant audience that wanted to see MJ perform.
  • He said AEG took steps to secure endorsements and sponsorships but was unable to do so.
  • I don’t know how he can predict that all  of the sudden the light switch would be turned on Briggs said about Erk’s endorsement projection
  • The expert said there were no endorsement or sponsorship deals at the time of MJ’s death.
  • Strong asked why Las Vegas deal was speculative. Briggs said there was nothing in the works, no budget, agreement or financing.
  • Beyond that, there’s no real precedent for living, touring artist, who has a tribute show.
  • Briggs testified there aren’t any meaningful, premium-type of show, associated with a living performing artist.

Note: For performing artist this may be more or less correct, but as to non-performing stars tribute shows may be a very big thing. ABBA no longer perform but I hear that their Mamma Mia musical has been the world’s most successful musical ever.

So all Michael had to do was announce to the world that he would never perform after the London tour for the tribute hologram shows to start selling like hot cakes.

However Briggs still goes on talking about MJ as if he were some third-rate artist struggling for attention on a ‘competitive Las Vegas market’ and makes himself sound totally ridiculous by saying it. And I thought that Briggs was old enough to know that finding an audience for Michael was never an issue.

May 22, 2008 MJ attends Christian Audigier's birthday party. Finding an audience for Michael was never an issue http://en.michaeljackson.ro/photo/christian-audigier-50th-birthday-party-22-mai-2008(359)

May 22, 2008 MJ attends Christian Audigier’s birthday party. Finding an audience for Michael was never an issue http://en.michaeljackson.ro/photo/christian-audigier-50th-birthday-party-22-mai-2008(359)

  • Briggs: “In my business, just expressing interest it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” the expert opined.
  • He said they were ideas and he sees ideas thrown around all the time.
  • Briggs: Las Vegas is a very competitive market. Every hotel wants a show that appeals to a broad audience.
  • It’s hard to make big bets if there are high questions about likability and predictability.
  • Entertainment is about finding an audience, Briggs said. “No one can predict if it will be successful until you sell the tickets.”
  • Briggs said his understanding is that MJ’s Estate did not agree to AEG’s proposed Las Vegas tour.
  • Briggs said in Erk’s projection, MJ would go into movies, but he did not provide figures in this regard.
  • Briggs’ “Film Production Process”: – Ideas – Development/Packaging – Financing – Pre-production planning – Production – Post production – Advertising – Distribution – Theatrical release – Profits?
  • Briggs said there were efforts taking place at one point for MJ to make movies. He considers it to be in the development phase.
  • It absolutely does not mean it would be getting to the end of the process, Briggs opined.
  • Briggs said the decision to make films is multimillion dollar one. The commitment is very serious, you can’t make movie with a million
    May 22, 2008. For "likability" just look at those adoring faces

    May 22, 2008. For “likability” just look at those faces

    dollars

  • A movie can be hundreds of millions of dollars, Briggs said. And a lot needs to be in place, like audience, distributors, etc.
  • He said just advertising a movie in the US can be 50+ million dollars.
  • Briggs said the last feature film MJ was associated with “Miss Cast Away,” released in 2004-05 and it went straight to video, not in theaters
  • Briggs said that even at the distribution phase, it doesn’t mean film will be profitable/successful. “It’s all a risk up until this point.”
  • Only after 3-6 weeks in the theater it’s possible to figure out if the movie is profitable or not, Briggs said.
  • Briggs named some big films that have been disappointments: John Carter, Battleship, Jack the Giant Killer.
  • Briggs: These movies had big actors, big dollars, big movie studios and big decision process that can’t always be right.
  • Each studio releases 15-20 films/year, Briggs said, and only about half of them are known to the public.
  • Just because you make something it doesn’t mean it will go on to critical success, Briggs said.
  • On May 22, 2008 Michael was still fine and looking great. However the Tohme/Barrack/AEG disaster was already in the making

    A year before his death Michael was fine and looking great. However the Tohme/Barrack/AEG disaster was already in the making (May 22, 2008)

    Briggs: Mr. Erk simply stated he believed Michael would do movies.

  • Briggs said there were periods of times where MJ would have great connections in the movie industry, then fire them only to hire them back.
  • Great connections do not equate that things will get done, let alone be successful, Briggs testified.
  • Briggs: “Not everything that’s attempted is a resounding success.”
  • Regarding MJ’s personal history with respect to feature films, Briggs was emphatic: “I do not believe MJ was successful,” the expert said.
  • Even Mr. Erk said he was not successful in movies, Briggs said.
  • Briggs: I don’t know how anyone can project, with reasonable certainty, that MJ would be successful at making movies.
  • Court adjourned until tomorrow 1:30 pm PT with Briggs back on the stand for another half day session.
  • Rebbie Jackson was to testify on Wednesday but is sick. Other witnesses expected this week: Debbie Rowe and Randy Jackson via video depo.
  • We hope to see you all tomorrow for full coverage of the trial. Watch @ABC7Courts for the latest and http://www.abc7.com

TUESDAY JULY 30, 2013. DAY 59

The next day of Briggs’ testimony gave us the impression that the Estate was helping the AEG case.

This was so enormous a surprise that all the rest of it faded in connection with this news.

I think it was Katherine Jackson who said at this trial that it is actually the Estate that is covering the plaintiffs’ expenses  in their case against AEG, so these two factors terribly clashed until things clarified a little bit the next day.

And the next day it turned out that Briggs had done two separate jobs for AEG and the Estate with a 3 year difference between them and was not working simultaneously for both companies, but even despite that the Estate did not give him a permission to testify in the case.

However on Tuesday Briggs assured everyone that Jeryll Cohen, a lawyer for the Estate, “okayed him to testify” and “acknowledged his work on the case”, which sounded almost like an encouragement for Briggs to speak against Katherine Jackson.

On Tuesday Briggs also said that Ms. Cohen had waived any potential conflict between the Estate and Briggs.

I may be wrong in my interpretation but to me this “waiving a potential conflict” sounded like negating a conflict of interest between the parties which can also be understood as the Estate acknowledging that they are on AEG’s side and there is no conflict whatsoever between them.

This is how the whole thing looked on Tuesday July 30. The next day things changed, but Alan Duke already wrote an article about it which contained some very interesting details not available from the ABC tweets.

From it we learn that Briggs said he sought and gained permission from the Estate to waive any potential conflict of interest and that Ms. Cohen was well aware of “everything that was going on”:

Michael Jackson’s estate consultant helps AEG Live’s defense

By Alan Duke

updated 9:45 AM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

Los Angeles (CNN) — A lawyer for Michael Jackson’s estate gave an entertainment industry consultant permission to help AEG Live in its defense of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the pop singer’s mother, the expert testified.

The revelation was a surprise to Katherine Jackson, who was sitting in court Tuesday listening to the expert testify that he believed her son would not have earned any money even if he had not died of a propofol overdose.

If jurors decide AEG Live is liable in Jackson’s death, testimony by Eric Briggs — whose company billed the concert promoter $700,000 to prepare his opinion — could be used to determine how much in damages the company would have to pay to Michael Jackson’s mother and three children.

Briggs, however, previously consulted for the Jackson estate in determining a value of it’s biggest asset — the Sony-ATV music catalog that includes the Beatles songs. He testified that before he signed a contract to serve as an expert in AEG Live’s defense he sought and gained permission from the Jackson estate lawyer Jeryll Cohen to waive any potential conflict of interest.

“She (Cohen) was well aware of everything that was going on,” Briggs testified.

A spokesman for the Michael Jackson estate was unaware of the circumstances or reasons why the estate would approve the waiver that could be counter to the interests of its beneficiaries — Jackson’s mother and three children.

An entertainment industry analyst hired by Jackson lawyers testified he was “reasonably certain” Jackson would have earned $1.5 billion from touring before retiring if he had not died while preparing for his comeback concerts in 2009.

Briggs testified that it was “speculative” that Jackson would have even completed the 50 “This Is It” concerts that AEG Live had already sold out in London.

Briggs said that based on what he’d learned from testimony in the case, he believed that Jackson would have died before the first show — even if he had not suffered the fatal overdose of a surgical anesthetic on June 25, 2009. He cited the testimony of a doctor who said that Jackson would have been dead within a week if he remained under the care of Dr. Conrad Murray.

The Jackson lawsuit contends AEG Live is liable in Jackson’s death because it negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop icon’s death.

The Erk opinion included $300 million that he estimated Jackson would have earned from endorsements and sponsorships. But Briggs testified that “significantly negative headlines, drug abuse and other issues” had ruined Jackson’s ability to earn endorsement and sponsorship money.

“Q score” data for Jackson, which measures his “likability,” became dramatically negative by 2006 — a year after he was acquitted in a child molestation trial, he testified. More than seven people said they disliked Jackson for every one who said they liked him, he said. Companies would be “very anxious” about putting someone with such a negative “likability” next to their products, he said.

One issue hurting Jackson’s endorsement deal potential was his financial debt, estimated to be $400 million at the time of his death, Briggs said.

But Jackson lawyer Brian Panish asked Briggs if he considered that Jackson‘s assets — most notably the Sony-ATV catalogue — were greater than his debts.

Briggs stuttered on the witness stand, saying he was reluctant to discuss Jackson’s assets because of a client confidentiality issue.

He eventually acknowledged that he had worked for the Jackson estate as a consultant analyzing the value of the music catalog. He signed a confidentiality agreement with the estate, which he said prevented him from discussing it.

His company did, however, clear his participation in the wrongful death case with a Jackson estate lawyer before he agreed to be an expert for AEG Live, he said.

Briggs also said AEG Live lawyers were aware of the potential conflict before hiring him and had no problem with it.

Wednesday is the 60th day of testimony in the trial, which began 14 weeks ago in a Los Angeles County court. The judge told jurors she expects testimony to conclude in mid-September.

http://us.cnn.com/2013/07/31/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

Let us go over the way all these revelations were made:

  • Panish discussed with Briggs Michael’s debt and Briggs said he considered the debt to be higher than Michael’s assets. He said he had evaluated the catalog 5-10 times for several companies and therefore produced on the court the impression of a knowledgeable source.
  • When Michael’s ATV catalogue was raised Ms. Strong suddenly began making so many objections that the judge “got mad” at her according to the ABC tweets, and called a sidebar.
  • Then Panish asked for whom Briggs evaluated the catalogue and Briggs said he was uncomfortable to name his clients. The judge ordered him to answer and he said he evaluated the catalogue for the following companies:
    •         One law firm that hired him in 2009 after MJ died (the Estate?). Prior to that Briggs also did it for others:
    •         Sony ATV Music Publishing (the owner of the catalog)
    •         Fortress (the company which held the foreclosure note on Neverland and sold it to Tom Barrack and Colony Capital). Briggs gives the name of the company as Fortress Capital, though the correct name is Fortress Investment Group. By this slip of the tongue he could unwittingly betray that he was doing evaluation for Colony Capital as well. And Colony Capital was the company that induced Michael to work with AEG saying that his finances were so bad that “it was his only choice”.
    •         Goldman Sachs (which had a plan to refinance MJ’s debts before Fortress came into the picture. As far as I remember Fortress was brought in by Randy Jackson).
  • Then Briggs said that AEG lawyers didn’t regard his work for those companies and AEG as a conflict of interest.
  • As to the Estate Briggs said that a certain call took place (he didn’t remember who called) and he spoke with Jeryll Cohen, the Estate’s lawyer who okayed him to testify as a witness in this case.

Brian Panish reacted to all that with a sudden revelation on his part. He said that the IRS is investigating the people “who hired Briggs” and “for whom he undervalued Sony ATV catalogue” (evidently meaning the Estate who hired him in 2009).

In short all of it turned into a really big mess and an equally big sensation. In the meantime I looked up what IRS means:

  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service. The federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing the Treasury Department’s revenue laws, through the assessment and collection of taxes.

So the government tax collection body is checking up on the Estate to see whether the ATV catalog was properly evaluated? And whether the Estate paid all the taxes due to them? So they think that they catalog costs much more?

What an unexpected turn to the events …The ABC tweets give the details of the sensational day:

Tuesday July 30 DAY 59 

  • Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. Day 59 of Jackson family vs AEG trial has just wrapped up. This is Week 14
  • Eric Briggs was back on the stand. Sabrina Strong finished direct examination.
  • Katherine Jackson was present in court, wearing a black and white jacket with floral details.
  • Before testimony resumed, AEG’s Kathryn Cahan said last week, when Dr. Saunders’ video deposition was played, they didn’t read a correction
  • She said when Dr. Saunders said the only two drugs he know of were Demerol and morphine — it should be buprenorphine instead of Morphine.
  • Strong continued her questioning. Briggs said he was tasked to analyze Erk’s projection related to MJ’s potential work-related income.
  • Briggs Conclusions:
  • 1- It is speculative as to whether these projects would be completed;
  • 2- The projection and numbers are speculative
  • Strong finished her questions. Jacksons’ attorney Brian Panish did cross examination.
  • Briggs said he’s engaged in this matter as AEG and O’Melveny & Myers expert witness.
  • I’m offering my independent opinion in his matter, Briggs said. As an individual, he’s not being paid.
  • Panish asked if his company was being paid, and the expert said FTI consulting is billing fees in this matter.
  • Panish: You are being paid by this side here, sir?
  • Briggs: I don’t agree with your characterization
  • Panish: You never worked for us?
  • Briggs: I’m not performing work in this matter for Mrs. Jackson and Panish law firm
  • I’m engaged in this matter as an expert witness, Briggs responded. “My firm has been hired by AEG and O’Melveny & Myers.”
  • Panish: So you are not independent?
  • Briggs: I’m not sure I understand where you’re going with this.
  • Briggs said he has had between 4 and 6 meeting with AEG’s attorneys over the last two weeks.
  • The expert said he worked 40-50 hours approximately since July 18. He said he went to the attorneys’ office 5 days last week, 2 this week
  • Briggs said another member of his firm (Matthew) is helping him in the case.
  • Matthew has been with the company for about a year and Panish says he’s the one who has been doing a lot of the work.
  • Briggs said Panish’s characterization that Matthew worked the most in this case is concerning.
  • Panish: How much, sir, have you charged O’Melveny & Myers?
  • Briggs said the total bill is in the order of $600,000 to $700,000.
  • Panish: And you say you’re independent, correct, sir?
  • Briggs: I’m offering my independent opinion in this matter

Note:  What Brian Panish probably means by his questions is that with so big sums paid to Briggs and his company for a mere “opinion” in the case it is actually difficult for the witness to remain unbiased. In polite terms it would be called influencing the opinion in favor of AEG, and in impolite terms it could be sheer bribery on their part.

The sum of $700,000 begin to looks all the more suspicious to us when we learn that Briggs does not have any documents to itemize the jobs for which this sum was charged though the judge ordered he should submit them (evidently due to the enormity of the sum).

And all this conversation makes us wonder even more when Panish says that the resulting file from Briggs contains very little information to present to court. No summaries of depositions or testimonies, no nothing. Briggs practically did nothing else but simply brush away Arthur Erk’s estimation as “speculation” – simple and easy as that. 

  • Briggs said his understanding is that there’s another person hired by AEG to testify regarding damages in this case.
  • Panish said the expert testified in his deposition he had worked 130 hours in this case.
  • Since his deposition, Briggs said he has worked approximately 200 additional hours, 350 hours total.
  • Panish showed the witness the bill sent by Briggs’ company. It does not detail the work done, only the amount of hours spent.
  • Briggs: Yes, I tell my assistant how much I worked on a case
  • Bill shows 17.3 hours worked, $13,840 charge.
  • Panish: Do you keep track of the hours you work?
  • Briggs said he doesn’t know specifically what he did on those hours, but did research in connection with the case, preparing for deposition.
  • Panish held a three ring binder with about 2 inches of documents and asked Briggs if those were all the documents he generated for $650K.
  • Briggs said that binder does not contain everything that he generated.
  • Panish: Everything contained in this little file is what you generated in this case, correct?
  • Briggs: By your definition, yes
  • Panish said the material Briggs generated is about an inch worth of documents.
  • Briggs said that if Panish is defining in printed paper what he generated, then yes. But if he counted deposition and testimony, then no.
  • Briggs: I did not put together an exhaustive list.
  • Panish: Did you ever make a list of all the depositions you reviewed in this case?
  • Briggs said he read thousands of pages of depositions, probably 10K.
  • Panish asked if Briggs made summaries of the depositions. He said no.
  • I cannot give you an exhaustive list of all the depositions I reviewed in this case, Briggs said. He named about 15/16 people.
  • Briggs said he reviewed the opening statements by both parties, summary judgment and opposition, and the judge’s ruling.
  • Briggs said he has only testified once in UK related to a tax case. He has never testified before in a court in the US.
  • The expert didn’t summarize the trial testimony he read either. He named about 7 people from whom he read testimony.
  • Panish: Did you review Billboard Magazine regarding this case?
  • Briggs: Yes
  • Panish: You never promoted a concert, have you?
  • Briggs: I’m not a concert promoter
  • Briggs also said he has never produced concerts. People in the music industry are his clients, Briggs said.
  • May 22, 2008 Is it "speculation" to think that he could earn money? For answer look at those men in almost a prayer

    May 22, 2008 Is it “speculation” to think that he could earn money? For answer look at those men in the audience who are almost in a prayer

    Panish: And the highest selling album in the history of the world is “Thriller,” correct, sir?

  • Briggs: I believe that’s correct. The chart stated it sold 65 million.
  • Panish: You understand the defendants say they are not responsible for anything in this case, right?
  • Briggs: I’m not entirely sure what the defendants said they are responsible for
  • He said he was asked to opine on plaintiff’s damage analysis.
  • I don’t believe the defendants are admitting they owe anything Briggs said.
  • Panish: MJ would earn no money in the future had he not died?
  • Briggs: My opinion is that it is speculative to project that he (MJ) would earn money related to work.
  • Panish: Your opinion, had MJ not died, he would have earned no money, correct?
  • Briggs: That’s not my opinion
  • Panish: How much would he have made working in concerts?
  • Briggs: My opinion is that it is speculative to project earnings for future work
  • Panish: Could he have made money working?
  • Briggs: Sure, anything is possible
  • Briggs: My opinion related to Mr. Erk’s analysis, which has earning capacity in it.
  • Briggs said his understanding is that future earning capacity is what someone is expected to receive for future work.
  • Panish asked if Briggs has ever testified regarding loss of income in wrongful death or personal injury cases. The expert said no.
  • I’ve not done projection of loss of earning capacity, Briggs said.
  • Briggs said he’s worked an average of 50 weeks per year over the past 15 years. Panish calculated it to be about 750 weeks of work.
  • Panish: So you worked on 1300 projects in 750 weeks? [NOTE: approx. 1 project per 3 work days]
  • Briggs: Approximately.
  • Not getting any endorsement deals? Really? (May 22, 2008)

    No chance to get an endorsement deal? Really? (May 22, 2008)

    Panish showed a document Briggs wrote that was basis for opinion on not getting endorsement is debt.

  • Briggs notes: Challenges with major advertisers given history (drug usage, child abuse, litigation, debt); also negative publicity
  • Briggs: MJ history of significant debt figured in my opinion that MJ would encounter challenges in securing endorsements.
  • Panish asked if Briggs considered MJ’s Sony ATV catalogue, which is one of his assets, to offset the debt.
  • Panish: “How do you know he was in debt?”
  • Briggs: There were extensive testimony in this case about MJ’s debt
  • Panish asked if Briggs knows that MJ had assets with value. Briggs said yes.
  • Panish asked if Briggs knows that MJ’s asset, especially one, exceeded the amount of his debt.
  • Briggs said he’s concerned about confidentiality agreement in answering this question.
  • Panish: You know, through your own knowledge, that MJ’s assets far exceeded his debts when you wrote that on the sheet, don’t you sir
  • Judge gets mad with Strong for not stopping the objections, tells her to abide by her rulings. Strong continued, judge called a sidebar.
  • Briggs said he does not know that MJ had assets worth more than 300 or 400 or 500 million when he wrote his opinion .
  • Panish: Did you value that asset (Sony’s catalogue)?
  • Briggs: Yes
  • Briggs said he had knowledge of some of MJ’s asset.
  • Panish: It’s well in excess of $500 million, isn’t it, sir?
  • Briggs: I’m sorry I’m having a trouble here, but I don’t want to disclose any confidential information.
  • Panish asked if the gross value Briggs put for the Sony catalogue is well in excess of the value of MJ’s debt.
  • I don’t remember the number, Briggs said. “I did not believe that’s the case.”
  • Briggs: I believe the testimony the debt associated with Sony ATV catalogue was $400 million.
  • Panish wants to know if the gross value of the catalogue was in excess of the debt. Briggs said no.
  • Briggs said he performed the evaluation of Sony’s catalogue many times, and his response was related to June 2009.
  • Briggs said he was working with someone unrelated to this case regarding the value of the Sony catalogue.
  • Briggs asked the judge to instruct him on what he should answer, since Panish wants to know who he was working with regarding the catalogue.
  • P: Have you been clear about your company to testify?
  • B: Absolutely
  • Panish: Do you have a conflict of interest in this case?
  • Briggs: No
  • Briggs said he’s not comfortable disclosing the names of the companies that hired him before.
  • Judge Yvette Palazuelos ordered him to answer.
  • Briggs: In one particular case, a law firm hired us. It was in late 2009, after Michael Jackson had died.
  • Panish asked if before MJ died if any law firm hired his company to assess MJ’s assets. Briggs said he doesn’t recall.
  • Regarding this asset, the Sony ATV catalogue, Briggs said he worked on evaluating it between 5-10 times.
  • Briggs said he provided his opinion in those engagements, 5 to 10 times, before MJ died, to 3 or 4 third parties.
  • Panish: Was one of them Sony?
  • Briggs: Yes.
  • Sony ATV Music Publishing was one of the companies, not Sony music, Briggs said. 
  • Fortress Capital — Briggs said it was another company. He recalls law firm and there may have been financial companies.
  • Panish: Goldman Sachs?
  • Briggs: It’s possible, I work on hundreds of projects a year.
  • Panish: Goldman Sachs hired you regarding MJ, right sir?
  • Briggs: I don’t recall specifically. 
  • Briggs said he watched the testimony of Meglen in the overflow room. He was accompanied by 3 AEG attorneys.
  • Panish asked if Briggs worked with MJ before being retained in this case. He said yes and that he discussed it with AEG.
  • Briggs testified AEG didn’t see the work done in previous engagements as conflict of interest.
  • Briggs said that what was more important to him is what FTI’s general counsel thought and they determined there was no conflict of interest.
  • Briggs said he had engagement agreements with a number of entities related to MJ.
  • I went one step further and told them (AEG) I would not be discussing anything regarding my other work, Briggs said.
  • Panish: Who did you call, have sign waiver in writing about a potential conflict of interest?
  • Briggs said there wasn’t anything in writing. 
  • My recollection was the attorneys for the Estate of Michael Jackson, Briggs testified. He said a call took place, doesn’t know who called.
  • Briggs was retained on February 8, 2013. He spoke with Jeryll Cohen from MJ Estate and she okay’d him to testify as witness in this case.
  • She was well aware what was going on and approved it. Briggs said he told her he had no interest in sharing the work done for the Estate.
  • Briggs said he spoke with Cohen again about two months ago, and she acknowledged his work on this case.
  • Briggs receives a salary and bonus based on performance of the division.
  • FTI is a public traded company. Briggs said he thinks the company was approaching $2 billion in revenues last year.
  • Briggs testified he saw testimony that MJ had one life week to live after June 25, 2009, the day of the artist’s death.
  • Panish said Dr. Shimelman testified MJ’s life expectancy was one week based on Dr. Murray’s treatment of him.
  • Briggs: I believe his statement was MJ’s life expectancy was one week, and he was taking into effect a lot of things: Dr. Murray, drug use
  • Panish: Are you aware that IRS is investigating the people who hired you and undervalued Sony ATV catalogue?
  • Objection: Sustained. 
  • Panish: Dr. Murray was a big risk to MJ’s health, wasn’t he?
  • Dr. Earley said MJ was essentially playing Russian roulette in the way he was using drugs, Briggs said.

NOTE: Panish is talking to Briggs about Murray being a risk for Michael. The risk cannot be even disputed as actually Michael died in his hands, Murray was found guilty of manslaughter and put in jail for his criminal negligence.

However Briggs twists the question and answers that it was Michael who risked his life by using this drug. This answer makes all the difference in the world as it deliberately shifts the focus from one person to the other – Briggs takes off the guilt from the doctor who was responsible for administering propofol and breaking his Hippocratic oath, and places it on the patient who trusted his doctor and put himself in his hands.

It would be the same as you invited a professional pyrotechnic to your garden to arrange fireworks for your guests and he burned down the house due to his gross negligence –  and now everyone accuses you of this crime though it was actually he who did it. Of course now you wish you had never done it, but on the other hand how could you know?

No, it isn’t the owner of the house or even the fireworks which are to really blame for the fire. It is the man who did it all and convinced you that making it on the roof is perfectly safe and even the best solution. Your only fault is that you were too naïve to believe his stories and think that you are safe under his expert guidance.

So if anyone was playing a death game with Michael’s life it was Murray. He didn’t have any monitoring equipment or measuring devices and didn’t know a thing about the effect of the drug and the way to administer it. Michael was sure that he was in competent hands and was told (evidently by Murray) that propofol was safe if his condition was monitored.

However Briggs turns it into a big and catchy story about Michael “playing the Russian roulette by taking drugs”. But Michael wasn’t taking drugs – they were given to him by a doctor. And when Dr. Shimelman said that Michael had only one week to live in Murray’s hands he was talking only of the doctor and not Michael or even propofol.

Briggs was referring to Dr. Shimelman’s deposition he had read but none of the jurors saw,  and if Dr. Shimelman really said that Michael could die any night under Murray’s supervision he was absolutely right.

In fact with total lack of monitoring equipment Michael could have died the first time Murray administered propofol because Murray was adjusting the dripping manually. For propofol this method is out of the question as each extra drop can stop the patient’s breathing in no time.

By the way though everyone calls a deadly voluntary risk a Russian roulette we Russians never play it. Probably someone did centuries ago but now even the darest of us would not risk it. So much talk about it is just a big hype.

  • Panish asked if Dr. Murray was a risk to MJ’s health.
  • Briggs: I wasn’t focused on the risk, I was focused on a doctor assessing a record after the fact.
  • Panish: If Dr. Murray isn’t in the question, there’s no risk, right, sir?
  • Briggs: It appears in determining his life expectancy Dr. Shimelman took in consideration Dr. Murray.
  • Briggs: There are all kinds of risks, like risk of relapse, risk of the manner he’s taking the drugs.
  • Briggs: This is not my opinion, I’m not a doctor, I was relying on Dr. Shimelman’s testimony (about one week to live).
  • Briggs: Dr. Earley said the way MJ was taking drugs was like playing Russian roulette.
  • Briggs’ note says Dr. Shimelman — Die any night
  • Briggs: That’s what I recall from the testimony.
  • Panish: Isn’t it true Dr. Earley never blamed MJ for his addiction?
  • Briggs: I was asked to assess forecast earnings, not blame.
  • Briggs: To a lay person, Dr. Earley’s testimony that MJ was playing Russian roulette is talking about life expectancy.
  • Panish said Dr. Earley wasn’t asked to opined on MJ’s life expectancy. Briggs read Dr. Earley’s deposition and that’s what it reads.
  • Briggs: Just to be clear, I can’t assess anyone’s life expectancy.
  • Briggs said he relied on AEG’s attorney to give him all the relevant materials related to what he’s been asked to opine.
  • The expert said he didn’t review MJ’s autopsy report, since he has no ability to read it.
  • Briggs said one of the experts he reviewed stated the normal actuary doesn’t apply to MJ’s life and behavior.
  • Briggs relied on Dr. Earley’s testimony. He was unable to give a life expectancy to MJ because he wasn’t hired for that.
  • Dr. Shimelman said if Dr. Murray remained in the picture, MJ would live only another week.
  • Dr. Schnoll said MJ could’ve been treated by a fit and competent doctor and remove the risk.
  • Briggs: Dr. Shimelman stated a life expectancy of one week, I don’t know how someone could perform for 9 months.
  • Panish: AEG thought MJ could do 50 shows, didn’t they, sir?
  • Briggs: AEG had a plan for 50 shows, they had a budget for 50 shows, they were interested in doing 50 shows.

NOTE: This is another sample of Briggs’ twisted logic and evasive vocabulary – AEG not only planned and thought that Michael could do 50 shows, but they actually sold tickets for 50 shows and without asking Michael’s consent too. So feigning surprise about these 50 shows now is ridiculous. All questions should go to AEG please.

As regards fraud in selling tickets Panish will also ask Briggs about, such a conclusion is inevitable if on the one hand they sell 50 shows but on the other hand don’t believe that Michael will be able to perform them.

  • Panish asked who was more knowledgeable in concerts, if Briggs or Paul Gongaware. Briggs responded it depends which aspect of the business.
  • Brigss: AEG did not hire me before February of this year.
  • Panish: Did AEG ever hire you to see if the show would happen or not?
  • Panish: Was AEG fraudulently selling tickets for the shows?
  • Briggs: I can’t opine on that, I’m not an expert in fraud.
  • Briggs: If I were hired, I’d have told my opinion that it’s speculative that the 9 months would have been completed.
  • It appeared they (AEG) believed the shows would’ve gone forward, Briggs testified.
  • Panish asked if AEG only hired him 3 and half years after MJ was dead. Briggs said yes.
  • Panish: Live Nation hired you to assess concert and feasibility?
  • Briggs: No
  • Judge then adjourned trial until 9:45 am PT tomorrow. Attorneys ordered at 9:30 am to discuss trial issues with the judge.
  • Next potential witnesses: Randy Jackson (via video depo), Michael La Perruque (MJ’s former head of security), Debbie Rowe, Rebbie Jackson
  • For all the latest, watch our newscasts @ABC7Courts or http://www.abc7.com . We hope to see you tomorrow for full trial coverage!

WEDNESDAY  JULY 31, 2013. DAY 60

The third day of Briggs’ testimony brought some clarification to the mess with the Estate and the ATV/Sony catalogue.

Now we learn that Briggs never discussed any conflict of interest with Ms. Cohen of the Estate, so consequently she could never waive it – he simply never asked her opinion about it.

If you compare it with what that article about Briggs said (“he sought and gained permission from the Jackson estate lawyer Jeryll Cohen to waive any potential conflict of interest”) you will see that someone is telling a big lie here.

Whatever was remaining of Briggs by then Panish ripped it into complete shreds. Panish methodically went over several issues, including the following:

–        Briggs’ employees just fresh from school charge $350 per hour and Briggs doesn’t even know what job they did for the project.

–        Gongaware planned to arrange 186 shows for Michael and was supposed to make for him $1,1 billion at the average price of $108 per ticket even according to AEG’s own estimation.

–        The tour of U2 grossed a big sum however Michael’s tickets for the History tour cost $37 only and made one third of the ticket for U2 shows, so for any comparisons to be accurate the profit the History tour should have been three times as much as the one actually collected.

–        Arthur Erk’s projection for several years of Michael future earnings was no speculation because AEG had a tour with Michael for three years (until 2012).

–        The coroner’s report did not state a single reason that could have reduced Michael’s life expectancy, however Briggs says he did not read it, though MJ’s life expectancy was central to his testimony.

–        Briggs read Tom Barrack’s deposition, but did not notice him saying that Michael could earn $500 a year if he put his head to it.

–        All performers cancel their concerts, however Briggs made his judgment of MJ’s cancellation rate without comparing it with anyone else, and now he admits that he doesn’t know the figures.

–        Briggs said that he was taking his information from the Internet and agreed that every 6th grader can do the same.

In short the cross-examination was so much bloodshed that at some point I even felt sorry for Briggs. Panish was relentless.

Wednesday July 31 DAY 60

  • Hello from the courthouse in downtown LA. Day 60 of Jackson family vs AEG trial to get underway soon.
  • Attorneys and judge are discussing future testimony and what will be and won’t be allowed to come in.
  • Defendants’ retained expert witness, Eric Briggs, will resume cross examination once trial begins today.
  • Rebbie Jackson is also expected to testify this week, but she’s sick. Randy Jackson will testify via video deposition.
  • Also coming soon to the stand is Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of two of MJ’s children and a nurse who treated the artist.
  • We’ll bring you all the details of today’s testimony as soon as we can. Remember, judge does not allow live tweet.
  • Eric Briggs was back on the stand. Brian Panish did cross examination. Katherine Jackson was present in white jacket with green leaves.
  • Panish asked Briggs who he contacted at the Estate of Michael Jackson to waive potential conflict of interest.
  • I believe FTI checked for conflict of interest, Briggs said. He said he received a form and the conflict of interest check was marked.
  • The expert said he doesn’t know who made the call to the Estate, if it was him or his partner.
  • Briggs: As far as I’m concerned, everything I’ve done for Estate and everything I’ve done on this matter have nothing to do with each other.
  • Panish: Sir, did you testify you discussed the potential for a conflict of interest with AEG’s attorneys?
  • Briggs: I never viewed it as a potential conflict of interest, I don’t think I characterized it that way. 
  • I discussed my previous engagements with O’Melveny & Myers, Briggs said.
  • Panish asked which lawyers Briggs discussed at OMM the potential for conflict of interest. He said Sabrina Strong and perhaps Jessica Bina.
  • Briggs met with AEG’s lawyers for about 15-20 minutes yesterday and another 15-20 minutes this morning.
  • Panish: Yesterday, you said you met with Ms. Cohen (attorney for the Estate), correct?
  • Briggs: Yes
  • Panish: Did Ms. Cohen say to you she waived any potential conflict between you, FTI, and the Estate of Michael Jackson?
  • Briggs: Ms. Cohen did not say that 
  • Panish asked if Briggs called Ms. Cohen to talk about the potential conflict of interest before his deposition. He said he doesn’t recall
  • Panish: Did you ask Ms. Cohen to waive any potential conflict of interest?
  • Briggs: I did not ask her that specific question 
  • Panish asked Briggs if he’s produced his time records related to this case. He said he turned the subpoena to FTI’s general counsel.
  • Panish: Has any attorneys for AEG told you that the court issued an order to you to produce your time records forthwith (immediately?
  • Briggs: No, my recollection is that the document was a subpoena.
  • Panish tells Briggs there’s a signed order to produce his time record in this case. Briggs asked to see it, since he doesn’t have it.
  • Panish showed several bills from FTI for Briggs without itemization of the work done. They are for $55,000, $189,000, $123,000, $155,902.
  • Panish points out there are two employees just out of school earning $350/hr. He asked where their time sheets were.
  • You’d expect someone working for that kind of money would produce records of what they worked on Panish asked. Briggs said he doesn’t know.
  • Panish: Does your company check the time worked before submitting bill to a client?
  • Briggs: I understand there’s a check system in place, but I don’t know how it works.
  • Panish asked if Briggs’ company has a billing department and itemization of work done. He said yes to first, doesn’t know the second.
  • Panish questioned Briggs, extensively, about all the bills FTI submitted and if he knew the specific work performed for each bill.
  • Panish: “Could he have money working?” Briggs: “Anything is possible”. Briggs surely didn’t see this picture where VIP guests are screaming like teenage girls (May 22, 2008)

    Panish: “Could he have money working?” Briggs: “Anything is possible”. Briggs surely didn’t see this picture where VIP guests are screaming like teenage girls (May 22, 2008)

    “My opinion is that it’s speculative he would earn any money working”, Briggs opined.

  • Panish: Your opinion is that MJ wouldn’t earn a dime for future work?
  • Briggs: Yes, taking the consideration the risk factors we know today
  • Briggs: MJ’s ability to secure endorsements from financial companies would be impacted by negative headlines associated with his debts
  • Panish asked if Pepsi, Nike, Red Bull, soft drink companies are financial companies. Briggs said no.
  • Briggs said that in matters he bills clients by the hour, he’s always charged $800 per hour. Other possibility is to charge flat fee.
  • The expert clarified that he probably didn’t charge $800/hour in the beginning of his career.
  • Panish asked Briggs if he was aware of anything that AEG did specifically to assess MJ’s health.
  • In his deposition, Briggs said he does not know anything specifically that AEG did to assess MJ’s health.
  • Panish asked if Briggs included merchandising revenue in the chart he made. Briggs said Erk testified the numbers included merchandising.
  • Briggs conceded he doesn’t know independently whether the merchandising revenue is included in the numbers.
  • I was absolutely comparing apples to apples, Briggs said.
  • Panish asked if U2 360 had 97,000 people at the Rose Bowl. Briggs said U2 was a 360 degree and they were able to fit a record crowd.
  • Panish inquired about Meglen’s testimony saying 97,000 people was not true. Briggs said he doesn’t think that’s what Meglen testified.
  • Chart:
  • 1- U2 360 in 2009 — 110 shows, $101, average 66K people
  • 2- Rolling Stones — 144 shows, $119, average 32K people
  • 3- AC/DC — 167 shows, $91, average 29K people
  • 4- Madonna — 85 shows, $115, average 42K people
  • MJ’s HIStory tour averaged 55K people, average ticket was $37, which is one third of U2’s ticket price.
  • The last MJ show was about 10-12 years prior to U2. U2 averaged 66K people.
  • Panish did this calculation: 55k (average of MJ’s audience) x 186 shows (Gongaware’s plan) x $108 (average TII ticket) = $1.1. billion
  • Panish: $108 ticket price times 55 thousand people times 186 shows, how does that come out sir?
  • Briggs: That is roughly $1.1 billion
  • Panish asked if there were drug use allegations regarding The Rolling Stones and AC/DC members.
  • Briggs said yes, there were headlines about it. Panish asked if it was the same headlines Briggs referred to about Michael Jackson.
  • Briggs said MJ’s drug use he analyzed was based on testimony in this trial, not tabloid headlines.
  • Briggs: Yes, I think AEG wanted to go on a worldwide tour with Michael Jackson.
  • Panish: How many concerts did Gongaware estimated to do?
  • Briggs: In Sept 2008, prior to an agreement with MJ?
  • Panish: Yes
  • Briggs: 186. 
  • Panish inquired if Dr. Shimelman testified that without Conrad Murray MJ would have had a normal life expectancy.
  • Briggs: What he said is that he was not able to offer a statement with the doctor out of the picture and that is significant.
  • Panish asked if Dr. Earley said MJ should not be to blame for his addiction. Briggs said yes, but said addicts should take responsibility
  • Briggs agreed that AEG entered into a 3 year contract with Michael Jackson.
  • There was wide spread media coverage, over the years, of MJ’s drug usage, Briggs said.
  • Panish: You’d expect AEG, someone in the business, to know about MJ’s drug use
  • Briggs: I’d generally expect they’d be aware of the headlines
  • Panish compared Briggs to an armchair quarterback after the fact, issuing opinion after the fact.
  • Briggs: My opinion, of course, is more informed than the one made at the time
  • Panish: Did you know AEG paid a medical doctor to exam Michael Jackson, yes or no?
  • Briggs: No
  • Panish: Did you know AEG paid money to have Dr. Slavit to check Michael Jackson?
  • Briggs: I didn’t have that specific knowledge
  • There was a physical on MJ in the beginning of 2009, Briggs said. He added he doesn’t know who hired the doctor and who paid him.
  • Briggs said he recall reading about MJ getting a physical and that everything was fine.
  • Briggs: My information is that the physical was passed and that there were no significant issues.
  • Panish: In your opinion that MJ wouldn’t complete 50 shows, you didn’t consider Dr Slavit?
  • Briggs: I don’t know if I reviewed it prior to depo
  • Panish: Were you aware coroner said MJ didn’t have any medical problem at the time of his death that would’ve his life expectancy reduced?
  • Briggs: I don’t recall that specific testimony, my knowledge is that the coroner’s report was introduced through doctor testimony.
  • My opinion is based after the facts, what we know today, Briggs testified.
  • Panish asked how many Dangerous shows were canceled. Briggs said in his opinion is between 3 to 10. He said he did research about it.
  • Panish wanted to know why Briggs didn’t bring the documents he relied on regarding the cancelation of the Dangerous tour.
  • Panish asked the judge to admonish Briggs to answer the questions several times throughout the morning.
  • When attorney asked the judge again, judge said: “I keep advising him, but…”
  • Panish: How old were you in 1993?
  • Briggs: About 17-18
  • Panish asked how many shows MJ performed in his career. Briggs said he doesn’t know for sure, thinks it’s 270 approximately.
  • Briggs said he cannot tell Panish what each specific bill means in terms of itemization of work done.
  • Panish asked if there’s any document detailing the time spent on the task and who did what regarding this case.
  • Briggs: To my knowledge, that information does not exist.
  • Panish wanted to know what type of time calculation software FTI uses. Briggs said he doesn’t know.
  • Briggs testified he doesn’t know if his company has been paid or not.
  • Briggs said in terms of actual dates, approximately 1.4% of the Dangerous shows were canceled.
  • Briggs reviewed Tom Barrack’s testimony. Panish asked if Barrack said if MJ wanted to, he could earn $500 million a year. Briggs said no.
  • Barrack runs Colony Capital, an investment company. It’s a multi-billion dollar entity.
  • Panish showed deposition of Barrack with interview saying MJ was a guy who could make $500 million a year if he put his head to it.
  • Panish: Barrack wanted to invest in Mr. Jackson and do work with him in the future, right, sir?
  • Briggs: Yes

NOTE: Next some clarification arrives as regards the estimation done by Briggs of the ATV/Sony catalogue.

We learn that that the Government (IRS) checked up the value of the catalogue and informed the Estate that its value was much higher than they stated.

After that the Estate evidently approached Briggs for explanations because it was Briggs who did the evaluation soon after Michael’s death. Now Panish is asking Briggs for details but he says it is confidential information. All those in court argue whether he can talk about it or not.

It must have been so heated a discussion that the judge even had to excuse herself to the jury saying that these arguments is what they usually do in the chambers and now they know what it’s like.

  • Panish: Government has stated one MJ asset is worth twice his debt, isn’t it, sir?
  • Briggs: The only information I have in that respect is from attorneys of the Estate of Michael Jackson and I’m concerned with confidentiality
  • Panish: You are well aware the value of one asset is doubled any debt he had, isn’t that, sir?
  • Briggs: The only information I received in this regard came from lawyers of the Estate of Michael Jackson.
  • Briggs: They hired us to perform work related to Sony ATV catalogue as of the date of MJ’s death.
  • Panish argues there’s no attorney-client privilege,and Briggs should be ordered to answer.
  • Briggs said he only learned about what he knows of what the government claims regarding Sony ATV catalogue from the Estate. 
  • Judge and attorneys extensively argued whether Briggs has attorney-client privilege with the Estate of Michael Jackson.
  • Judge to the jurors: Now you know what we do in chambers. That’s the stuff we argue about.
  • Panish asked if MJ paid for Katherine Jackson’s bills and expenses. Briggs said he doesn’t recall the specific comments.
  • Panish asked if MJ bought his mother a $500,000 motorhome. Briggs said he doesn’t recall.
  • Panish wanted to know if Briggs reviewed all the relevant documents in this case. He said the attorneys gave him documents, he asked others
  • Briggs identified 3 primary risks:
  • – Health/medical experts
  • – Projects falling through/cancellations
  • – Industry/precedent
  • Panish asked where Dr. Murray was in the risk. Briggs said he did not take Dr. Murray into account.
  • Panish: What’s Madonna’s cancellation rate?
  • Briggs: I don’t know
  • Panish mentioned U2 canceled shows for Bono’s back surgery, Madonna canceled show to be with her family, Guns N’Roses canceled and returned.
  • Panish asked about Eric Clapton and Van Halen’s cancellation of shows. Briggs doesn’t recall how many were canceled.
  • Panish said Briggs got his information from articles out of the internet.
  • Panish: All of these information, someone in 6th grade would be able to get the same exact information off the internet, correct, sir?
  • Briggs: They may have the same information but the interpretation is absolutely different.
  • Panish: Are you saying all these people are risks and no one should do business with them?
  • Briggs: I didn’t say that
  • Panish asked how many shows AEG does in a year. Briggs said he doesn’t know.
  • Briggs estimated hundreds, perhaps thousands shows happen in a year around the world.
  • Panish: Did you take in consideration Randy Phillips and Dr. Murray had shared responsibility to get MJ into rehearsal? Briggs didn’t recall
  • Panish showed email saying Phillips and Dr. Murray were responsible for getting MJ to rehearsal. Briggs said he doesn’t recall it.
  • Briggs said that sometimes his clients don’t follow their advice. “Our advice is not always right,” the expert said.
  • The truth of my opinion has nothing to do with how much we’re being paid in this case, Briggs testified.
  • Panish asked what specific work Matthew did. Briggs said he researched cities Erk said concerts would take place, audience capacity, arenas
  • In deposition, an attorney asked Briggs if he performed specific calculation to demand in India for a MJ show in 2009-2012.
  • Briggs said he did not nor was he aware of any material to enable them to make projections about India.
  • Panish: Could Mr. Jackson make movies?
  • Briggs: Yes
  • Panish: Do you agree Mj could have toured?
  • Briggs: Had he lived, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have acted in movies?
  • Briggs: It’s possible, sure
  • Panish: How much actors get paid for good movies?
  • Briggs: It vary from a few million to many millions of dollars
  • Panish: MJ could have made records?
  • Briggs: Yes, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have been involved in movies?
  • Briggs: Yes, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have done tours?
  • Briggs: Yes, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have gotten endorsements?
  • Briggs: Yes, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have sold merchandise?
  • Briggs: To the extent the shows happened, it’s possible
  • Panish: Could he have done a residency shows in Las Vegas?
  • Briggs: It’s possible
  • Panish: Did you look into MJ having a residency show with Celine Dion?
  • Briggs: I’m not aware of that
  • Katherine Jackson stated that Michael Jackson didn’t want to be moonwalking at 50 years old, Briggs said.
  • Panish: Did Ortega testify he discussed with MJ going on a worldwide tour and going to India?
  • Briggs: I don’t recall that in trial testimony
  • Panish asked if Ortega testified that he wanted to do films with MJ and wanted to be involved in anything Jackson related. Briggs said yes.
  • Panish inquired if Taj Jackson also testified about MJ wanting to do movies. Briggs answered yes.
  • Panish asked about album “Thriller 25” released in 2006 or 2007. Briggs said he concentrated on MJ’s brand new albums in his chart.
  • I would describe it (Thriller 25) as successful re-release, Briggs said.
  • Panish asked how many people “Q” score company surveys. Briggs said he thinks they measure about 1800 people. Panish said it’s 1400.
  • Briggs said the “Q” scores measure people in the US. Panish asked if it were measured around the world. Briggs said there wasn’t available.
  • Panish: All you have is 1800 people surveyed across the United States?
  • Briggs: That’s correct
  • The Q” score was not relevant to ticket sales” Briggs said. Panish asked how the ticket sales went in London. Briggs responded “very well”
  • Panish: Mr. Gongaware had no concern that Mr. Jackson could do 50 shows, correct?
  • Briggs: With the information he had, it appeared that way
  • Outside the presence of the jury, attorneys and judge discussed about what Briggs recalls regarding Gongaware’s testimony.
  • Judge: It seems like he doesn’t recall, or doesn’t want to recall, the testimony.

NOTE: From the next piece we more or less begin to understand what is happening between Briggs, the Estate and AEG.

First of all Panish said that the Estate had not given Briggs a permission to testify in this case. So evidently the Estate lawyers do see his testimony here as a conflict of interest.

Then we learn that Briggs undervalued the ATV/Sony catalogue – both in 2009 and consequently in all other cases when various parties approached him. He undervalued it when Fortress asked for an estimation, when Sony/ATV Music Publishing themselves asked for it and when most probably Tom Barrack was evaluating it too.

If Barrack also approached Briggs and used his wrong estimation it would be extremely important as it was actually after Barrack presented the situation as ‘desperate’ to Michael that he agreed to work with AEG.

But now we learn that the actual value of the catalogue is much higher (according to government estimation), so Michael was totally misguided in his understanding of his own finances and was put under too much unnecessary pressure by his advisors who at that time were Tohme and Barrack. Panish said Michael could have gone on spending money for another 30 years and still have money to his credit.

Even after all those clarifications the situation is still a mess:

  • Briggs doesn’t know whether he is subpoenaed by the IRS as up till now he got information only from the Estate.
  • The IRS is now in discussions with the Estate but no one can say what kind of investigation is going on (Putnam says they can’t ask).
  • And no one knows whether there is a conflict of interest in Briggs’ testifying for AEG but simultaneously having access to information about the catalogue and having done a job for the Estate. The judge wants a representative of the Estate to come and say whether they waived the conflict of interest or whether they didn’t.

And for the dessert of it:  Briggs says that Branca did not say anything positive about Michael’s ability to make money, however then he clarifies himself saying that he never asked about it because “the positives were apparent to him” and “he knew them very well” anyway. This looks like another of those cases when Briggs allegedly “sought and gained permission from the Estate” but later you find out that he did not even ask.

Briggs is to go on with this testimony on Thursday too, so the thrill, mess and fun of it will evidently continue.

ABC tweets say about it:

  • Panish: The IRS has called into question what this witness is trying to say. The Estate never gave witness waiver to testify in this case.
  • Panish: He never had permission, never had waiver. I believe the true facts will show he didn’t contact Ms. Cohen until after his deposition
  • Panish: There’s no privilege regarding the value of ATV catalogue being double the amount of MJ’s debts.
  • Panish: His credibility is seriously at issue here, there’s no privilege whatsoever 
  • Bina: Briggs said he believes debt aspect would make MJ not appealable to endorsements.
  • Bina: Ackerman has analyzed in great detail MJ’s spending, debt. She said her understanding that conflict of interest has been waived.
  • Bina: The government and his company may have a different understanding as to the catalogue value.
  • Judge: What kind of investigation is that?
  • Putnam: We don’t know, we can’t ask.
  • Bina: There’s no conflict of interest. Besides that, Erk didn’t consider the ATV catalogue value and debts.
  • Panish: They want to show he was destitute and had not money. That’s not true, he could’ve spent money for 30 years and still not be in debt.
  • Bina: He cleared the engagement for work on this case, not the debt.
  • Judge: It sounds pretty suspicious to me.
  • Bina: It doesn’t matter whether MJ was in debt (for endorsement), but the negative perception he was in debt was sufficient.
  • Boyle: He said that the value of the ATV catalogue was less than the debt. And that’s not true. He knows it’s not true.
  • Boyle: According to the IRS, it’s much higher than the debt.
  • Judge: I don’t understand him claiming privilege as to what the IRS says the value of the catalogue is 
  • Panish asked if Briggs has done extensive work regarding the value of Sony ATV catalogue.
  • Briggs said yes, for Goldman Sachs; Sony ATV, not corporate; Fortress Capital; Estate of MJ; Law firm in 2007.
  • Briggs said it’s all in connection with the evaluation of Sony ATV catalogue. The expert said he gets rehired some times.
  • Briggs has given valuation opinions in writing, which is easily accessible. 
  • Briggs: The work was performed after MJ’s death, but the valuation is of date of death.
  • Panish: You don’t consider IRS putting into question your work a major problem?
  • Briggs: IRS review about valuation is very commonplace, specially in large estates.
  • Judge: It sounds like you have info not subject to privilege, with other companies that ordered the valuation.
  • Panish: He put a very low value on the catalogue and said it is less than MJ’s debts, when the IRS valued it twice.
  • Panish said the value ranges from a billion to 8 billion dollars. He knows the IRS has given much higher value, the attorney argued.
  • Perry Sanders: the other side could stipulate there’s another valuation that says the Sony catalogue is almost 2 times the debt.
  • Bina: The problem is that we don’t know the answer, we don’t know that to be true.
  • Panish asked if Briggs has been subpoenaed by IRS. He said he’s not aware.
  • Briggs: I understand the IRS is in discussions with the Estate.
  • Judge said to get the Estate lawyer in court to see if there’s a waiver.
  • Panish: If Briggs said something that’s not true, it goes against his credibility.
  • Bina said MJ’ business manager said MJ had no ability to borrow money and had no money at time of death.
  • Panish: That’s not true! He didn’t know how much catalogue was worth, had $6 million in an account that Tohme was holding, so he had money.
  • Jury then entered the courtroom. Testimony resumed.
  • Panish asked Briggs if he knows the average ticket price for MJ’s show was $108. He said it’s approximately right.
  • John Branca is a prominent entertainment attorney. Briggs said he was brought back around the time MJ died.
  • Briggs doesn’t recall Branca saying he believes MJ could have done the 50 shows.
  • Panish: All you remember is the things that were against MJ?
  • Briggs: My opinion is not against MJ.
  • Panish asked if Briggs noted anything positive that Branca said regarding MJ’s ability to make money. He said he doesn’t believe he did.
  • Briggs: The positive I knew quite well, so there’s no notes to that, the positives were apparent.
  • Briggs said the points in his outline is to support his opinion, since the positive things he already knew about.
  • Briggs said he reviewed Shawn Trell’s trial testimony of 4 days but does not recall anything he said that was relevant to his opinion.
  • Briggs said the figures below are for ticket sales and merchandising:
  • Prod 1 — $94 million
  • Prod 2 — $107 million
  • Briggs said there’s a non-appearance insurance on the budget. Lloyds of London charged $450,000 for the premium.
  • Panish: How much did the pay out was?
  • Briggs: I have no idea
  • Court adjourned until tomorrow at 10 am PT. Attorneys ordered at 9:45 am PT to discuss conflict of interest.
  • Next witnesses:
  • Eric Briggs
  • MJ’s estate attorney Howard Weitzman to appear as well.
  • Barry Seagal (MJ financial advisor to talk about his spending)
  • Michael La Perruque (former head of MJ’s security)
  • For all the latest watch @ABC7 and http://www.abc7.com . We hope to see you tomorrow for complete coverage. Have a great night everyone!

BEGINNING OF THE DISASTER

On the fourth day of the week all this information began to sink and what initially looked like a comedy began to acquire its truly tragic meaning. 

Look at this picture of Michael Jackson taken on May 22, 2008: 

May 22, 2008 Michael is still perfectly fine. But soon after that Tohme and Barrack will say that MJ's situation is desperate and he needs to work (with AEG Live)

May 22, 2008 Michael is still perfectly fine. But Tohme/Barrack/AEG are already out for him

Source: http://en.michaeljackson.ro/photo/christian-audigier-50th-birthday-party-22-mai-2008(359)

Michael is attending the 50th birthday party of Christian Audigier here and the photo is taken exactly a year before Michael died. He looks perfectly fine here. 

But though Michael is still looking great it is at this very moment that the future disaster is actually beginning.

Tom Barrack and Tohme Tohme are already in the picture. 

On May 11, 2008 Barrack bought a foreclosure note on Neverland presenting it as a big favor to Michael though he was simply bying great property at a minimal price. Neverland was turned into a joint venture with a minimal stake for MJ.

Barrack’s financial advisors look into the numbers provided by Eric Briggs to Fortress and claim that Michael’s financial situation is so desperate that going back on stage is his only choice.

Michael takes the news very hard but eventually agrees to go back to touring. Barrack calls his friend Phil Anschutz of AEG and forces Michael into the deal.

This is how it started.

And now we learn that all of it began with this jolly Eric Briggs who minimized the value of Michael’s assets and stated that they were too low to cover his loans?

No, I no longer feel sorry for this fraudster. I hope he also gets what he deserves.

This is how the disaster began:

Barrack’s turn into entertainment investing began with a visit to Michael Jackson’s home in Las Vegas in 2008. Barrack had received a call from Tohme Tohme, a fellow Lebanese-American who had become Jackson’s business manager. Jackson hadn’t released a new album or done a world tour in years, but he had three significant assets: the Neverland property, the MiJac catalogue of his own music, and the enormous Sony/ATV catalogue, which included, among other songs, most of the Beatles’ oeuvre.

Jackson was facing a crisis, Tohme said. The holder of $270 million in loans to Jackson was foreclosing on Neverland and planned to sell it in five days. Would Barrack meet with Jackson? “It’s so not Tom’s thing,” Lowe says. “Getting roped into spending half an hour with Michael Jackson in some weird house is just not on his agenda.”

Somewhat grudgingly, Barrack arrived at Jackson’s fifties stucco rental on Palomino Lane. “Not one blade of grass,” Barrack says. “The house was old and musty.” The 1,000-plus-page Sony/ATV catalogue was on the table between them, and Barrack was quickly won over. “For sure, the guy is an absolute genius,” Barrack says. “He was remembering not just songs but every performance, every date, every script.”

When it came to business matters, though, Jackson was lost. He knew only that if Neverland was foreclosed on as scheduled, it would trigger a cascade of financial devastation. For the past decade, he had repeatedly staved off financial reckoning by borrowing. Now he was out of options.

As a rule, Barrack is drawn to distressed situations. One of his rules for success.

Barrack had a relationship with the loan holder, Fortress, and was able to get an extension to give his Colony team time to crunch the numbers. They concluded that the only way to make a deal work would be for Jackson to start generating new revenue, which meant performing old material.

Two days later, Barrack called Jackson. “I told him: ‘Where you are is an insolvable puzzle unless you’re willing to go back to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we can help, but if you’re not willing to do that, it’s just presiding over a funeral.’ ” At first, Jackson demurred. “He really had a hard time with that, and he struggled for about three days. Finally, he calls back and says, ‘You’re right, I’ll do it.’ ”

Colony agreed to bail out Jackson; in return, the firm would take ownership of Neverland and arrange for AEG, the concert promoter owned by Barrack’s friend Phil Anschutz, to stage a comeback.

… Jackson moved into a gated $100,000-a-month mansion in Bel-Air to prepare for a run of 50 concerts in London that would relaunch his career.

http://nymag.com/news/business/69782/index2.html

THURSDAY AUGUST 1, DAY 61

Here is an article by Alan Duke explaining that the Estate never allowed Briggs to help AEG in Katherine’s case against AEG and that Briggs undervalued Michael’s share in the ATV catalog by up to $300 mln:

Michael Jackson estate denies allowing expert to help AEG Live

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s estate never gave an expert it hired permission to help AEG Live defend against the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother and children, the estate’s top lawyer said Thursday.

The revelation raised questioned about the testimony of entertainment industry consultant Eric Briggs, who was hired by AEG Live to challenge the Jacksons’ expert opinions concerning damages the concert promoter might owe if found liable in the singer’s death.

Briggs told the court this week that his company — FTI Consultants — had gotten a waiver from a Jackson estate lawyer before agreeing to work on the concert promoter’s defense.

Briggs had signed a confidentiality agreement with the Jackson estate in 2010 when he was hired to determine the value of its biggest asset — the Sony-ATV music catalog that includes the Beatles songs — for the estate’s tax filings in 2010.

He was hired by AEG Live lawyers in February to prepare a challenge of the opinion of an expert hired by the Jackson lawyers to calculate how much money the singer would have earned had he not died while working on his comeback concerts in 2009.

Briggs said he — or someone else in his company — gained permission from the Jackson estate lawyer Jeryll Cohen to waive any potential conflict of interest.

“No one from the estate or any lawyers authorized or waived any potential conflict for FTI or Mr. Briggs,” Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman wrote in an e-mail read in court Thursday.

Such a waiver would be counter to the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries — Jackson’s mother and three children, a Jackson lawyer said.

Despite the conflict, the judge ordered Briggs to answer questions posed by Katherine Jackson’s lawyers about the music catalog. He said although his valuation placed Jackson’s interest in the catalog at about the same level as Jackson’s debt at the time of his death — which he said was $400 million — the IRS challenged it as low.

An independent analyst hired by the IRS concluded he had undervalued Jackson’s interest in the catalog by up to $300 million, Briggs testified.

Jackson lawyers argue it is evidence the singer was not broke when he died, contrary to what Briggs said in his testimony.

Briggs testified this week that it was his opinion that it was speculative that Jackson would have earned a dime more in his life if he had not died of a propofol overdose on June 25, 2009. He based his opinion on the testimony of a doctor who said earlier that he did not think Jackson would have lived even another week past that date.

Panish, however, pointed out that the doctor’s opinion was based on the assumption that Dr. Conrad Murray would still be giving Jackson nightly infusions of propofol — the surgical anesthetic the coroner said killed him — as a treatment for insomnia. The Jackson’s suit contends AEG Live is liable because it negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray.

http://us.cnn.com/2013/08/01/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

SORTING OUT THE MESS

And at the end of the week I read one of the transcripts of Erick Briggs’s testimony and this helped to realize a few things.

First of all Briggs produced a very strange impression of someone who was either totally unprofessional or was covering up for something. See for yourself:

1) His company has 4000 employees. Out of all those people he says he was assisted in his evaluation of Michael Jackson’s earning capacity by a certain Matthew Mucinow. This Matthew has been with the company for a year after college and Briggs doesn’t even know what he majored in. In other words he doesn’t know what the person who did this top important estimation for him is even specializing in!

2) As regards the problem of that ‘waiver’ from the Estate and Michael’s catalog now I am beginning to see the situation in a totally different way.

Briggs said that Michael would not get any endorsement deals because he was in debt. Panish said that in order to state that a person is in debt one should compare his assets with his liabilities, so please state where you took your numbers from. AEG’s attorneys immediately sprang up to object saying it was confidential information. But the question is – if it is so confidential why did Briggs raise it at all?

If he said that the value of Michael’s assets was lower than the debt he needed to prove it, but proof was exactly what he could not provide due to a confidentiality agreement with the Estate.

So the problem was not in that waiver from the Estate, but in the fact that AEG KNEW that Briggs could not explain himself but they nevertheless allowed him to drop that bomb and most probably even encouraged him to do it. 

3) It seems that there is indeed a very big conflict of interest in connection with Briggs. If Briggs said, when speaking for AEG, that Michael’s assets were lower than his liabilities it means that he did disclose this confidential information to AEG. He probably did not give them the numbers but he stated the fact, thus using the information obtained from his earlier estimation of the catalog for the Estate.

But if AEG had retained another evaluation expert he would not have provided to them this information, and this is where the big difference is. And this is probably why AEG paid so much to Briggs – for getting access to his very special knowledge.

4) Giving AEG access to this information (not in numbers, but in relative terms) but denying it to Panish turns the situation into something totally outrageous. Briggs makes some top important statements, but Panish cannot check them because Briggs says it is “confidential”!

Putnam tells Panish to go to the Estate and ask them, but Panish says that the Estate refused to give them any numbers. The Estate did not give any numbers to AEG either, but AEG did not need the numbers – all they needed was an answer from Briggs to a question “Are MJ’s assets lower than his liabilities?” to which Briggs most probably just nodded. And that was it.

The number here is not that important, it is the fact itself which AEG wanted to get from Briggs.

5) And later on we hear that the number which Briggs used in his evaluation is not correct as IRS has just estimated the catalog much higher – by up to $300 mln for Michael Jackson’s part alone. Again we don’t know the numbers but it nevertheless completely overturns the situation – now the assets become higher than the liabilities, and by a very big sum too.

But AEG did not know of it and retained this particular expert to come and drop a bomb in the courtroom that MJ was deeply in debt and even bankrupt, all this time knowing that Panish WOULD NOT BE ABLE to refute this information as he was not privy to the figures – Briggs will simply not provide them to Panish as he had a confidentiality agreement with the Estate.

And this is probably why AEG paid so much to Briggs.

In short it was a big, a very big game.

By the way if God had not helped us and IRS had not looked into the value of the catalog we wouldn’t have known that Michael’s part was actually much more expensive. The Estate was relying on Briggs’s figures too and most probably would have never disclosed this information to anyone not to hurt their and MJ’s financial interests.

All of it is simply amazing.

Briggs’s July 30th testimony was posted by TeamMichaelJackson:

72 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2013 4:12 am

    “Briggs said his understanding is that MJ’s Estate did not agree to AEG’s proposed Las Vegas tour.” I am doing a re-read. Why would this come into question? What is the context I am missing something here? Michael was alive at the time so therefore there was no “MJ Estate”.” – Dialdancer

    Dial, Briggs was talking about AEG’s offer to the Estate to jointly do a Las Vegas tribute show after Michael’s death. The Estate refused:

    Q. Okay. And you mentioned this was a post-death proposal. Do you know whether the estate of Michael Jackson’ actually agreed to this proposal?

    A. I understand the estate did not agree to the proposal.

    Like

  2. August 30, 2013 9:37 pm

    “Briggs said his understanding is that MJ’s Estate did not agree to AEG’s proposed Las Vegas tour.”

    I am doing a re-read. Why would this come into question? What is the context I am missing something here? Michael was alive at the time so therefore there was no “MJ Estate”. None of the men who are in control of the Estate now were hired by Michael for the TII tour so the “Estate” not be in a position to make a decision on any Vegas tour?

    Like

  3. August 10, 2013 12:07 pm

    I don´t understand the apnea at all.It must have been some unexpected result of medication incompatibility.There are certain enzyme paths medications or substances go through and sometimes these enzyme paths may be blocked, if 2 or more substances use the same.-
    like a traffic jam.Anyway the Dr. had the means to artificially ventilate MJ for a little while.
    Michael was interested in medical literature. Sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous.

    Like

  4. August 10, 2013 12:00 pm

    Helena, I was referring to the slow spech.Many people try wine for insomnia, actually it is not a good remedy.This does not mean that you should not enjoy a glass with dinner or one after
    a hard days or nights work.But it is not good for insomnia, many people who have not had insomnia before often try wine,but it does not help really.Ofcourse there are hardcore alcoholics who drink til they are unconsious.

    Like

  5. August 10, 2013 10:47 am

    “Maybe it was wine and michael was intoxicated?. He had a tendency to become dehydrated and there is little mention of that.If he drank wine it made the dehydration worse. When tired people often don´t pay enough attention to fluid intake.He was hospitalized for that in NYC in 1994. LMP immediately was sure it was drugs whereas no drugs were found in his blood.” – kaarin

    Are you talking about the reason why Michael had a short break in breathing? Or his slow speech which made Fournier suspicious and he refused to give his anesthesia? Whatever the case, what if he was simply suffering from lack of sleep and it made him tired and his speech slow?

    I think that the public should make their reality check when it comes to Michael Jackson. People are so used to taking him apart that they forget that he was a human being like all of us. He wasn’t a machine and could also be tired, stressed out, suffer from lack of sleep and could relax with a glass of wine.

    I don’t understand why everyone 1) immediately assumed drugs when they saw him dragging his feet or collapsing and why 2) up till now many think that they have the right to judge him.

    Are all those who criticize Michael absolutely perfect? When I read their comments in newspapers and see the language they use I get the impression that all of them are from the gutter.

    Like

  6. August 10, 2013 10:18 am

    Maybe it was wine and michael was intoxicated?.He had a tendency to become dehydrated and there is little mention of that.If he drank wine it made the dehydration worse. When tired people often don´t pay enough attention to fluid intake.He was hospitalized for that in NYC in 1994. LMP immedsiately was sure it was drugs whereas no drugs were found in his blood.
    Not that is was good exactly, but not illegal and sure not unusual for a lonely man in his hotel room.

    Like

  7. August 10, 2013 9:29 am

    Guys, since I had to jump back and forth with all those testimonies let me tidy up a bit and catch up with the rest. Here are the tweets from ABC on the last day of trial on week 14. LaPerruque testified right after Eric Briggs:

    Thursday August 1, DAY 61

    Hello everyone! Busy day at the courthouse today! Day 61 of Jackson family vs AEG trial, Week 14, has concluded.

    Eric Briggs was back on the stand, resumed cross examination. Jacksons’ attorney, Brian Panish, did the questioning.
    Katherine Jackson was present in court, wearing a navy blue jacket with white dots.
    Panish asked if independent appraiser hired by the IRS valued Sony ATV catalogue between 100 and 300 million. Briggs said “that’s correct.”
    Panish: And that Mr. Jackson had more assets, this was just one of them and it was valued 100 to 300 million in excess to the debt, correct?
    Briggs: I understand there were other assets.
    Panish said MJ had his own music catalogue, in addition to the other assets. Briggs agreed. The value was just for the Sony ATV catalogue.
    Panish showed a chart with MJ’s “Net” Earnings from Tours. Briggs said he relied on Paul Gongaware’s statement saying “Dangerous” lost money
    Panish said Gongaware is one of the defendants in this case. Briggs said he relied on his testimony.
    Panish: You’d expect he would know what was going on, right, sir?
    Briggs: I’d expect he had information that supported that statement
    Panish asked what was Gongaware’s involvement in “Dangerous” tour. Briggs said he believed he was involved in the production of the show.
    Panish: Did Mr. Gongaware deal with the artist in the tour?
    Briggs: They are dealing with many different factors, including the artist, MJ.
    Briggs: I understood he was involved in the production of the show and had knowledge to make that statement.
    Panish: Did you know MJ went into rehabilitation?
    Briggs: I know he ended the tour and entered a rehabilitation.
    Briggs said he cannot speak to specific knowledge of what Gongaware had. The expert said Gongaware made it very clear the tour lost money.
    Panish: Just a fact that he made the statement was good enough for you to rely on?
    Briggs: I did not check the veracity of the information. I relied exclusively on his statement.
    Briggs: I relied on Paul Gongaware’s statement.
    Panish: How do you know “HIStory” broke even?
    Panish asked if Briggs knew how much money MJ donated to charity from that tour. He said he doesn’t know.
    Panish: Did he give it to orphanages in India during that tour?
    Briggs: I don’t recall that specifically.
    My recollection was non-profit organization established and there were conflicting headlines as to what was going in entity, Briggs said.
    Briggs doesn’t know how much money MJ donated from the “HIStory” tour.
    Briggs said he met Gongaware at the AEG’s lawyers office.
    Panish: Were you there meeting with the lawyers?
    Briggs: Yes
    No one told Briggs that he shouldn’t ask Gongaware questions. Panish asked if he spoke with Gongaware about this case.
    Briggs: Our discussion was very high level, we spoke about the industry, friends in the industry, generic subjects.
    It was speculative whether the world tour would happen, Briggs said.
    Panish asked if mattered that there was no agreement beyond the 50 shows, since with agreement, it would be speculative in his opinion anyway.
    Briggs: I disagree with your logic, the lack of agreement supports my opinion that it is speculative that the world tour would happen.
    Briggs said MJ’s history of drug use, long-term effects, and that he was taking drugs in a very dangerous way shortened his life expectancy.
    Panish asked what “great prognosis” is. Briggs said it means that someone is partaking in actions that’s very dangerous.
    Briggs testify Dr. Earley said MJ’s drug use was like playing Russian roulette.
    Panish: Who put the bullets in the gun?
    Briggs: I believe he said it wasn’t an appropriate question.
    Panish: The witness wants to argue with me and not answer the quesitons.
    Judge: He’s answering the questions.
    Panish asked what was MJ’s cancellation rate for shows. Briggs said he doesn’t know for certain.
    Performance risk is whether people would come to the show, Briggs said. Panish asked if there was any question people would show for TII tour
    Briggs said no, that there was testimony they could’ve done at least 100 more shows based on demand.
    This It It tour:
    “Panish: Was there a plan to do O2 shows?
    Briggs: Yes
    P: Was there an audience?
    B: Certainly
    P: Was there finance?
    B: Yes”
    Panish: So all the factors were met for the O2 shows?
    Briggs: Yes
    “World tour:
    Panish: Was there ever a plan, in writing, from Gongaware for world tour?
    Briggs: If you’re referencing the Sept. 2008 plan, yes”
    The proposal reflected 186 shows, Briggs said. “It appears, based on exhibits I reviewed, that proposal was sent to Mr. Anschutz.”
    Briggs said he recalls Gongaware testifying they wanted to go on a world tour after O2 shows.
    Panish asked if Briggs reviewed MJ’s lawyer, Dennis Hawk, testimony that MJ was planning to go to Asia on tour. He said yes.
    Panish: Do you recall Mr. Hawk testified that MJ would get $400 million?
    Briggs: Tried to, yes, that’s what he hoped.
    He described that as his hope, yes, Briggs said. “He described as hope, not intention.”
    Panish asked if Hawk testified he had no doubts MJ would complete the shows successfully.
    Briggs said the word successfully was in the question, and that Hawk answer no, I have no doubts.”
    Regarding Kenny Ortega, Panish asked if MJ told Ortega that they were going on a world tour, asked ‘Have you ever been to India, you must.’
    And MJ continue to tell Ortega that after completing the O2 he wanted to take the show back out and around the world.
    “Whatever you’re doing, you have to come to India’ MJ told Ortega and then he said ‘Have you ever been to Japan?'”
    Ortega testified that after that, MJ was going to hang his hat up as touring artist and wanted to transition to do movies.
    “Panish: After the world tour, sir, isn’t that true?
    Briggs: I don’t recall the sequence of events
    Panish showed Ortega’s deposition.”
    Panish: Your interpretation of Ortega’s deposition is that he’s not going on tour?
    Briggs: He states here very clearly he had hopes.
    That someone hopes that something is going to happen it doesn’t indicate it will happen, Briggs said.
    Panish asked if Briggs saw Paris’ testimony that they were going on world tour.
    I believe I considered her testimony, but her testimony was not a foundation or basis for my opinion, Briggs testified.
    I understand Mr. Gongaware expressed same intention, and I relied on that, Briggs explained.
    Briggs said Gongaware had intentions based on what he knew then, not now.
    Briggs testified the range for merchandise is 5-15%. The budget had approximately 7-8% of total revenue tour in merchandise.
    Panish’s calculation: 186 shows x 55,000 people x $108 ticket = $1.1 billion x 7.5% merchandise = approximately $1.2 billion total.
    “Judge: Mr. Panish, why are you gesturing me?
    Panish: Ms. Strong is making faces at me, I didn’t want to say anything.
    Jurors groaned…”
    Strong: There has been many misrepresentations against me and my colleagues.
    “Judge: I don’t think making faces is something I should even have to acknowledge it. Just ignore it.
    Panish concluded his cross examination”
    Sabrina Strong did re-direct. Sony ATV catalogue contains Eagles music in and countless others, Briggs explained.
    I performed significant amount of work regarding Sony ATV catalogue over the last 5-10 years, the expert said.
    Michael Jackson and Sony corporation own the catalogue 50/50 each.
    Strong: Why were you so uncomfortable answering the questions regarding the Sony ATV catalogue?
    Briggs: Because I am under confidentiality agreement with various companies I worked for related to valuation of Sony catalogue.
    Briggs said he takes the confidentiality agreement very seriously and didn’t want to violate them.
    During deposition, Briggs said he told Jacksons’ attorneys that he would not disclose the value of the catalogue to any of the sides.
    Strong: You’re not here as expert to talk about Sony catalogue? Briggs: That’s correct, it had nothing to do with the conclusions of my work
    Briggs: We project future income from songs, assess that income to figure out how much the catalogue was worth.
    Briggs performed work for Sony ATV, various lenders and investors, like Fortress Capital, and the Estate of Michael Jackson.
    Briggs said he has a confidentiality agreement with the Estate of Michael Jackson and other companies he worked for.
    Briggs said he cannot disclose any information regarding the catalogue unless directed by the court.
    Strong: At the instruction of the judge, you told us values of Sony catalogue, right?
    Briggs: Yes.
    Strong asked when MJ Estate attys hired him to valuate the catalogue. Briggs said the work was done in 2010 for the value as of MJ’s death.
    The evaluation was done based in the piece that belonged to Michael Jackson, which is 50%, Briggs said.
    “Strong: What did you value the catalogue?
    There was an objection, since he didn’t answer that before.”
    Kevin Boyle: IRS valuation for MJ’s part of the catalogue was in excess of MJ’s debt by range of $100-300 million.
    Testimony is that MJ’s debt was $400 million plus range= $500-700 million for MJ’s part alone, about $1.4 billion for entire catalogue.
    Strong: And your valuation was less than the debt?
    Briggs: That’s correct.
    Briggs said his valuation was roughly in line with what MJ owed. Briggs knows who the person doing the appraisal for the IRS is.
    “Strong: Do you believe you undervalued the catalogue at the date of debt?
    Briggs: Absolutely not.”
    Briggs said his firm always used the same techniques to assess risk, and his valuation was used in loans and plans.
    Briggs said people were listening and transacting based on his numbers.
    Boyle: The witness has no problem of breaching the confidentiality when Ms. Strong is asking the question.
    Judge: He’s not breaching it, he’s looking at me for instruction. If I say he needs to answer, he needs to answer.
    Strong: Why there may be a difference in your valuation and the IRS?
    Briggs said there are many reasons, two significant.
    One of which has to do with subject of control, Briggs said. If one party can control a business their share is worth more.
    Briggs: If there’s a party that doesn’t have control, they have to sit there as victims. It’s how you interpret control.
    Briggs said the other is limitation on selling/monetizing. If someone owns part of something, entered into rules, it’s not worth fair share.
    Because you’re restricted, you can’t do things freely, Briggs said. That’s the difference between his valuation and IRS’ valuation.
    Strong: MJ had control issues?
    Briggs: Generally speaking, yes.
    Briggs: MJ had limitation to sell or borrow against it. His ability to sell it brings the value down.
    Strong said there were testimony that MJ was no longer able to borrow against that asset. Is that consistent?
    Briggs said a number of business managers made reference of MJ’s financial situation.
    I do not believe I undervalued that asset, Briggs testified.
    Strong asked about conflict of interest in this case. Briggs said he participated in the process of checking whether a conflict existed.
    Strong: There’s no conflict because that work was not related to this work?
    Briggs: My specific opinion in projecting income for MJ had he lived, what he would’ve earned.
    Briggs: Everything regarding the catalogue had nothing to do with MJ’s ability to make money working.
    Briggs said Sony ATV catalogue has the Beatles songs in it, Willie Nelson, others. It’s an investment, doesn’t even have MJ’s music in it.
    As using debt as factor in his opinion, Briggs said he meant it in relation to endorsements.
    The perception that MJ had debts could infringe his ability to, for example, go to Citibank, ask money for the tour, Briggs said.
    Briggs: The unfortunate perception in the media, it had nothing to do whether he did it or not.
    Strong asked why Briggs mentioned the molestation trial if MJ had been acquitted.
    Because we live in a world, unfortunately, that headlines created a perception. And that hurts endorsement deals, Briggs said.

    After lunch, AEG called their next witness out of order, Michael LaPerruque. He is unavailable at other times.
    Atty Marvin Putnam did the questioning. He asked if LaPerruque met with attorneys from defense and plaintiff prior to testimony. He said yes
    Putnam: Are you rooting for either side?
    LaPerruque: No, I’m not rooting for any side
    LaPerruque: I’m a security specialist, provide security for high profile people, celebrities, estate. I worked for Michael and Janet Jackson
    MJ hired LaPerruque 5-10 times in the Summer of 2001. He was hired full time in December 2001 and was under employment until 2004.
    First full time gig in private security was in December 2001. He was with the Sheriff’s Department prior to that for 22 1/2 years.
    Putnam asked if LaPerruque was trained to identify people intoxicated. He said yes, he attended drug intoxication courses.
    Earlier in the summer/01, while still at the Sheriff’s Dept, LaPerruque said man with MJ security asked for help at the Universal Hilton.
    LaPerruque stayed at the Universal Hilton, there was a room for him. MJ and the children, nanny, personal security team were there as well.
    The nanny would call him if they needed anything for MJ or the children.
    MJ was shooting short film at the lot, so LaPerruque was asked to provide security some times.
    He went with MJ to NY to provide security at 30th anniversary of Madison Square Garden.
    In December 2001, LaPerruque was asked to be full time and head the security of Michael Jackson. For the NY trip, LaPerruque used vacation.
    Putnam: Is it fair to say you quit your job with the Sheriff’s Department to work for Michael Jackson?
    LaPerruque: I retired.
    LaPerruque was in charge of Mr. Jackson’s protection and the protection of his children. He consulted regarding Neverland security.
    LaPerruque: Anytime MJ stepped out of the property for extended period, going to LA or around the world, I was activated to accompany him.
    Putnam: Was there a period of time he was with a doctor on a daily basis?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    LaPerruque never lived at Neverland Ranch.
    LaPerruque: He would have a physician present, also when we would go out and were staying somewhere he’d have me call a physician.
    LaPerruque: We would get to a hotel and he would ask me to get the hotel physician.
    LaPerruque: I would go down to the concierge and ask if they had doctors they work with and get recommendation.
    LaPerruque would call the doctor. He said MJ complained about back pains, but he didn’t ask every single time what the complaint was.
    It became commonplace to have a physician ready upon arrivals at hotels, LaPerruque said.
    LaPerruque testified he learned the client’s needs and after been asked many times to find hotel doctor he understood it was part of his job
    If doctor came along, it would be someone Mr. Jackson knew and they would have a hotel room. LaPerruque did not help find those doctors.
    Putnam: From Dec. 2001 to 2004, did you believe Mr. Jackson was under the influence of drugs?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    LaPerruque said there were 3 times he was at a hotel and got a phone call in the middle of the night.
    His speech would be very slurred, it would be a lot of mumbling, wouldn’t understand him sometimes, LaPerruque described.
    The security head said he would be asked to go to MJ’s room, he had a key. “I would go to his room to make sure he was ok,” LaPerruque said.
    Putnam: Did he speak in an incoherent manner?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    We would be in the room and he seemed to have a hard time, he said.
    It’s just slurred speech, sort of mumbling, LaPerruque said. He would be sleeping when MJ called.
    Putnam: How many times did you go to his room?
    LaPerruque: Through the course of employment, probably 10 to 15 times.
    Another 10 to 15 times, he wasn’t asked to go to MJ’s room, LaPerruque said. Total would be between 20 and 30 times.
    LaPerruque: He wouldn’t be very coherent, slurred speech, trying to fall asleep, incomprehensible
    LaPerruque: He asked questions about the next day’s schedule, asked questions over and over.
    I knew he had unusual sleep patterns, LaPerruque said. “I think he was just lonely and wanted somebody to talk to.”
    Putnam asked what made LaPerruque think he was under the influence of drugs.
    LaPerruque: Because the objective symptoms he was displaying, slurred speech, nod.
    I never performed any tests but the symptoms he was displaying were consistent with being under the influence, LaPerruque testified.
    LaPerruque spoke with Dr Slavitch from San Francisco. He said he became worried about MJ due to numerous times he saw MJ under the influence
    I was worried about his health, LaPerruque testified.
    He also spoke with Grace Rwamba, MJ’s children nanny at the time, about his concerns and Dr. Alimorad “Alex” Farshchian in Miami, Florida.
    He was one of the physicians that traveled with MJ, LaPerruque said, probably chosen by MJ.
    The relationship between Dr. Farshchian and MJ was already established when LaPerruque began working for the artist.
    LaPerruque spoke with Dr. Slavitch, Dr. Farshchian and Grace Rwamba about his concerns with MJ.
    Putnam: What were you concerned?
    LaPerruque: Just his general health, it seemed the frequency of the intoxication to be more occurring
    LaPerruque said his job was not only to protect MJ from fans or outside causes, but “I took it upon myself to take care of Mr. Jackson.”
    LaPerruque: I knew they (the doctors) would be treating Mr. Jackson and wanted them to have a clear picture going in.
    Putnam asked if LaPerruque spoke with MJ’s family members or business associates.
    I didn’t believe it was my place to do that, he said.
    LaPerruque: Few times in the middle of the day I’d go into his room and he’d be displaying signs of being under the influence.
    LaPerruque: Any kind of emails and phone calls came to me. I’d relay the message to him, would go to his room to slip a note under the door.
    LaPerruque: Mr. Jackson had propensity of losing his cell phone. I think I counted he lost 27 cell phones (jury laughs).
    People were given LaPerruque’s cell number and would leave him messages for Michael.
    LaPerruque’d knock on MJ’s door, escort him to the room meeting would take place. He’d wait outside the door and escort MJ back to the room
    LaPerruque: In rare occasions, there were times he seemed to be under the influence of drugs in meetings, had to be taken back to his room.
    He had slurred speech, incoherent, looked like he was going unconscious, LaPerruque said.
    LaPerruque: I’d take him back to his room and make sure he was okay. I would seat there and make sure that he was breathing.
    Putnam: Why did you do that, sir?
    LaPerruque: It was part of my job.
    LaPerruque said speaking with MJ about it would be crossing the line. Even though he developed close relationship, needed to have a distance
    LaPerruque: There are some professional lines you don’t cross and I think it was not my place.
    Putnam: Did you like Mr. Jackson?
    LaPerruque: Very much!
    Putnam: Was there a time you didn’t like Mr. Jackson?
    LaPerruque said they had some issues related to workload and work schedule, but for the most part it was a pleasure to work with Mr. Jackson
    LaPerruque: I believe he knew that I knew what was going. To bring up that conversation would put him on defensive, have barriers between us
    I wanted to be close to him, to protect him, to watch him, LaPerruque testified.
    LaPerruque: He knew I was there, he knew I saw him. There were times he fought very, very hard not to be dependent of those medications.
    He fought very hard to not be dependent on prescription medication, LaPerruque testified.
    One day, LaPerruque said MJ told him he was clear. ‘I just want you to know I’m going to stay this way,’ LaPerruque said MJ told him.
    LaPerruque understood that MJ was working hard to battle the prescription medication dependency.
    He would have the doctors treating him to get him off the harder narcotics, LaPerruque said.
    Putnam asked how he knew and he said he’d have discussions with the doctors and they would tell him.
    Putnam: Where you concern it could cause overdose?
    LaPerruque: Yes.
    LaPerruque said that when he was with the sheriff’s department he saw a number of people overdose and taken to emergency room.
    It was my concern he would overdose, LaPerruque testified.
    LaPerruque never saw MJ do drugs or take prescription medication. He did see open wine bottles in his room.
    The security head said he never saw, anywhere, prescription drugs in MJ’s hotel room or at Neverland.
    LaPerruque went a couple of times with MJ and his children to Disney World in Florida. There was a medical emergency once in 2001 or 2002.
    They were staying at a Disney hotel. LaPerruque doesn’t think a doctor traveled along. He stayed in a different room from MJ and kids.
    LaPerruque: I was in my room, received phone call from hotel security that someone had called 911 from MJ’s hotel room, like young children.
    LaPerruque said they would check in under assumed name. Room service would come to him and he would take it to MJ’s room.
    LaPerruque would set up times to have MJ’s room cleaned.
    LaPerruque: I grabbed Mr. Jackson’s keys and found Prince and Paris crying. They were crying saying they couldn’t wake up daddy.
    LaPerruque: I was able to go into the room, had called security partner to meet at the room as well to take the two children to nanny’s room
    LaPerruque: I found Mr. Jackson in the hallway in the suite proned, unconscious.
    LaPerruque: I had to check for pulse, turned him over, shook him, ultimately was breathing. I was able to wake him up, took him to his room.
    Putnam: Did you have to do mouth-to-mouth?
    LaPerruque: I did
    P: Did you see any drugs?
    LP: No
    P: Alcohol?
    LP: Not that I recall
    He became conscious, I wouldn’t say alert, but conscious, LaPerruque said. Putnam asked if he was groggy. He said yes.
    LaPerruque tried to cancel paramedics, but they were arriving. He told them he found MJ and paramedics said they had to check him anyway.
    LaPerruque: He was cleared, they told me he had to see a physician.
    LaPerruque asked the paramedics to put on their report the name he checked himself under, not MJ name.
    LaPerruque: Just to make sure that was no further embarrassment on Mr. Jackson’s part.
    LaPerruque said they left shortly thereafter. “I was just told we were gonna leave.”
    LaPerruque never discussed this incident with MJ.
    P: Did anyone thank you?
    LaPerruque: No
    Putnam: Did he ever thank you for coming over and helping him?
    LP: No
    Putnam: Why didn’t you talk to Mr. Jackson about it?
    LaPerruque: Because I didn’t think it was my place.
    LaPerruque would take MJ to doctors appointments, normally in Beverly Hills. He’d call building security alerting they were on the way.
    Putnam: Did you speak with anyone about that incident before?
    LP: No
    P: Did you ever consider letting the tabloids know?
    LaPerruque: No
    Putnam: Did you consider you could’ve made a lot of money?
    LaPerruque: No
    P: Why?
    LP: Because I had a commitment to Michael Jackson.
    The first time LaPerruque told anyone about this incident was in his deposition. Today in court was the second time.
    Putnam: Did you ever understand MJ had surgical procedure implant to help him get off of drugs?
    LaPerruque did not see any scarring regarding an implant. He was told by a physician, and judge didn’t let him continue since it’s hearsay.
    LaPerruque remembers in 2001 Jackson family attempting an intervention. MJ asked him to come up to the ranch right away.
    LaPerruque: He told me that his family would be coming over to the ranch to speak with him and asked me to interface with his relatives.
    It was requested by Mr. Jackson, LaPerruque said.
    Putnam: He wanted to make sure his family members didn’t come thru?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    LaPerruque: I was at the front gate, saw private helicopter flying very low over Neverland. Randy Jackson was in the helicopter.
    He demanded to see Michael, LaPerruque recalled. “I told him that MJ said he didn’t want to see any of his family members at the time.”
    LaPerruque said Michael told him he had trouble sleeping.
    LaPerruque: He was trying to find something that would help him sleep.
    LaPerruque: There was one occasion I took him the doctor and I assumed he was there to see if he could find anything to help him sleep.
    LaPerruque never discussed using Propofol with MJ.
    Putnam: Did you have any understanding MJ was taking Propofol?
    LaPerruque: No
    Putnam: Did you ever have an impression Mr. Jackson was trying to hide drugs from you?
    LaPerruque: No.
    I never saw him swallow a pill, never saw him take injections, LaPerruque testified.
    LaPerruque said there were two reasons he stopped working for MJ.
    First, he had two young children and at the service of MJ you work at his pleasure, you never had set schedule.
    LaPerruque: I was never home, I missed a lot my children, birthdays, holidays.
    He said he saw MJ’s litigation with the Arvizo family (molestation accusation), had been in court before and knew how demanding it was.
    LaPerruque: He and I had discussed me taking some time off.
    LaPerruque said the other reason was the revenue stream, which was harder and harder, and financial matters were becoming an issue.
    LaPerruque took other jobs. He became in charge for the security of LA Times printing plants and security of corporate office.
    He also worked on internal investigations, security of journalists working on hostile environment in Iraq.
    In 2007, LaPerruque went back to work for Michael Jackson. He was still the head of security of the LA Times.
    Grace Rwamba called LaPerruque and said she wanted to meet him, had a message from Michael Jackson.
    LaPerruque: MJ always appreciated my loyalty, best security he ever had, asked me to return to work for him.
    He kind of grew on me, LaPerruque explained. “I did care for the man.”
    LaPerruque: At that time, my children had grown older, started their own things, always enjoyed the challenge working for MJ.
    After meeting with him and speaking with his manager at the time, LaPerruque left the LA Times and went to work for Michael Jackson.
    They met face to face, since the last time they spoke was in the Arvizo trial. He wanted to hear what MJ wanted him back.
    LaPerruque said Michael appeared bright, clear, energetic, full of energy. He wanted to do a lot of things.
    Based on the meeting, that’s why he went back to work with him in 2007. His job was the same as before. He spoke with Raymone Bain.
    LaPerruque had a written agreement to work as head of security for Michael Jackson. He worked for him for only a few months in 07.
    During this time, LaPerruque took MJ to NYC to meet with AEG Live execs. He escorted MJ into the room, probably 10 people or more present.
    Michael seemed bright and alert at this meeting. He seemed excited, LaPerruque said.
    The meeting lasted a couple of hours, LaPerruque said. He escorted MJ to Penn Station, he wanted to pick up some doughnuts for the kids.
    LaPerruque said he seemed happy, did not ask about how the meeting went.
    The security head never told AEG about any of the concerns he had with Michael Jackson.
    LaPerruque said he did not have any concern with MJ being under the influence of prescription drug in 2007.
    LaPerruque said he stopped working for MJ due to financial difficulties. “I wasn’t getting paid,” LaPerruque explained.
    The production company wasn’t paying me for my services, LaPerruque testified.
    He stopped in the beginning of 2008. Work began in August of 2007, got paid in September and didn’t get paid anymore until 2008.
    LaPerruque spoke with MJ. “He said he was very embarrassed not being able to pay me, he said he was going to make it right, apologized.”
    This was in November 2007. He still didn’t get paid.
    MJ then moved to Las Vegas. He spoke with Raymone Bain, who said MJ had moved. He never heard from anyone about working again.
    LaPerruque said he tried calling MJ several times about getting paid but never heard back.
    LaPerruque retained an attorney to speak with MJ’s reps to enforce agreement they had. They settled.
    I was mad, but not mad at him, LaPerruque said. “Because of what I heard why we stopped working together.” (financial reasons)
    LaPerruque said he never thought of selling his story to the tabloids.
    LaPerruque said he saw MJ about 2 weeks prior to his death. He was working for Janet, she threw a party for their parents at a restaurant.
    LaPerruque: MJ saw me and said Mike! Came running to me, gave me a big hug. He asked if they could talk, I took him to a private room.
    LaPerruque said MJ seemed happy to be there at the party. He was not incoherent or had slurred speech.
    LaPerruque: I did ask ‘Mike, you’re looking skinnier than I’ve ever seen you. You need to get meat in your bones.’ He laughed.
    LaPerruque said MJ told him he was rehearsing a lot, thus the weight. He said MJ seemed excited about going to London.
    Putnam: Were you surprised he passed?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    It just caught me off guard, LaPerruque explained.
    Putnam asked if there was anything LaPerruque thought he could’ve seen at the meeting two weeks prior but didn’t. He answered no.
    Outside the presence of the jury, LaPerruque approached Ms. Jackson, hugged her and cried. They had a conversation, she handed him a tissue.
    Jacksons’ attorney, Deborah Chang, did the cross examination of LaPerruque following the afternoon break.
    LaPerruque worked for the LA Sheriff Department for 22 years. He said MJ being a high profile, would not be able to go out in public.
    Wherever we would go, there would be fans there, LaPerruque testified. He said fans wanted to meet MJ, take pictures.
    LaPerruque: There was always a concern of kidnapping him or his children to hold for ransom.
    LaPerruque explained he not only try to protect the client from outside sources, but from embarrassing himself.
    LaPerruque said MJ had thousands of fans everywhere in the world. Chang showed a picture of LaPerruque helping MJ with a left foot casted.
    Total time LaPerruque worked for MJ was 3 years. The only time he saw MJ under influence of drugs in 2001-2004.
    About the Documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” by Martin Bashir. LaPerruque was present, thought MJ trusted Bashir.
    Chang: Was he devastated for what he believed to be violation of that trust?
    LaPerruque: Very devastated!
    LaPerruque said MJ was in pain after the release of the documentary. Chang wanted to play a snippet of the documentary, but changed her mind
    Chang: You know what, because he (AEG attorney) was threatening to show other parts of it, I’ll withdraw my request.
    Chang: Did you believe the Arvizo charges to be false?
    LaPerruque: Correct.
    I came out in full support of him, LaPerruque recalled.
    LaPerruque asked how MJ reacted in regards to the accusations, when all he wanted to do was to take care of children.
    “LaPerruque: Yes, it devastated him.
    Chang: Was he emotionally and physically wrecked in pain?
    LP: Yes
    C: Have you seen him cry?
    LP: Yes”
    LaPerruque said he knew MJ had vitiligo and needed treatment. He said MJ complained of back pain.
    Chang asked if most of the times LaPerruque heard MJ slur his voice on the phone was during the night. He said yes.
    Chang: Could he have taken a sedative such as sleeping pill, or Xanax pill?
    LaPerruque: It’s a possibility
    “Chang: Drink wine or vodka?
    LaPerruque: It’s a possibility
    C: Or combination of drinking and sedatives?
    LP: Yes”
    LaPerruque never saw any prescription drug in MJ’s room, never saw him hooked up to IV lines. He only saw MJ drink wine once in a plane.
    LaPerruque said he always had full access to MJ’s room, had keys to his hotel room.
    The security head said he would not be able to say MJ was addicted to Demerol or painkillers.
    He knows MJ wanted to be clear and was motivated in the worse way. Chang: And you believed him? LaPerruque: I did
    LaPerruque said the majority of time he traveled with MJ he wasn’t under the influence.
    Chang asked if LaPerruque saw MJ doing anything that could put the kids at risk, if he would’ve called Child Services. He said absolutely.
    Chang: Were you very proud of working for MJ?
    LaPerruque: I was
    LaPerruque received phone calls from President Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, world leaders looking for MJ.
    Chang showed video of Liz Taylor presenting Michael Jackson. LaPerruque said MJ’s fans were deafening, nothing like he had ever seen before.
    Shows were on Sept 7 and Sept 10, 2001, day before 9/11.
    Chang: How would you describe MJ that night?
    LaPerruque: He was fantastic
    I never experienced anything like this, LaPerruque testified.
    Chang showed video of music “What More Can I Give” with several high profile artists singing it, like Celine Dion, Beyonce, Gloria Estefan
    Chang: Did MJ write that song in benefit of 9/11 victims?
    LaPerruque: Yes
    MJ received the 2002 American Music Award Artist of the Century. Chang showed the video of the announcement.
    LaPerruque said MJ was very down to earth, never bragged about all the awards he received.
    Judge then adjourned trial. There is no court today, session resumes 10 am PT on Monday. LaPerruque ordered back to resume testifying.
    We hope you have a great weekend and join us for full coverage of the trial on Monday! For the latest watch @abc7 and http://www.abc7.com

    Like

  8. August 10, 2013 6:23 am

    Tout les combien mettez vous le site à jour pour les témoignages au procès AEG

    Like

  9. August 6, 2013 4:32 pm

    “Does anyone know the answer to any or all of these questions?” – Dial

    I’m here just for a second but let me say that most of the answers to your questions are in my big post of last year: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/john-branca-and-randy-jackson-two-outcomes-for-michael-jacksons-finances/

    Over there I tried to collect and analyze everything that was available on the internet. Here are the short answers to some of your questions:

    MJ created the MIJac Catalog (his songs) and purchased the “Beatles” catalog which included some other songs besides Beatles.

    When Marcel Avram sued Michael for $40mln for cancelling the Dangerous tour Michael needed money to pay him. To raise cash he was offered to sell half of the catalog for $70 mln if I remember it right, but Branca advised him against selling and suggested creating a joint venture with Sony (they bring in their catalog, MJ brings in his, they divide 50-50%) and for this merge Sony paid Michael $90mln.

    The division between Sony and the Estate is still 50-50%.

    Both Sony and MJ wanted their catalog to be the biggest in the world, so the royalties the catalog was earning them were to be used for adding new catalogs. I imagine that on many occasions MJ would have preferred to turn those royalties into cash but this was the agreement. The updated Wiki article says:

    1989 Sony-owned CBS Records (now Sony Music) buys Tree International Publishing, Sony’s first music publishing venture outside Japan.
    1995 Jackson merges ATV Music Publishing with Sony. He earns $90 million in the venture.
    May 2001 Jackson declares that The Beatles’ songs “will never be for sale.”
    November 2001 Sony/ATV Music Publishing acquires Tony Martin’s Baby Mae Music catalogue of 600 songs.
    July 2002 Sony/ATV Music Publishing buys country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. The venture includes publishing rights to 55,000 songs.
    2007 Sony/ATV Music Publishing acquires the Leiber and Stoller catalogue, which includes the Elvis Presley hits “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” and Famous Music, a music publishing business with a song catalogue of more than 125,000 songs.

    The latest acquisition, made after Michael’s death was adding to ATV/ Sony the EMI catalog. In the resulting huge catalog of 2 mln songs ATV/Sony has 38%:

    2012 Sony/ATV leads a consortium that acquires EMI Music Publishing, the world’s largest catalog with over 1,300,000 rights to songs, making Sony/ATV the world’s largest music publishing corporation with over 2,000,000 songs and about 1.26 billion dollars in revenue per year.

    To allow the acquisition of EMI catalog the European and US anti-monopoly commissions forced Sony to turn Sony/ATV Music Publishing into a separate legal entity, so technically it is no longer part of Sony.

    Its revenue a year or the money it brings is $1,26 billion but as to the value of the catalog itself – who knows? It is number one in the world, and Michael’s children have the right to half of those 38% percent belonging to ATV/Sony.

    So they have the rights to 19%, or almost one fifth of the world’s Number 1 music catalog. And by the way this was done by the Estate lawyers, so before accusing them of things I suggest everyone has a better look at the sums they’ve generated for Michael’s children. In addition to that the children of course have the rights to all Michael’s songs – the MIJac catalog.

    Like

  10. August 6, 2013 11:45 am

    CELINE DION BIGR THAN “MJ” ???????? WHO SAYS TAT, MUST B A DUFF, IDOT, MAD..I THINK AEG IS A REAL BUSTARD..SON OF WITCH..THEY USED “MJ” TO MAKE MONEY TAT ALSO SOMETHING WHICH “MJ” DIDN’T KNOW AT ALL..HW DARE THEY? WAT THEY THINK OF THEMSELF? BLOODY BUSTARD..1 MORE THING EVERY BODY LOVES “INDIA” THERE R MANY INTRNATL ARTIST THOSE HAVE VISITED “INDIA”, STILL DOES & THEY LUVS IT..INDIA’S TH MOST POPULATED COUNTRY

    Like

  11. August 6, 2013 9:52 am

    Does anyone know the answer to any or all of these questions?

    1. How many catalogues did Michael purchase or create by himself?

    2. How many catalogues did Michael Jackson and Sony acquire together, or jointly owned?

    3. How many did they jointly own at the time of his death?

    4. How many does his Estate own outright?

    5. Who owns the mechanical rights to each?

    6. What is the value of each?

    Like

  12. TatumMarie permalink
    August 5, 2013 7:36 am

    The fact that he flat out lied on the MJ estate speaks volumes. Based on the testimony transcripts it didnt sound like the judge was letting him get away with his debt opinion without proof. His testimony should have been stricken. Even though the jury has heard words about the debt, theyve also heard words to the contrary. I think Aeg is insulting the intelligence of the jury, the same as Murrays defense and the prosecution in 2005.

    Like

  13. August 4, 2013 11:00 pm

    @ TatumMarie,

    My thoughts on AEG and witnesses are they are using an old paradigm. One which worked well in the early 2000’s and before, but one which does not now, due to our ability locate and compare information, and share it instantly. Like a DA from that time. So accustom to doing what they will without challenge, they did not see the need for hiding their actions.

    We cannot be sure of the Jury, because they will take in and discard some of which we would not. Also there is the very important instructions from the judge prior to deliberations. But win or lose it would not surprise me if there were several inquiries made to them by artists concerning contracts after the trial. There is sure to be closer contract
    scrutiny by future artists using them.

    Like

  14. August 4, 2013 9:19 pm

    The recently leaked version of Behind the Mask is a Michael tribute done right. This video is highly professional and the masks are beautiful. I didn’t like the Hollywood Tonight video, I thought it was really cheesy, but BTM is a work of art, I love it. However, why is it just now being exposed?

    I see why Mesereau recommended this Mr. Panish; he’s not taking any prisoners. Briggs is an idiot – the more liars testify for AEG the worse the company looks before the jurors. I believe also that if Panish would have had accurate documentation or testimony from them about the asset figures he would have exposed Briggs in another major lie.

    Like

  15. August 4, 2013 6:55 pm

    Here is what has gone out from the AP. The article is in re-print on many important sites which service a wide demographic. Out to people whom have gotten little or no information on the trial or the reason for the trial.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/jury-hears-about-jacksons-likeability-drug-use

    To test the validity of my statement just Google the title: “Jury hears about Jackson’s likeability, drug use”

    Like

  16. August 4, 2013 8:35 am

    Exactly, Helena. Thanks for further detailing!

    Like

  17. August 4, 2013 7:54 am

    “Hi Helena.. On balance I now think this lawsuit is a good thing, whatever the outcome, because it is bringing out a lot more of the truth and exposing a lot of lies as well.. It’s so hard for us as Michael’s admirers..” – MagUK

    Hi, MagUK. Yes, whatever the outcome truth is always better than lies. This I firmly believe in. I for one am not afraid of the truth about Michael whatever it is, and my only worry is the media which may easily misinterpret and manipulate people into thinking what they want them to think.

    “It breaks my heart to know, for sure, that every bad thing that happened to Michael was as the result of someone else’s agenda, but maybe, just maybe, we are a travelling a bit further down the road towards true vindication. Even though we are still up against selective and slanted media reporting, in some cases it appears the tide is starting to turn.”

    I am just afraid to say it too soon and am keeping my fingers crossed, but there are indeed some hopeful signs.

    I do confess to being a bit obsessed with one King though!!… and the photos of him from 2008 are beautiful!!”

    I’m totally fascinated by his pictures myself and can’t stop making more and more screenshots. Here are some more (all pictures are by MJJ.pictures.com and come from the Romanian site en.michaeljackson.ro).

    The date is May 22, 2008. Michael Jackson is attending a birthday party of Christian Audigier, a French fashion designer and entrepreneur, living in the United States (as Wiki says):

    May 22, 2008 MJ at Christian Audigier's birthday party
    May 22, 2008
    May 22, 2008 MJ at Christian Audigier's birthday party

    And this one is the close-up of the picture you’ve already seen May 22, 2008 MJ at Christian Audigier's birthday party

    This how Michael looked just a year before his death.

    And now they are doubting his life expectancy? It is clear even from these pictures that he was only getting better with every new year! If it weren’t for Barrack/Tohme/AEG he would be perfectly alive now.

    Like

  18. August 4, 2013 6:37 am

    “You wonder why old media is dying? Thats why it is dying. Its not interesting.” – — Josh Thomas on Adam Hills Tonight.”

    Alice, yes, there was a very long period when they lied like crazy (about MJ, for example) relying on the sensationalism of their lies. But as far as Michael Jackson is concerned the truth about him is much more interesting than their lies. The truth about him is like a whole new and fascinating planet which we only starting to explore.

    Like

  19. August 4, 2013 6:25 am

    “So I don’t really understand how they believed they could use Briggs’ testimony in a convincing way. They must have known about the IRS estimation. Is it also possible that they used this testimony out of desperation, with nothing else in hand? So I’m not sure if the Estate relied solely on Briggs’ figures.” – Susanne

    The way Briggs presents it he sounds like the top authority in matters of evaluation. All of them approached him for those evaluations – Fortress Investment group, Goldman Sachs, Sony proper, the Estate, and probably some others.

    And Briggs did try to give an explanation why he evaluated the assets lower than Michael’s debts (which means that the value he gave for the catalog should be lower than the $400mln sum of the debt). It was some complex explanation which I can’t find at the moment but will try to.

    Like

  20. August 4, 2013 5:40 am

    “But what I don’t understand is, there had been always numbers around concerning the value of the catalogue and we always knew that the value was higher than Michael’s debts. It was also made clear by Mesereau in the 2005 trial where Sneddon wanted to take Michael’s financial situation as a reason for his “conspiracy theory”. The value of MJ’s assets was pointed out by Mesereau to clarify that Michael could have solved his cash problems immediately. I remember that already in 2005 the value of the whole ATV catalogue was estimated by some people to more than 1 billion. OK, Michael’s debts could have grown since then, but also the value of the catalogues has grown.”- Susanne

    Susanne, I think the value of the whole catalog was over a billion. It was reported that Michael’s part was over $500 mln in 2005. But if it was over $500 mln then how could it be less in 2009 (when MJ’s debts were around $400mln)? It could be only higher – that’s the point of it!

    A year ago I looked into all those figures and the history of that debt in this post: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/john-branca-and-randy-jackson-two-outcomes-for-michael-jacksons-finances/ Now I don’t remember half of it and need to refresh it, but this article quoted there said:

    People familiar with the negotiations expected Jackson’s representatives to secure a six-month extension to repay Fortress Investment Group, which owns loans that came due Tuesday. Fortress purchased the debt from Bank of America Corp. in April [2005].

    The loans are collateralized by Jackson’s 50% partnership in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between the singer and the electronics company that owns a 4,000-song catalog containing such songs as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and 251 Beatles hits.

    Jackson’s share in Sony/ATV, which also owns his valuable catalog and Neverland ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, is worth more than $500 million, according to court testimony.

    According to sources, Fortress will demand interim payments during the extension, and may insist on an interest rate that could reach as high as 9.5%, or more than $1.5 million a month.

    Fortress also owns another Jackson loan, for $70 million, that has not come due. The sources requested anonymity because negotiations were still going on. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/21/business/fi-jackson21

    Same as we do now Michael also knew that by 2009 the value of the catalog could only increase, especially since part of the royalties he received for it went into adding one more catalog to it in 2007 – the Viacom catalog which included Eminem, Shakira and others. I’m sure that in 2007 Michael would have preferred cash instead of having to spend his royalties on adding new songs to the catalog, but initially he and Sony were planning to expand it to make it the world’s biggest. Later Michael’s circumstances changed but the policy continued which was probably one of the reasons for friction between him and Sony.

    Anyway the cost of the catalog could only increase and not decrease, and therefore Michael’s mind was more or less at peace knowing that his assets were much higher than his liabilities. He had big problems in raising cash but if it came to the worst he knew he could always sell the catalog and still have hundreds of millions after it, but this sale he didn’t want. Also so big a transaction needs time and would not help him if he had to pay a certain sum urgently. Assets are a very nice thing but servicing them must be a big headache especially if some loans were taken against those assets.

    It is clear that Briggs undervalued the catalog and hopefully IRS will make an investigation and find out the reason for it. For us it is top important to know that Briggs dropped his incorrect numbers as a bomb but he and AEG were denying Panish a possibility to look into their information saying that it was “confidential”. This is what it was like on the second day of Briggs’s testimony:

    Q. Let’s go down to where we were now, and let’s look at these “Challenges with major advertisers given history.” And one of them is debt. Do you see that, sir?
    A. Okay. I — the word “debt” appears in that line.
    Q. Did you write that, sir?
    A.I typed that in, yes.
    Q. And that’s one of your bases for your opinion, right?
    A.I — I would like to qualify the answer yes, that — Michael Jackson’s history of significant debt figured into my opinion as to why he would encounter challenges in securing endorsements.

    Q.Okay. What’s the value of his ATV Catalog, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Objection, your honor. Sidebar.
    Judge:No. No need.
    Mr. Panish:There’s no need for a sidebar.
    Q. What’s the value, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Objection; outside the scope of his opinion, your honor. It’s an issue that involves discovery. There’s a history there, your honor.
    Mr. Panish: Your honor, it’s not beyond anything.
    Judge: Well, I don’t know. Did you consider that in connection with your opinions?
    Mr. Panish: His debt.
    A. I considered the specific testimony regarding Michael Jackson’s significant debt in forming my opinions.
    Judge: No. I’m asking, though, if you considered the catalog, the — the value of the catalog.
    Mr. Panish: My question is this. He’s written down that Michael Jackson has challenges with debt. My question is, he wasn’t in debt, and what’s the value of the ATV Catalog, which he knows.
    Judge: I’m just asking him if in connection with his work, he considered that.
    Mr. Panish: Assets.
    Judge: Did you consider that at all before we get into an actual number?
    A. No. My analysis was focused on work income, not assets.
    Judge: Okay.
    Q. Well, how do you know if he’s in debt if you don’t consider his assets?
    A. There’s significant testimony on the record from his business managers on this — in this regard.
    Q. But you don’t know if that’s true. Do you know the value of the catalog, sir, yes or no?
    Ms. Strong: Your honor —

    Mr. Panish: Just a yes or no.
    Ms. Strong: — can we have a sidebar?
    Judge: Do you have an objection?
    Ms. Strong: Outside the scope of his opinion.
    Judge: Not that.
    Ms. Strong: There’s confidential issues.
    Judge: Asked and answered. He’s already said he didn’t, so —
    Q. Do you know the value, sir, yes or no?
    Judge: Asked and answered. He doesn’t know.
    Mr. Panish: He does know. He does absolutely know, your honor. He hasn’t answered that question.
    Judge: Asked and answered.
    Mr. Panish: No, no, no. Let me ask the question, and then he’s not going to give — I’m just asking him–
    Ms. Strong: Your honor —
    Mr. Panish: No, your honor. No, no. He does know the value.
    Judge: I don’t want you to argue with me.
    Q. Do you know the value of the ATV Catalog?
    Judge: I’m going to sustain that objection. You have to ask another question.
    Mr. Panish: When we get to the break, I want to take it up because —
    Q. Sir, you don’t know what Mr. Jackson’s debt is because you didn’t assess his assets, did you, sir?
    A. The reference to debt here relates to the testimony on record.
    Judge: Answer the question that’s asked.
    Ms. Strong: Objection to the extent it calls for anything outside the scope of this case, your honor.
    Judge: Overruled.
    A. Please restate the question.
    Q. You don’t know Michael Jackson’s true debt because you didn’t assess his assets, did you, sir?
    A. I know Michael — no. I know Michael Jackson — I’m really — I’m sorry. I’m having trouble answering this question.
    Judge: You’re confused?
    A. I’m not confused. It relates to the issue Ms. Strong would care to discuss with you.
    Mr. Panish: No, no. He’s given an opinion, your honor, right here that Michael Jackson couldn’t have endorsements because he’s in debt. I’m entitled to challenge that opinion that he wasn’t, and he knows the true facts that he wasn’t in debt, and that his assets were much greater.
    Judge: I think it’s fair to ask if you don’t know what the assets are, how would you know if someone isin debt? That’s a fair question.

    Mr. Panish: And he knows what they are.
    Ms. Strong: Can we please have a sidebar, your honor?
    Judge: No. He can answer the question.
    Q. Can you answer the question, sir?
    A. Can you please restate the question?
    Q. Sure. You did not — strike that. You know what Michael Jackson’s assets are, don’t you, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Objection; vague.
    Judge: Sustained.
    Q. Well, sir, do you know that Michael Jackson had assets that had value?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And you know that the assets, at least one of them, well exceeded, the value of that asset, any debt that he had, don’t you, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Again, objection, your honor. This is — I request — there’s confidential information that’s not been shared with the parties in this case that we’d like to address with you, your honor.
    Judge: Overruled.

    Mr. Panish: You can answer, sir.
    Ms. Strong: Well, your honor, he’s — there’s confidential information that he’s not permitted to disclose, your honor. He’s —
    Judge: I’m not allowing him to disclose anything except whether he’s aware it exceeds the debt. That’s all I’m asking.
    Ms. Strong: Your honor —
    Judge: Ms. Strong —
    Mr. Panish: She’s made it five times.
    Ms. Strong: — he —
    Judge: I’ve made my ruling.
    Q. Can you answer the question, please, sir?
    A. I’m very concerned about client confidences even in answering that question, including attorney privilege matters.
    Q. You’re an expert witnesses, sir, in this case. Your firm is getting paid up to $700,000. You have written on this document that Mr. Jackson had a challenge to get any endorsements because of his debt;isn’t that true, sir?
    A. That was a basis of my opinion; and yes, I have written it on this document.
    Q. Okay. And to make a true assessment of whether he was in debt, you would compare the assets to the liabilities, wouldn’t you, sir?
    A. As an abstract and general concept, yes —

    Q. And you know, sir, don’t you, that Mr. Jackson had assets worth well in excess of his debt when he died, don’t you, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Same objections.
    Judge: Overruled.
    A. In conjunction with that matter, I do not have that knowledge.
    Q. No, no. You know, sir, through your own knowledge, that Mr. Jackson had assets well in excess of his debt when you wrote that on this sheet, don’t you, sir?
    Ms. Strong: Objection. Same objection. It’s confidential information that the Estate of Michael Jackson has not provided to us in discovery in this matter, your honor?

    Mr. Panish: No.
    Judge: Overruled.
    Ms. Strong: He doesn’t have counsel here, your honor.
    Mr. Panish: She keeps objecting.
    Judge: Ms. Strong, I’ve overruled every one of your objections. It’s the same grounds.
    Ms. Strong: Understood. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that —
    Judge: You don’t have to believe. You just have to listen and abide.
    Mr. Panish: I’m going to ask that she stop talking.
    Ms. Strong: I understand. But the witness is in an uncomfortable position because there is information he can’t reveal.
    Judge: Let’s go to sidebar.

    (Sidebar):

    Ms. Strong: Your honor, there’s an issue —
    Judge: No. You’re going to listen to me. I have made a ruling. I’ve listened to every single objectionand every ground, and I’ve overruled every one. I’m not going to listen to any more.
    Ms. Strong: Okay, your honor.
    Judge: I don’t care how uncomfortable your witness is. Witnesses sometimes become uncomfortable with questions that are being asked. They need to answer them. I’ve overruled every one of your objections. I don’t want to hear any more.
    Ms. Strong: It’s confidential information.
    Judge: I don’t want to hear any more. I’ve heard your objection.
    Ms. Strong: He can’t answer the question.
    Judge: I’ve heard your objection, I’m overruling it.
    Ms. Strong: But you haven’t heard me. Can I please explain the basis, your honor?
    Ms. Stebbins: He may be sued.
    Ms. Strong: He’s subject to confidentiality in another matter. It’s not this case, your honor.
    Judge: Then he can just say, “I’m not going to answer.”
    Ms. Strong: Can I let him know — can I speak with him?
    Ms. Stebbins: Can we have a moment to —
    Ms. Strong: I don’t want him to be sued by the Estate of Michael Jackson.
    Mr. Putnam: He was separately hired by them in a different matter.

    (The following proceedings were held in open court, in the presence of the jurors):

    Mr. Panish: Your honor, I would ask the question be re-read and the witness be instructed to answer.
    Judge: Re-read the question, please.(the question was read)
    Judge: You may answer the question.
    A. I have knowledge regarding —
    Q. Yes or no?
    A. I do not know that.
    Q. So you don’t know that Mr. Jackson had assets worth more than 3 or 4 or 500 million when you wrote that, sir?
    A. You’re asking a different question now, placing value on assets, and I — I really do not feel comfortable speaking to that subject.
    Mr. Panish: Please answer the question, sir.

    Judge: If you know the answer, answer it; if you don’t, you don’t. It’s just a yes or no.
    A. I’m sorry. Can you please repeat the question?
    Q. Sure. You know — you have knowledge of Mr. Jackson’s assets before he died, don’t you, sir?
    A. Some of Mr. Jackson’s assets, yes.
    Q. Well, you have knowledge of his most valuable asset, as far as you know, correct?
    A. To the best of my knowledge.
    Q. And that asset is worth well in excess of the debt that’s alleged in the depositions that you read in this case, and you know that, don’t you, sir?
    A. I do not know that.

    Q. Okay. Did you value that asset, sir?
    Judge: If we’re going to get into numbers, I’m going to sustain any numbers.
    Mr. Panish: I’m just asking did he value it.
    Ms. Strong: For this case or for another matter?
    Mr. Panish: At any time. He’s testifying here.
    Judge: Any time.
    A. Yes.
    Q. And you valued that asset, and without telling me the numbers, it’s — you valued it at well in excess of 500 million, didn’t you, sir?
    Judge: You may answer.
    A. I’m sorry. I’m having trouble here. I’m really trying to preserve client privilege and confidentiality.
    Ms. Strong: And to be clear, it’s not our client.
    Mr. Panish: It doesn’t matter. He’s been offered as a witness. He needs to answer this question.
    Ms. Strong: For this issue, he was very clear at his deposition that this is not part of his opinion, not related to his opinion in any way.
    Judge: It may not be, but I think it’s fair cross-examination. You may answer
    A. Okay. Can you please clarify what you mean with respect to “valuation”? Are you referring to value gross of debt or net of debt, appreciating that there is a significant difference?
    Q. Well, let’s take gross.
    A. Okay. Can you restate your question, then?
    Q. You don’t remember it?
    A. I was focused on the back and forth, and I want to give you the best answer possible.
    Mr. Panish: How about if I have it read back?
    Judge: Yes.
    Q. The asset that you valued of Mr. Jackson, the gross value that you placed on it was well in excess of the reported debts that you read in the depositions, correct, sir?
    A. I don’t recall the specific numbers referenced in the depositions, but — I do not have that knowledge. I do not believe that is the case.
    Q. Okay. So the asset — okay. Well, the deposition — you don’t remember what the debt numbers that you reviewed were in this case?
    A. I have a general recollection.
    Q. What is your general recollection?
    A. I believe — I believe testimony was that debt associated with The Sony ATV Asset was on the order of $400 million.
    Q. That was the debt?
    A. That’s my recollection, yes.
    Q. Okay. And when you assessed the value of the asset, the gross value of the asset, are you telling us that it was not in excess of the debt in this case?
    A. You’re instructing me to answer?
    Judge: Yes, I am.
    A. Okay. Thank you.
    Judge: You don’t have to give a number, just was it in excess of the debt?
    A. No.
    Q. What year was that, sir, that you did this assessment?
    A. I have performed this specific valuation many times, but I’m referencing June of 2009 with regard to my responses because you clarified earlier June of 2009 in your question.

    Q. Did I? Okay.
    A. Well, we’re talking about as of the date of death; and I just want to be clear with respect to that.
    Q. So you did an assessment absent this case of Mr. Jackson’s assets? Is that what you’re telling us?
    A. Unrelated to this matter, yes.
    Q. So you were working with someone unrelated to Mr. Jackson or related to Mr. Jackson?
    Judge: You may answer.
    A. Both.
    Q. Who were you working for?
    A. Can you — I’m sorry to do this. Could you please instruct me just so I feel comfortable revealing all these confidences? I’m sorry. It’s very significant to me.
    Judge: Let’s go to sidebar.

    (Sidebar):

    Judge: What is his problem?
    Ms. Strong: He was retained by Sony at times, and by the Estate of Michael Jackson, to value the Sony ATV Catalog for years. We have not been privy to any of the information with it, we’ve not — it’s all confidential. I don’t know the value of the Sony ATV Catalog. We asked for it in discovery from the Estate. They wouldn’t give it to us. Plaintiffs are the beneficiaries. Presumably they know the value of the catalog. But we made it very clear in his deposition that he couldn’t reveal that. It’s confidential information based on his engagement with the Estate of Michael Jackson. We look like we’re hiding something. If anybody can get to it, it’s the Plaintiffs as the beneficiaries of the Estate of Michael Jackson. Right there he was asking the question about the value of the catalog. That’s completely confidential. I’ve never been told it. Based on what he just said right there, it sounds like the value is less than the debt, 400 million. Mr. Panish was trying to get him to say that it was more. All of that, he was very uncomfortable doing because he’s never told me the value, we’re not allowed to know. His client confidence is with the Estate of Michael Jackson.
    Mr. Panish: They hired him.
    Ms. Strong: It has nothing to do with his opinion in this case.
    Mr. Panish: It does have to do with his opinion, and he’s not telling the truth, and he’s withholding –excuse me, Mr. Putnam — he’s withholding evidence. And, you know, once you bring an expert in, there is no work product, attorney/client on issues that they’re talking about in the case. And he specifically went out of his way — and I’m going to get into other areas — to dirty up Mr. Jackson and to make him look like he’s not going to make any money, and went way out on a limb on these opinions. And this goes directly to the heart of what his opinion was. And if they didn’t want him to give that opinion, they shouldn’t have let him write it out in the deposition and give that in his deposition. It’s right on the sheet that he provided at the deposition. I shouldn’t be restricted on my cross, and they keep getting up and arguing and trying to disrupt my cross-examination. That’s not appropriate.
    Ms. Stebbins: Just for the issue, your honor, the witness feels uncomfortable because to testify to this,he has to breach a confidentiality agreement.
    Mr. Panish: He’s got a conflict, that’s the problem, and he shouldn’t have been in it, just like we’re claiming on the conflict of Murray and AEG

    Mr. Putnam: Could you please not interrupt her while she’s speaking, please? We provide you withthat courtesy.
    Mr. Panish: No, you didn’t.
    Ms. Stebbins: The witness is being forced to disclose something in violation of confidentiality and potentially, given what he’s said on the stand — I don’t know this — in violation of someone else’s attorney/client privilege. So he asked that the court — I don’t know what — I don’t —
    Mr. Panish: He’s not an attorney. How could there be an attorney/client privilege with an expert?
    Ms. Strong: He’s not an expert for them.
    Mr. Panish: He’s not a client of anyone and not an attorney.
    Mr. Putnam: — Estate of Michael Jackson.
    Mr. Panish: Just because you’re an expert, there is no attorney/client privilege.
    Ms. Stebbins: Let me finish, your honor. I don’t know why he believes there’s a privilege. We’ve never questioned him on that, obviously, because it was not the basis of his opinions. His opinion was based on the testimony about Mr. Jackson’s debt and the amount that was testified about. I don’t think it’s any of the bases of his opinion. An expert is only to be crossed on the bases for their opinion. In terms of —
    Mr. Panish: But if he says there’s debt, I think it’s fair game.
    Ms. Strong: Based on testimony in the case.
    Mr. Panish: He knows differently. What they’re trying to do here is —
    Ms. Strong: He actually doesn’t know differently.
    Mr. Panish: — pull a rouse here with this witness. They knew all along that this was an issue. They chose to put him forward as an expert. If he’s not going to answer all of these fully, his testimony should be stricken because they put him forward, your honor, they knew — they have another expert, but they wanted to use this guy. They chose to put the testimony on. They were aware of this alleged conflict, they knew all about it, yet they chose to go forward.

    Mr. Putnam: What’s the rouse?
    Ms. Stebbins: There’s not a conflict.
    Mr. Panish: The rouse is —
    Judge: I want to hear Ms. Bina.
    Ms. Stebbins: I think the witness is just asking for the court to order him to testify so that he doesn’t lose his job.
    Judge: Right. If there’s a court order to do it, I don’t see how he could be held in breach when there’s an order that he respond.
    Ms. Stebbins: I think that’s all he was asking for right now. If the court is inclined to order him to respond, I do think it’s beyond the scope. We’ve made that objection, you’ve ruled on it. For his own comfort, I would ask that you order him —
    Judge: Okay.
    Ms. Stebbins: I think that was the issue that came up.
    Mr. Boyle: Just for the record, as far as I’m aware, there was no subpoena to the Estate, no subpoena to Sony, to find out the value of the ATV Catalog.
    Ms. Strong: I have it, actually, at my desk. There were specific requests and the Estate explicitly refused. We asked for information about the assets of Michael Jackson from Plaintiffs, as well; they did not produce that information. We met and conferred with the Estate specifically on the value of theSony ATV Catalog at the time of death; again, the Estate refused to provide it. Again, the Plaintiffs are the beneficiaries of the Estate. If they could release it — I imagine that they could get access to it, your honor, as beneficiaries to the Estate; but it’s something we’ve never had access to, and it sounds like the value of it is less than the debt.
    Mr. Panish: That’s not true, and then we’re going to now show — get the documents to show it’s not true.
    Ms. Strong: Well, you have access to them as Plaintiffs and beneficiaries of the Estate. I anticipate you have a better chance of getting it.
    Mr. Panish: We’re going to issue a subpoena right now for Mr. Briggs, who did the valuations.
    Judge: It seems like it would be easier to get it from the Estate.
    Mr. Boyle: You would think.
    Mr. Panish: You would think, but it’s not because they’ve been fighting us on everything in this case.

    Let me note once again – the fact that AEG did not know the figures (if we are to believe them) does not matter. What matters is Briggs’s CONCLUSION that the debts were higher than the assets. This is what AEG got from Briggs and dropped as their bomb at the trial, knowing all the way that Panish would not be able to check it up as the Estate was not providing these figures to anyone at all.

    Like

  21. alice permalink
    August 4, 2013 5:36 am

    Hey everyone,

    Just a little something funny (but not quite related to Michael) for you.

    A wonderful young comedian over here called Josh Thomas made a hilarious but astute comment about the media downfall, on a TV show a few weeks ago.

    Note: Tony Abbott is the government opposition leader, of the party not currently in power. It is hard to sum him up in a few words, but I think ‘stupid, racist, ignorant, incompetent, sensationalist lunatic’ should do the trick. If he gets into power I want to move to France.

    Josh said:

    “Last week I got a bit angry at Tony Abbott because it is quite an easy thing to do. I specifically get angry when he talks about refugees because it is quite a big, complicated issue, and we have kids in detention centres and people dying, and it is difficult, right? And no matter what you want to do, you should understand that it is difficult and just saying “stop the boats” over and over again is just a dick-head move. So that’s quite a difficult thing to put into 140 characters or less so I said to him, “Hey Tony Abbott stop the boats? more like stop your mamma coming round to my place for sex.” It got on the cover of Melbourne’s Herald Sun. That is not news. That is not news. A your mamma joke to Tony Abbott joke is not news. You wonder why old media is dying? Thats why it is dying. Its not interesting.”
    — Josh Thomas on Adam Hills Tonight.”

    At the time I thought it was such a great example of why media is failing us as a news source – and something of relevance to the lack of credibility we can put in what we hear about to do with Michael and the trial now.

    -alice

    Like

  22. alice permalink
    August 4, 2013 5:26 am

    Hey Mag!

    RE:
    “(Alice.. I live in the UK and there are lots of us ,, who are not the slightest bit interested with Royal weddings ,Royal babies or any other aspect of our Royal family !!. )
    I do confess to being a bit obsessed with one King though!!… and the photos of him from
    2008 are beautiful.!!”

    Hahahaha🙂 it made me giggle to read that. Somebody should let the media know, shouldn’t they? Although you’d think the fact their sales and readership are dropping drastically would be some indication to them… there’s a lot of obtuse people in that world.

    Totally agree with you on our ‘King’ though!🙂

    When Michael was born, a new kind of kingdom was created. Where emotion, creativity, passion and love reigned free above all else.

    I doubt very much the baby on the cover of Woman’s Day and Hello magazine is going to be able to do the same thing. Though who knows, he still has time to prove me wrong!

    -alice

    Like

  23. MagUK permalink
    August 4, 2013 5:14 am

    Hi Helena..I just need to say thank you for continuing to bring us all this information ( and of course to” team MJ”, and for the useful comments made by others).

    On balance I now think this lawsuit is a good thing, whatever the outcome, because it is bringing out a lot more of the truth and exposing a lot of lies as well.. It’s so hard for us as Michael’s admirers.. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for those close to him, whether family or genuine friends and aquaintances..

    It breaks my heart to know, for sure, that every bad thing that happened to Michael was as the result of someone else’s agenda, but maybe, just maybe, we are a travelling a bit further down the road towards true vindication. Even though we are still up against selective and slanted media reporting, in some cases it appears the tide is starting to turn.

    (Alice.. I live in the UK and there are lots of us ,, who are not the slightest bit interested with Royal weddings ,Royal babies or any other aspect of our Royal family !!. )

    I do confess to being a bit obsessed with one King though!!… and the photos of him from
    2008 are beautiful.!!

    Like

  24. alice permalink
    August 4, 2013 5:11 am

    Consider this…

    BEYONCE ALBUM SALE FIGURES:

    Dangerously in Love – 11,000,000 (as of 2011)

    B-Day – 7,000,000 (as of 2008)

    I Am… Sasha Fierce – 7,000,000 (as of 2011)

    4 – 1,4000,000 (as of 2013)

    An enormous drop. Yet we constantly hear about how Beyonce is the biggest pop star and she wants to buy Neverland back to use as her business headquarters?

    I shudder in my boots to think if her purchase of Neverland were to actually happen, but I’d love to see Beyonce’s face if Briggs told her that her monetary value and her likeability was clearly down because she sold approximately 10,000,000 less albums in 2013 than 2011 and therefore she wasn’t a safe choice for a company to sign an endorsement deal with.

    Can you imagine? She’d squash him.

    No, she would ask Jay Z to squash him.

    And then Jay Z would hire someone to squash him… with a gorilla made of caviar.

    And then they’d probably use it as a music video and a caviar company would sponsor it.

    Speaking of endorsements, I wonder if Briggs can answer why Beyonce managed to score such an obscenely lucrative deal with Pepsi, if her album sales dropped?

    Were the executives just feeling like throwing some money around that day? Opened a magazine, picked a random person and gave them a call? Is that it, Briggs?

    I don’t think so.

    And shouldn’t endorsements depend more on what the product to be sold is and its connection to the artist, rather than likeability and album sales?

    You don’t get Michael Jackson to sell detergent simply because he’s likeable. That’s not smart marketing. And it’s not going to make you buy the detergent. To rise above today’s market, you get Michael to endorse something clever… something to do with music. With performing. With an idea that the brand want to be associated with… peace, happiness, acceptance… or you get him to compose or creatively direct a piece for the product… he’d do a markedly better job than most advertising companies.

    Likeability should not be the only influencing factor into endorsements. I like the Olsen twins but if they endorsed an ice-cream it wouldn’t make me eat it.
    Everyone hates Lindsay Lohan but imagine if you got her to affiliate with a rehabilitation clinic to endorse it… ‘this is the brand that helped me overcome my years of addiction and obnoxious behaviour’. If you are the clinic that helps Lindsay Lohan overcome addiction, that’s a pretty powerful marketing tool.

    It’s like Conrad Murray. Everyone hates him too but you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody is going to bid insanely high to get that TV interview with him. He has no likeability but it doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made from him and for him as a media asset. Typing that actually made me feel physically sick, because of how disgusting that reality is – but I had to use it as an example. Sickening as it is.

    The possibilities of endorsement and sponsorship are also becoming far more organic and hybridized, beyond Briggs’ prehistoric definitions of them.

    Consider something like what Lady Gaga and 50 Cent did with headphones – Gaga’s heartbeats. They created their own brand of headphones within an existing brand and both the company and artist get a profit from that. It’s affiliation with the added bonus of product revenue. Direct revenue from that affiliation. Lady Gaga also did this with polaroid cameras. This is like a new version of endorsement. Pretend the artist created it, rather than just appearing on their ad. The illusion of involvement in the product’s creation adds value.

    It’s dangerous to use album sales as an indication of a star’s earning power. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, album sales depend on the audience, the milieu of the time, the economic climate, the technology of the era – are people more likely to download it illegally? Will they prefer to download each track individually off itunes? Is everyone who goes down to the cd store dead now? Does everyone prefer to listen to it for free on youtube? Do they prefer going to the concert? Do they have less time to listen to music because they’re busy? Do they listen to more alternative music in a rejection of ‘big commercial’ stars? What was the promotion for the album like? Was it effective? We saw how the lack of promotion from Sony damaged the sales of one album of Michael’s – yet it still managed to outperform on an amazing scale due to Michael’s power and talent. Beyonce’s have absolutely plummeted but she is worth a bomb (even if I don’t personally buy into her.)

    The power and worth of an artist goes far beyond their sales these days. Will.i.am is one artist recognizing this. He is already moving from his music starting-base into producing and business management. Artists are starting their own labels in rejection to the bigger labels and supporting up and coming artists and earning from them. They begin people movements, online forums, develop a culture and a following about themselves to create a worth immeasurable beyond money of music sales. Like Lady Gaga with her Little Monsters site.

    Will.i.am has branded himself – he owns the words ‘i.am’ and his website does not even end in the usual domain endings. Type in ‘will.i.am’ and the site immediately comes up. I believe this is why Michael was so interested in him and they were working together on music from 2006 onwards. Because he is doing what Michael had already done in a different way throughout his career – but with new technology and ideas. Revolutionizing the concept of power, of creativity, of constant development. And it’s like I said. I don’t have to like will.i.am’s music to be interested in his concepts and thinking. I don’t have to buy his album to buy into ‘him’. The beauty of Michael, in comparison to will of course, is that he had the power to do both. Michael understood that album sales were dropping – but he also understood the power of releasing as singles. He was going to release one single for every of the ten concerts he agreed to for the London 02 performances. He was always, always thinking ahead. He was a ‘sponge’.

    Briggs is wrong and backward-thinking to start excluding things from that earning potential by just focusing on ticket sales etc. The SONY/atv catalogue rights, the MiJac catalogue, a film career… just like will.i.am is trying to do now, Michael would move on from music being his only career… and he would not have stopped creating when he was 66.

    On another level, I think it’s sad AEG are diluting this debate of Michael’s worth down to such a miniscule economic value. It’s sad too that, in a legal sense, we must sue for damages, which are then reimbursed in a financial sense once a person has wrongfully died. It implies you can put a monetary value on someone’s importance and impact on the world. Part of me thinks that Katherine would not even want monetary damages involved if it had not been for the children and ability for it to go towards charities, and the message it would send to AEG.

    The thing I dislike most about Briggs’ testimony is that he derides the idea of speculation. One of the most important things in the world is speculation. I believe the best future financial estimates are made when you balance speculation with prediction – figures with fantasy, desire with data, intention with information.

    Erk shows his forward-thinking mentality by mentioning and including some things that Michael wanted and could have gone on to do – films, tours, etc. But these are only a few that we know with some certainty. The possibilities, with Michael’s creativity and skill, were endless. He was constantly thinking ahead – who knew what else he had developing in his mind? That was the beauty of Michael – he had the passion and faith and ability to ‘speculate’ and make it a reality. He could have been and done anything. Earnt anything. And then used it for good. But for the purposes of this case, shouldn’t it be up to the so-called experts to give an informed, intelligent guesstimate of what he could have earnt in a variety of fields he had showed interest and talent in? To give an educated and informed speculation?

    For Briggs to suggest Erk’s testimony is irrelevant because it is speculative is just downright stupid. Of course it’s speculative. That’s the whole damn point of making economic predictions – you speculate with the best analysis, research and information that you have at your disposal in terms of what the person or company intends to do and has the resources, power, connections and creativity to do. You may factor in risk as possibilities, but don’t use these as guidelines to wholly define your argument. Develop comparison graphs of one with and without risks. Find a medium between the two. Accept that you cannot use events that have not occurred (like cancellations etc) to make claims that are set in stone before the future can happen. I hope when companies ask Briggs to come and make some economic predictions for them he just doesn’t waltz in and say ‘well really that would be speculative so, um, the end.’ That is not a prediction!! That is not an answer!! That is not worth $800+ an hour!! Is he trying to do himself out of a job? Is he trying to cripple his own industry?

    I mean, really…

    Can you imagine what the world would be like if Steve Jobs hadn’t bothered to speculate?

    -alice

    Like

  25. August 4, 2013 2:46 am

    Helena, these are very logical conclusions. It was a very sinister game AEG played here with using exactly this witness who did this job for the Estate. Thank God Panish was on the alert.

    But what I don’t understand is, there had been always numbers around concerning the value of the catalogue and we always knew that the value was higher than Michael’s debts. It was also made clear by Mesereau in the 2005 trial where Sneddon wanted to take Michael’s financial situation as a reason for his “conspiracy theory”. The value of MJ’s assets was pointed out by Mesereau to clarify that Michael could have solved his cash problems immediately. I remember that already in 2005 the value of the whole ATV catalogue was estimated by some people to more than 1 billion. OK, Michael’s debts could have grown since then, but also the value of the catalogues has grown.
    So I don’t really understand how they believed they could use Briggs’ testimony in a convincing way. They must have known about the IRS estimation. Is it also possible that they used this testimony out of desperation, with nothing else in hand? So I’m not sure if the Estate relied solely on Briggs’ figures.
    In any case, it was a put-up job.

    Like

  26. Mariam permalink
    August 3, 2013 8:47 pm

    Yes Murray is indeed psychopath and dangers. I remember what the judge said on his judgment day. Said “Absolutely no sense of remorse and no sense of fault. Is remains dangers”. After I heard that he is trying to warned AEG and the MJ’s family, honestly I scared of him. What is the most disturbing thing about this man is that he has no regret that in fact someone life is taken by him. It is very hard to forgive a person like him. Life is precious. He vanished someone life yet after two years still he doesn’t feel it. He doesn’t sound normal to me anymore. He sounds like those sick murderers who has no conscious. In some countries I know, a person like Murray cannot walk around on the street freely, he cannot survive even for a day. No kidding. That is justice mean for them. They believe that, nobody deserves to be a live after he took someone’s life that is a mentality of the people in those countries. May be they are extreme but releasing Murray now is also extremely unfair for MJ’s family and for people who loves him.

    Like

  27. August 3, 2013 5:02 pm

    Ignorance is bliss seems to be AEG´s motto.Not recalling, not remembering or noticing not
    allowing telling e-mails,and an ignorant doctor ,who does not know the effects of the substance he is infusing his one and only patient with, liters of it, and not knowing how to find out either.Thinking the press knows best.

    Like

  28. August 3, 2013 4:30 pm

    And above all Briggs needs to thank Victor G. and his co-members of NAMBLA:

    Like

  29. August 3, 2013 4:17 pm

    Briggs brought in the concept of “likability” and Often referred to the press.Thank you DD!
    He had some just out of lawschool assistants for 350 DOLLARS PER HOUR. Wow.

    Like

  30. August 3, 2013 3:46 pm

    “If a corporation would pay almost one million dollars for testimony to this ONE man for a testimony so easily killed then whom would they pay and what amount to ensure they win this case? What, how much and whom would they use to seek the revenge on Michael and his heirs for exposing them to the public?” – Dialdancer

    There is something terribly fishy about Briggs’ testimony, and it isn’t only the sum of the fee paid to him. Now I had an opportunity to read the transcript of his 2nd day of testimony (where he spoke about that waiver) and need to clarify a few things.

    Briggs produces a very strange impression of someone who is either totally unprofessional or of someone who is covering up something.

    1) His company has 4000 employees. Out of all those people he says he was assisted in his estimation by a certain Matthew Mucinow. This Matthew has been with the company for a year after college and Briggs doesn’t even know what he majored in. In other words he doesn’t know what the person who did this top important estimation is even specializing in!

    2) As regards the problem of that ‘waiver’ and the catalog now I understand things in a totally different way.

    Briggs said that Michael would not get any endorsement deals because he was in debt. Panish replied that in order to state that a person is in debt one should compare his assets with his liabilities, so please state where you took your numbers from. AEG’s attorneys immediately sprang up to object saying it was confidential information. But the question is – if it is so confidential why did Briggs raise it at all?

    If he said that MJ’s assets were less in value than his debt he needed to prove it, but proof is exactly what he could not provide due to a confidentiality agreement with the Estate. So the problem was not in that waiver, but in the fact that AEG KNEW that Briggs could not explain his position, but nevertheless allowed him to drop that bomb and evidently encouraged him to do it.

    3) It seems that there is also a very big conflict of interest here. If Briggs says – when speaking for AEG – that MJ’s assets were lower than his financial obligations it means that he did disclose this confidential information to AEG. He probably did not give the numbers but he stated the fact, thus using his knowledge obtained from his earlier estimation of the catalog for the Estate.

    If AEG had retained another evaluation expert he would not have provided to them this information, and this is where the big difference is. And this is probably why AEG paid so much to Briggs – for getting access to his very special knowledge in this respect.

    4) But providing access to AEG to this information (not in numbers, but in relative terms) but denying it to Panish turns the situation into a totally outrageous one. Briggs makes some top important statements, but Panish cannot check them because Briggs says it is “confidential”!

    Putnam tells Panish to go to the Estate and ask them, but Panish says that the Estate refused to give them any numbers. The Estate did not give any numbers to AEG either, but AEG did not need the numbers – all they needed was an answer from Briggs to a question “Are MJ’s assets lower than his liabilities?” to which Briggs most probably just nodded. And that was it.

    The number here is not that important, it is the fact itself which AEG wanted to get from Briggs.

    5) And later on we hear that the number which Briggs used in his estimation is not correct as IRS estimated the catalog much higher – by up to $300 mln for MJ’s part of it. Again we don’t know the numbers but it nevertheless completely overturns the situation – now the assets become higher than the liabilities, and by a very big sum too.

    They will discuss it in the third part of testimony which I haven’t read yet, but even without reading it it becomes clear that AEG retained this particular Briggs for him to drop a bomb in the courtroom – that MJ was deeply in debt and even bankrupt – and for Panish NOT TO BE ABLE to refute this information as he was not privy to the figures. And this is probably why AEG paid so much to Briggs.

    It was a big, a very big game.

    By the way if God had not helped us and IRS had not looked into it we wouldn’t have known that Michael’s part was actually much more expensive – the Estate was relying on Briggs’s figures too and most probably would have never disclosed this information to anyone not to hurt their and MJ’s financial interests.

    This is my impression of it after a brief look. Hopefully there will be a time to analyse it properly later.

    Like

  31. August 3, 2013 2:32 pm

    “The sum of $700,000 begin to looks all the more suspicious to us when we learn that Briggs does not have any documents to itemize the jobs for which this sum was charged though the judge ordered he should submit them (evidently due to the enormity of the sum).

    And all this conversation makes us wonder even more when Panish says that the resulting file from Briggs contains very little information to present to court. No summaries of depositions or testimonies, no nothing. Briggs practically did nothing else but simply brush away Arthur Erk’s estimation as “speculation” – simple and easy as that.”

    If a corporation would pay almost one million dollars for testimony to this ONE man for a testimony so easily killed then whom would they pay and what amount to ensure they win this case? What, how much and whom would they use to seek the revenge on Michael and his heirs for exposing them to the public?

    P.S. Exactly what is Briggs job under the MJ Estate, how much has he been paid for whatever it is he does and what has he done that warrants any salary at all?

    Like

  32. August 3, 2013 11:52 am

    As with my earlier post on American Billionaires I was not looking for this information. It happen to come up when using Google then Yahoo to search and I found it interesting.

    “George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony”

    http://movies.yahoo.com/news/george-clooney-hedge-fund-honcho-daniel-loeb-stop-161611465.html

    Like

  33. August 3, 2013 10:47 am

    Murray is so ignorant or careless,not fit for an MD. If you do private practice and run into a probnlem or do not fully know all aspects of the treatment you think will bemefit your patient ,it is common practice to seek out a specialist for consultation and information.It will
    cost you some.but nothing even close to what the AEG spec.witnesses charge,and it is tax
    deductable.Why be so shameful? too.

    Like

  34. August 3, 2013 10:39 am

    He, Murray, did not just kill Michael,as if that was not enough. The result of his prolonged treatments with Propofol Michael came to have some subtle brain damage, something AEG is now using for their own benefit, blaming him for all sorts of erratic behaviour and
    making some mistaken steps in his choreography.All that Murray´s doing.Did Murray maybe also observe some some out of line behaviour that he intends to talk about on TV. Still ignorant,not aware that he himself was the root of those behaviours.Also he is breaking the doctor-patient confidentiality in the grossest manner possibe if he goes on TV .

    Like

  35. August 3, 2013 7:07 am

    And remember Dr. Shafer testified for free in Murray´s trial as he felt the whole reputation of medicine was in danger.

    Like

  36. Sina permalink
    August 3, 2013 7:04 am

    ”Though I have encountered so much sorrow and I have a great deal of explosive information that is fodder for tarnishing images, I’ve remained loyal to Michael and to foes over the past four years.

    This is beyond psychopathic,. You killed a man, accused him of causing his own death, never took any responsibility for your actions and you call that loyalty. What planet is he on.
    He is also a hypocrite. Didnt he invite Katherine Jackson to come talk with him so he could tell her what in his mind happened to her son.
    He will not give evidence yet tries to stay in the spotlight.
    The man is in total denial of where he is now and that he is not the victim but the convict.
    I had never seen so much disguised evil surrounding one man before I started looking closer into Michaels life and entourage. Murray does not even try to hide it.

    Like

  37. August 3, 2013 7:03 am

    AMA please,please do not reinstate Murrays medical licence,he is a total psychopath and those are not fit to practce medicine. I have this from the horses mouth, but cannot reveal my source.Whatever you may think of MJ , you are in a position of noting murra´s charachter.

    Like

  38. August 3, 2013 6:55 am

    Well Murray will now remain on AEG´s payroll or some other money arraingement ,showing to the world that crime pays,and especially when big companies are involved.,in the US of A.
    I will not yet comment on the mascerade video, it is spectacular for sure.

    Like

  39. August 3, 2013 6:51 am

    Murray who stated he was Michaels only friend in his previous video is now to make a new one TV. What happened with the Holy Spirit that came and visited him before. Check out his former video.That should be shown together with the TV program if it really will happen.He is even more of a psychopath. or just confirming the fact.

    Like

  40. August 3, 2013 6:47 am

    Briggs,Barrack Thome Thome Thome, FIT and Colony capital or Some Fortress as it´s called now are from the same gang.And from a British doc. I learnt that no big business today is independent of the mafia that has greatly and cleverly benefitted from globalisation.

    Like

  41. August 3, 2013 5:59 am

    “Dr. Conrad Murray wants a TV special so he can reveal explosive secrets about the late Michael jackson, a report has claimed.”

    It seems that ‘spilling dirt’ about Michael and his family is Murray’s only way to stay alive after he is released. He knows much more dirt about AEG, but if he promised to spill that dirt I doubt he would survive a single day.

    Continuous spilling dirt about the Jacksons is a sort of Murray’s pass to survival. So now you know what to expect of him after his release.

    Like

  42. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 5:52 am

    Just read this on the National Ledger…

    “Dr. Conrad Murray wants a TV special so he can reveal explosive secrets about the late Michael jackson, a report has claimed.

    The disgraced former doctor – who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter after delivering a fatal dose of Propofol to the King of Pop in June 2009 – has reportedly been fielding multi-million dollar deals to-tell all about the late singer and his family when he is granted an early release from prison in October.

    Murray has warned the ‘Thriller’ star’s family that if they continue to push him ”to the limit” by slating him in the press and in their wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoters AEG Live, he will not hesitate to dish the dirt on Michael’s relatives – which he claims could ”tarnish” their reputations.

    In a statement obtained by the Daily Star newspaper, he said: ”Though I have encountered so much sorrow and I have a great deal of explosive information that is fodder for tarnishing images, I’ve remained loyal to Michael and to foes over the past four years.

    ”I will continue to be faithful and endure unless and until I’m pushed to the limit and endurance is no more.”

    The jailed physician has angered Michael’s family by refusing to aid his mother Katherine Jackson’s $100 million lawsuit against AEG – who she claims is responsible for the star’s death by negligently hiring Murray – and has insisted he won’t give evidence in the trial.

    Meanwhile, it was recently confirmed that Murray will receive early release from prison in October for good behaviour.

    Murray – who lost his medical license when he was found guilty – was jailed in November 2011 and will leave prison having served just under half of his four-year sentence.”

    link: http://www.nationalledger.com/pop-culture-news/conrad-murray-planning-tv-tell-all-133993.shtml#ixzz2atzR7Qtm

    -alice

    Like

  43. August 3, 2013 5:40 am

    “One question I have – do you think there are two ‘masters’ at the end of the film?”

    Well, I don’t know. It looks to me like it is the same actor (he has dark dots in his green eyes) and secondly, it goes against the idea of the video – someone mighty with a steel hand is seriously watching this big jolly crowd which took after Michael Jackson, then turns away in thought tapping his fingers and then finally decides to put a stop to it. Game over.

    That is why I wish they could have the music resume after everything is switched off. The game is not over and Michael’s followers still have tons of work to do and many masks still need to be pulled off. What is important is to keep the jolly spirit of it – Michael would love it if the process were much fun.

    “It is pretty clear that someone stole it to release unofficially, but who would have that kind of access? Particularly after the recent Sony server hacking business after the release of the Michael album? Someone involved in the production itself?”

    How can we know? What’s certain is that it is someone who does not wish Sony or the Estate any good.

    “What I also do not understand is why Sony did not release this version along with the fan video. Did they plan to just keep it in the vault forever? Or release at a later date?

    I can only guess why, but think that after facing all that fury with the Michael album they probably thought not to spill more oil into the fire. With some fans anything done by Sony is no good – if they release something it is a tragedy and accusations in wanting $$$$$, if they don’t release it is another tragedy and accusations of not doing enough for MJ.

    This is called bias, and with an approach like that these people will never know the truth. I suggest that they open their minds to let a little fresh air in.

    Like

  44. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 5:08 am

    Yes sorry Helena, that is the girl I meant! Thanks. I agree the similarity is striking!
    If the two viedos, Hollywood Tonight and Behind the Mask, were indeed made at about the same time, then I wonder if they had the same director?
    The director of Hollywood Tonight was Wayne Isham, who also directed You Are Not Alone.
    -alice

    Like

  45. August 3, 2013 4:36 am

    “I think the only thing that was grating against me to begin with was how happy the Japanese (?) woman not wearing the mask (who follows the Ghosts-like figure we interpret as MJ) looked. It felt as if it was going against the anguish of the song – but I do like your interpretation that she is happy precisely because she is not wearing a mask.”- Alice

    I was talking about another girl, the one who is carrying drinks on a tray and has a very specific hair fit which reminds you of traditional Japanese outfits. She and the man at the counter are the two working at the party. Here she is:
    Behind the mask episode

    And the girl you are talking of is someone totally different. She looks like Michael’s love and she recognizes him (well, his spirit) in that black cloak behind the mask. This is why she smiles and flirts with him:
    Behind the mask - the girl

    This girl looks very much like two women in Michael’s life – Shana Mangatal whose story about love with MJ is quite real as I hear, and possibly one more woman I won’t mention here.

    Here are Shana Mangatal’s photos. Well, in fact now that I placed all these pictures together I think that it is probably her in the video too:


    When she was younger, with MJ. Judgding by the badge she was working on the Dangerous tour:

    Like

  46. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 4:34 am

    @Helena,

    “There is one other thing attracting my attention in Briggs’s testimony. He keeps calling Fortress “Fortress Capital”, but the Fortress group for which Briggs was evaluating Michael’s part of the ATV catalog is called “Fortress Investment Group”!”

    I thought something sounded wrong in that section!! I just couldn’t put my finger on it. That is definitely suspicious. Slips of the tongue like that do not happen without a reason or cause behind them. Briggs was familiar with both.

    I would love to know how much of his pay for this case (supposedly all going straight to his company) is actually be redirected right into his pocket.
    -alice

    Like

  47. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 4:22 am

    I do agree with your interpretation of it, Helena, and I like it more and more each time I watch it – I think the only thing that was grating against me to begin with was how happy the Japanese (?) woman not wearing the mask (who follows the Ghosts-like figure we interpret as MJ) looked. It felt as if it was going against the anguish of the song – but I do like your interpretation that she is happy precisely because she is not wearing a mask.
    Love your Truman show thought too.
    There was actually something about the robotic hand that the ‘master’ wears that reminded me of Daft Punk’s latest album, where they essentially copied the Thriller album cover:

    Coincidence that the same kind of metallic hand appears?

    Daft Punk claim the cover is an homage, but I personally find it irritating. Who knows, though, maybe Michael would have appreciated it🙂

    I agree is a beautifully made film, and unlike Hollywood Tonight it actually feels like someone who understood Michael was involved in it creatively. I’d love to know who came up with the concept – and who made the masks. Loved seeing the Speed Demon bunny again, too. It’s hard for me to decide which I like the best though!

    One question I have – do you think there are two ‘masters’ at the end of the film? There is some clever splicing between the shots, close up on their faces wearing the mirror masks, and at one stage close to the very end, the shape of one mirror mask looks different to the next one shown. Almost like a new master has arrived in the original master’s office… and that is why the first master ‘clicks’ the glass desk – to pause or turn off what’s happening so the new master can take over… Or maybe the difference in cuts and zoom are playing with my eyes haha – just as likely!

    It is pretty clear that someone stole it to release unofficially, but who would have that kind of access? Particularly after the recent Sony server hacking business after the release of the Michael album? Someone involved in the production itself? How did this young Romanian kid Dorian get hold of it? He’s only 19 or 20 and I’m sure if he hacked their server he would not have publicised the upload so obviously.

    What I also do not understand is why Sony did not release this version along with the fan video. Did they plan to just keep it in the vault forever? Or release at a later date?
    -alice

    Like

  48. August 3, 2013 3:15 am

    “From all the searches I can make and reading comments across the net and on youtube, everyone seems to think the Estate and Sony actually made this version” -Alice

    I think so too. Who else would have invested so much money into it? It doesn’t look like a cheap production made for the sole purpose of leaking it for a couple of days and then have it shut up by the Estate for infringing the copyright.

    “Some of the masks are so beautiful and creative (the Stranger in Moscow one is beautifully done, with the man wearing it being rained upon solely).”

    All the masks are beautiful. As to Stranger in Moscow I find it funny that the man wearing it looks like a Japanese (?). My first reaction to it was surprise and even wondering about certain things, but now it looks to me like an allusion to the Japanese and possibly Sony (?) feeling sad about Michael’s fate and the allegations that haunted MJ all his life. By the way this person and another girl (looking Japanese too) are the only ones who are working at this party.

    “But I do feel it totally misinterprets the spirit of the song. It’s not meant to be about partying. You hear his voice and the lyrics, it breaks your heart.”

    But the video is not about partying – it is about throwing off the masks and the truth replacing lies. It is very symbolic. And the man with green eyes running the party – which is the world – is similar to the one who monitored the Truman show (MJ was a prototype for the main character of the film). So all this symbolism looks entirely appropriate.

    Taking off the masks from those who are running the show would be the most intriguing thing of course and we are still far away from it, but it looks like the process has started and it gives the “party” a special thrill.

    Quote from the lyrics:

    All along I knew you were
    A phony girl
    You sit behind the mask
    And you control your world

    Was I invited to your masquerade?
    Well, the party’s over so
    Now take off the face
    You say you love, but it’s hard to see
    ’cause when you’re in his arms
    You’re throwing rocks at me

    I walk around I’m sufferein’
    In my doom
    When I come to you,
    You’re sittin’ in our room
    The truth in you I have
    Long to trace
    So take off the mask so
    I can see your face

    Like

  49. August 3, 2013 1:59 am

    “If so then Sony who was given “guardianship” of Michael’s music and is a 50% partner is negligent in protecting the Estates musical assets. Negligent in taking care of its’ partner’s interests and preserving the only MJ Legacy most seem concerned with $$$$$$. This makes the what…. 2nd or 3rd leak since 2010? It should be interesting to see how many artist whose music is under Sony, but NOT under the ATV has this problem and how often.” – Dialdancer

    Dial, it is much more interesting to see who is standing behind this leak. It is absolutely not in the interests of Sony to invest a lot in producing videos and then face all these leakages. This video was stolen from them, and this is connected exactly with $$$$$ as you say, only in the reverse variant.

    It is like showing the new blockbuster not in the movie theater where it belongs but free on the internet, so that it does not give any money to those who made it and those who have rights for it (the Estate). It only confirms my present suspicions that someone is consistently working against the Estate and possibly Sony too.

    Actually their ultimate target is Michael Jackson and damaging his interests, as usual.

    Like

  50. August 3, 2013 1:40 am

    “And why are Sony so keen to take all copies down? Love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the video. I will re-embed it at the end of this post.” – Alice

    Sony must be taking the copies down because someone stole the video from them, stole the surprise of it and consequently all the great work done. It was evidently meant to be a big premiere and what now? In my opinion leaks can be made only by the outsiders who want to do damage, and not by those whose property it is. It is absolutely not in the interests of those who own it.

    As to the video I find it absolutely fantastic. Supreme in quality and idea. No, the central idea is not partying. The central idea is that at the party – arranged for all of us by that white man with a steel hand – masks have suddenly begun to be taken down. Almost all these people are wearing masks, and some of them are taking them off and feel much better after it. The one who arranged the party is still in control of course as he switches on and switches off, but the process has started.

    And the reason why the process started is the man in black who reminds you of the figure in Ghosts and is conveying the same message. It isn’t MJ alive, but it is him nevertheless. Because all these changes are taking place due to him.

    P.S. It was also a good idea to show that the mask of the master of the show reflects many images of Michael Jackson. He is watching the crowd and it looks to him (and us) like many MJs. Good idea. So initially the master had to deal with him only, and now there are so many reflections of him. It even seemed to me that the master of the show is slightly nervous. I hope he really is.

    I am terribly sorry for involuntarily participation in this stealing but since it already happened let me post the link again while it is still there:

    Like

  51. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 12:46 am

    To add to my last post, here is something interesting I found from an article last year (forgive me if this has already been mentioned elsewhere on the blog! It probably has…)

    It’s on a reshuffle of execs at Sony. Effectively it means Pascal and Lynton are both still co-chairs of Sony Pictures, but Pascal also reports to Lynton as he endeavours to “add oversight of Sony Corp.’s other U.S. entertainment assets as early as next week in a rejig of the conglomerate’s U.S. operations.”

    In this reshuffle the following also happened…

    “A Sony source said that with power shifting to Tokyo, Lynton will add oversight of Sony Music, led by Doug Morris, and Sony ATV, a music publishing joint venture with Michael Jackson’s estate, which is led by Martin Bandier, whose contract was extended March 19. It wasn’t clear if Lynton would also add supervision of the Sony video games business in the U.S. to his duties….
    As far as Sony’s music business goes, the executive rejig is likely to also change the role of Rob Wiesenthal, executive vp and CFO of Sony Corp. of America. After putting together the proposed acquisition of EMI, he is expected to become involved in the operations of Sony ATV, a source said.”

    Link here to The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sony-pictures-michael-lynton-sony-corp-america-ceo-amy-pascal-302894

    -alice

    Like

  52. alice permalink
    August 3, 2013 12:37 am

    @Dialdancer,

    Hey Dial, just to follow up on your comment on the previous post regarding ‘activist investors’ and in particular Daniel Loeb, which was hinted at in the first article you posted (which made for incredibly interesting reading, thank you!)

    Link to the article you first posted: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/hot-stock-minute/america-most-feared-billionaires-exactly-105830575.html

    From that article, I found this summary particularly interesting:

    RE:
    “The goal of activist investors is straightforward: get share prices climbing and then cash out with a hefty profit. A classic example involves Ackman. Back in 2006, he bought a 5.4% stake in Wendy’s. Soon after, he pressured the burger chain into spinning off its Tim Hortons doughnuts division. Two months later he sold almost all his shares at a 67% profit. Other investors, however, were left holding little more than the bag. In the two years after Ackman exited Wendy’s the stock dropped 80%….
    Very often activist investment involves ousting leadership. Just this week billionaire Daniel Loeb accused Sony’s management of being “bloated.” He has spent the last several months pushing for the company to separate its struggling electronics unit from the entertainment division. Bold moves like massive layoffs and restructurings are often part of the master plan. Legendary billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian became known as “the smiling cobra” for his fierce tactics.”

    I’ve done a little reading on Daniel Loeb, one of the activist investors you highlighted, and I’ve just found these latest stories on Loeb’s attempts to break up Sony.

    George Clooney is attacking Loeb, calling him out on creating a ‘climate of fear’ around Sony for his own gain…

    RE:
    “Calling him an “activist” who “knows nothing about our business,” George Clooney had some harsh words for Sony investor Daniel Loeb.

    Loeb, who runs New York-based hedge fund Third Point Capital, has criticized Sony’s upper management in recent weeks and pointed to the poor performance of summer pics “White House Down” and “After Earth.” Third Point, which owns a 7% stake in the studio, has been pushing for a spinoff of the U.S.-based entertainment assets into a separate public entity and has called for more accountability from top Sony execs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal.

    “How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work,” Clooney said in an interview published Friday by Variety sister publication Deadline. “A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”

    Clooney also said that Loeb is trying to spread a “climate of fear” at Sony.

    “It’s crazy he has weight in this conversation at all,” Clooney said. “If guys like this are given any weight because they’ve bought stock and suddenly feel they can tell us how to do our business — one he knows nothing about — this does great damage than trickles down. The board of directors starts saying, ‘Wait a minute. What guarantee do you have that this movie makes money?’”

    Clooney said that if hedge fund guys like Loeb continue to scare the industry, it will only lead to more “crap” coming out as studios take fewer and fewer risks.

    But Clooney may not have much to worry about. Earlier this week, Nikkei broke the news that Sony’s board was leaning toward rejecting Loeb’s spinoff proposal.

    Third Point is a minority stakeholder in Variety Media, along with majority owner Penske Media Corporation, which also owns Deadline.”

    Link to this story here from Variety:
    http://variety.com/2013/more/news/george-clooney-slams-sony-investor-daniel-loeb-1200572726/

    Loeb is also an investor in Variety with Deadline’s parent company PMC. Deadline also have a full interview with Clooney, which I have noted further down.

    This is a fuller version from HuffPost with more comment from George:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/02/george-clooney-daniel-loeb_n_3696619.html

    And also an earlier story from The Hollywood Reporter is worth reading:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/daniel-loeb-sony-5-things-598819

    The HR note the following…

    RE:
    “Loeb, who parlayed $3 million he collected from family and friends 18 years ago into a $13 billion hedge fund, isn’t normally satisfied with smallish moves like reviving the TriStar label, so he’ll likely stick around until he figures he’s made a hefty enough profit to sell. With Yahoo, it took him about a year before he cashed out the majority of his holdings for about a $610 million pretax profit, whereas he only began publicly agitating Sony to spin off its entertainment assets about 10 weeks ago…
    Loeb, as is his usual modus operandi, has already volunteered his services or that of his allies to serve on Sony’s board of directors. He also might recommend specific layoffs, restructuring or other cost-saving measures. Beyond those obvious moves, though, he’s not saying what tactics he’ll employ in order to accomplish his goal of having his way with Sony, and he declined a request for an interview….
    Loeb can figure out creative ways to use the press to his advantage. When he becomes a significant shareholder in a company, his letters to management are made public and journalists routinely use them as a source for news.”

    I also found this note particularly interesting at the end of the first article you posted, Dial.

    RE:
    “What can a company do keep activist billionaires at bay? Be bigger than they are. Santoli says, “One of the great advantages of having a huge size corporate-wise is that you can’t have one of these investors come in and buy a stake easily and then rattle the cage.”

    …but what if the ‘activitist billionaire’ tries to manipulate other stakeholders into selling their share to them to gain more power? What then?

    If Loeb gets his way and the different parts of Sony (ie, entertainment, electronics) effectively split, what does that mean for Michael’s estate in terms of the music sector and Sony/ATV in particular, and their ownership of and balance for publishing rights? Is Loeb trying to break up just the movie section of Sony from everything else, or entertainment as a whole? Where does music fit into it?

    Loeb is taking shots at one of Sony’s co-chairs, Amy Pascal, who was key for Sony getting the movie rights for This Is It. She is a co-chair with Michael Lynton.

    From the New York Times on how Amy Pascal first encountered TII:
    “DAYS after Michael Jackson died last summer, an executive at Sony Music phoned Amy Pascal, the co-head of the company’s movie studio, to tell her that the pop singer had left hours upon hours of rehearsal tapes for his planned run of 50 concerts in London.
    Ms. Pascal watched 12 minutes of the tapes and saw a surprisingly limber Mr. Jackson strutting across the stage. She told her partner at the helm of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael M. Lynton, that the studio should be aggressive in securing the movie rights. Mr. Lynton quickly agreed, and after days of negotiations, the pair sealed a deal with an offer to pay $60 million upfront.”

    Link here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/business/media/25sony.html?pagewanted=1&sq=Lynton&st=Search&scp=1

    At present, Loeb’s fund Third Point Capital controls 7% of Sony.

    I’m still trying to figure out how the structure at Sony works in terms of separate divisions – when Amy Pascal came in, she did away with the idea of a hierarchy and instead seems to encourage an environment of togetherness where everyone ‘eats together’ etc and there is less priority on corporate ladders, so to speak. This is what Loeb seems to want to break up, so each sector (entertainment from electronics) can be split up more definitively and ‘restructuring’ (firing) can occur to ‘streamline’ the company and make a quick profit before he sells his share and moves on.

    What I would like to know is who made that call to Pascal in the first place…

    Clooney continues further on Loeb in an extended interview/article with deadline:

    RE:
    “What he’s [Loeb] doing is scaring studios and pushing them to make decisions from a place of fear. Why is he buying stock like crazy if he’s so down on things? He’s trying to manipulate the market. I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing. If you look at the industry track record, this business has made a lot of money. It creates a lot of jobs and is still one of the largest exporters in the world. To have this guy portraying it that Sony management is the bad stepchild and doesn’t know what it is doing and he’s going to fix it? That is like Walmart saying, let me fix your town, putting in their store, strangling all the small shops and getting everyone who worked in them to work for minimum wage with no health insurance.”

    Link here:
    http://www.deadline.com/2013/08/george-clooney-slams-sony-investor-daniel-loeb/

    And more from Forbes on Loeb and this greedy business style :

    RE:
    “The activist playbook has long been controversial and derided by some for squeezing companies for short-term gains at the expense of long-term value and success….”

    Link here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2013/08/02/george-clooney-attacks-hedge-fund-billionaire-dan-loeb/

    The way these activist investors slant their work is strikingly similar to the way Tom Barrack angled his deal with Michael. It’s just extortion disguised as ‘saving’ a company or person.
    & sorry my comments are getting so long, everyone! I think my last one is still in moderation because of it haha🙂
    -alice

    Like

  53. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 8:40 pm

    @Helena,

    “Can we be sure that his low estimation of the catalog is just a mistake? And what if it was deliberate minimizing the cost of MJ’s distressed property – so that someone could obtain it at the lowest cost possible? Same as with Neverland? Minimizing the cost was opening too many opportunities for Colony Capital and AEG!”

    Yes! I think this is so uncomfortably close to the truth that it hurts.

    @Dialdancer,

    “Was “the Man in the Mask” leaked?
    If so then Sony who was given “guardianship” of Michael’s music and is a 50% partner is negligent in protecting the Estates musical assets. Negligent in taking care of its’ partner’s interests and preserving the only MJ Legacy most seem concerned with $$$$$$.
    This makes the what…. 2nd or 3rd leak since 2010? It should be interesting to see how many artist whose music is under Sony, but NOT under the ATV has this problem and how often.”

    Yes, the new Behind the Mask video was leaked online two days ago. I cannot say for sure (*UPDATE* BELOW – it looks like one of the first links to it comes from a guy called Dorian Diaconu) where it first appeared or how it leaked (most leaks these days are intentionally done by the owner or creator, as I’m sure you know, like celebrity sex tapes and the like, to achieve a certain goal), only that I first saw it on Damien’s website. From the way his post is written, I don’t think it was leaked to him initially. I’ve also found connections to it in the mjjcommunity forum – interesting in itself.

    Link here: http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/130020-Official-Behind-the-Mask-video-leak

    From all the searches I can make and reading comments across the net and on youtube, everyone seems to think the Estate and Sony actually made this version when they were also making & filming the Hollywood Tonight video – but for some reason this version of Behind the Mask was not released and instead they decided to do the fan video. The first version was a bit of a cop-out idea, in my personal opinion. Could be interpreted as just a cheap and lazy way to try and make fans engage and buy an album that most were boycotting due to controversy of it’s ‘Michael’ legitimacy on certain tracks.

    This second version is a pretty good video, though. Some of the masks are so beautiful and creative (the Stranger in Moscow one is beautifully done, with the man wearing it being rained upon solely). But I do feel it totally misinterprets the spirit of the song. It’s not meant to be about partying. You hear his voice and the lyrics, it breaks your heart.

    Yet the ‘non-reveal’ of who is behind the Venetian mask at the end is a very intriguing touch. The hand removing it is that of a black man, but the face behind it (you can see through the eye holes as the mask is lowered if you play and freeze each second) is white, with dark eyes and pink lips. Very interesting….

    I just find the sudden leaking of this version very peculiar in terms of timing. Why now?

    As far as I know, the youtube version uploaded by Michael’s mexican fan community has not been taken down yet. I assume they downloaded it from either the mjjcommunity or damien’s website and uploaded it in their own account.

    The vimeo version, the first to appear, has been taken down:
    “Sorry, “Michael Jackson – Behind The Mask – Unreleased Official Video – High Definition” was deleted at 3:38:54 Thu Aug 1, 2013.”

    There is also a ‘behind the scenes’ video the mjjcommunity link to that I have never seen before but they seem to believe existed a while ago. They say the video was choregraphed by Chucky Klapow, one of the dancers from This Is It (the short hyperactive guy with the long brown hair that flew around everywhere when he danced haha…)

    Chucky posted on his twitter on August 1, following the leak:
    “@TammyStiletto Please don’t solely credit me. Props to the amazing @jabbawockeez and my partner Alif Sankey. Alif and I for the estate. :)”

    And on July 31:
    “@MJs_PYTs Alif Sankey worked on the video too. Gotta give credit where credit’s due. Love, CK”

    And again on July 31:
    “@MJs_PYTs @mishagabriel @DresReid @ChrisGrantMUSIC there’s another version out there that didn’t cut out so much of the choreography..”

    So my question here is, who edited the leaked version? Who produced it? Is it this Dorian guy (see UPDATE below) – or someone else?

    And again on July 31 before that:
    “@MJs_PYTs What? I didn’t know it got leaked! Haha awesome! I choreographed it, along with the Jabbawockeez of course.”

    *UPDATE*: Okay, so I found out the possible leaker for the first vimeo video version of this new version which appeared, by tracking the uploader from a music news site: a guy called Dorian Diaconu.

    He says on his twitter on July 31:
    “I just uploaded “Michael Jackson – Behind The Mask – Unreleased Official Video – High Definition” to Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/71447632

    Followed by this on August 1:
    “Behind The Mask” video was deleted by Sony Music. Sorry guys!”

    His twitter: https://twitter.com/DorianDiaconu
    His blog: http://doriandiaconuproductions.blogspot.ro

    Does this mean Dorian leaked it, or simply uploaded a version that was given to him? His blog calls itself productions – but what has he produced?
    And why are Sony so keen to take all copies down?
    Love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the video. I will re-embed it at the end of this post.
    -alice

    Like

  54. August 2, 2013 4:43 pm

    “What a wonderful find those photos are, Helena! He looks vibrant. You can almost picture the old bounce and spring in his step which was missing closer to his death – in the way he holds himself and the warmth in his eyes.” – Alice

    Yes, that Romanian site and collection of photos is absolutely remarkable. Sometimes they make mistakes in the dates but this can very often be checked up by other sources.

    As regards those pictures of May 22, 2008 I need to say that they were the last ones which showed Michael happy, confident and optimistic:

    As soon as the trio of Tohme/Barrack/AEG invaded his life Michael began to look noticeably more frail with every new day. Evidently he experienced a great shock.

    I think that AEG bosses lie when they say that when they were signing a contract with Michael in January 2009 he looked fine. He was frail already then, but evidently they wanted to get him into their trap no matter what condition he was in.

    Already at the end of August 2008 Michael looked an absolutely different man from what he was like three months earlier, in May 2008. This dramatic change could take place only due to all those people entering Michael’s life and the intimidation starting. The shock of them telling him that they “would preside on his funeral” if he didn’t work was very bad, it made him completely ill.

    And Tohme LIES when he says that MJ was bad before him – no, Michael took to an invalid chair after Tohme came into his life:

    July 2008:
    August 2008 :

    In September 2008 Michael said to June Gatlin that he was afraid of Tohme.

    By October 23, 2008 he got a little better:
    December 20, 2008:
    February 7, 2009 he is with the same Christian Audigier:

    The impression I get from the pictures above is that Michael looked his worst exactly when AEG was forcing him into those concerts and making their contract with him. Only later he pulled himself together a bit:

    March 5 (?), 2009:
    March 6, 2009 (at the theatre):
    On March 14, 2009 he was already impossibly thin, but they nevertheless set 50 concerts for him:
    April 10, 2009:
    May 15, 2009:
    June 3, 2009:

    After June 3 there are no more pictures which means that they surrounded him by so much security that no one could photograph him. He probably looked so bad that they didn’t allow a single paparazzi near him.

    Like

  55. August 2, 2013 3:00 pm

    There is one other thing attracting my attention in Briggs’s testimony. He keeps calling Fortress “Fortress Capital”, but the Fortress group for which Briggs was evaluating Michael’s part of the ATV catalog is called “Fortress Investment Group”!

    Why is this mistake important? Because “Capital” comes from the name of a different company – “Colony Capital” of Tom Barrack and this makes me think that Briggs misspoke himself several times and this way betrayed the fact that in 2007/2008 he made an estimation for Tom Barrack and – who knows? – probably undervalued Michael’s assets intentionally.

    I made a post about all those transactions between Fortress and MJ in August 2012: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/john-branca-and-randy-jackson-two-outcomes-for-michael-jacksons-finances/

    Here is a quote showing that it was Fortress Investment Group and not “Fortress Capital”.

    By the way in 2005 MJ’s share of the catalog was evaluated at more than $500 mln.
    And in 2009 Briggs said it was $400mln (?). The figure is not clear – he would not disclose it saying that it is confidential information, but it is very much worth looking into.

    People familiar with the negotiations expected Jackson’s representatives to secure a six-month extension to repay Fortress Investment Group, which owns loans that came due Tuesday. Fortress purchased the debt from Bank of America Corp. in April [2005].

    The loans are collateralized by Jackson’s 50% partnership in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between the singer and the electronics company that owns a 4,000-song catalog containing such songs as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and 251 Beatles hits.

    Jackson’s share in Sony/ATV, which also owns his valuable catalog and Neverland ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, is worth more than $500 million, according to court testimony.

    According to sources, Fortress will demand interim payments during the extension, and may insist on an interest rate that could reach as high as 9.5%, or more than $1.5 million a month.

    Fortress also owns another Jackson loan, for $70 million, that has not come due. The sources requested anonymity because negotiations were still going on.

    A spokeswoman for Fortress declined to comment on the negotiations. A spokeswoman for Sony/ATV declined to discuss specifics, except to say that the firm was “trying to be a good partner, and keep the partnership with Jackson going.” Jackson’s lawyers and spokeswoman did not return phone calls.

    If Jackson does default on his loans, he may be forced to sell a portion of his half-ownership in Sony/ATV. Such a transaction, however, could take months to complete and might result in a tax bill of $40 million, according to court testimony from earlier this year.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/21/business/fi-jackson21

    Like

  56. August 2, 2013 2:10 pm

    “Michael Jackson estate denies allowing expert to help AEG Live” By Alan Duke, CNN updated 7:17 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
    I meant to ask a question, but something caught my eye, the date and time of this story. My copy says “updated 10:14 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013″. This means at least one other copy of this story was given to the public at an earlier time.” – Dialdancer

    Dial, I see no problem with it. Briggs finished his testimony in the first half of Thursday, August 1 and Alan Duke immediately brought the news to the public. Then some new information arrived and he updated it in the evening the same day. And then some other correction was made in the morning of Friday, August 2 (today). Since you have the first variant and I posted the last one you can even compare and see what corrections were made.

    By the way synchronizing the dates for you and for me is a big problem. For example, something you see on August 1 at 10:14PM will be already August 2 for me.

    “My question is this. When is it acceptable for the courts to allow a statement by a called witness to be given via email rather than on the witness stand and under oath?”

    I have absolutely no way to know things like that. Someone in legal profession (and from the US) should answer that. I just assumed that the judge worked out some procedure allowing an urgent question be clarified without waiting for Weitzman to make personal appearance. I gather that LaPerruque testified today out of order, so the matter would have had to wait until Monday if it had not been for that email. Considering how quickly lies spread this was a correct decision. Evidently on Monday Weitzman will come to court and testify to the same in person.

    To me a much more important fact is that Briggs LIED about seeking the Estate’s permission and gaining it. Judging by the way it sounded in Brigg’s version it was a clear attempt to compromise the Estate and make them look like the worst enemy of Katherine Jackson. “The Estate is helping AEG in their case against Katherine Jackson”! This is how it looked at first.

    But things like that never happen by accident. If Briggs lied, he lied on purpose and this confirmed the suspicions I’ve had for some time now.

    My opinion is that AEG is trying to compromise the Estate. There were several indications of it, including Wade Robson making his claims against the Estate, and now we have an almost direct proof of it. Briggs worded it in a way which leaves no doubt about it.

    We just need to see the full transcript to make sure that Alan Duke made no mistake in reporting it the way he did:

    A lawyer for Michael Jackson’s estate gave an entertainment industry consultant permission to help AEG Live in its defense of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the pop singer’s mother, the expert testified.
    http://us.cnn.com/2013/07/31/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

    Like

  57. August 2, 2013 1:24 pm

    Helena,

    Sina has already given the link to the below story:

    “Michael Jackson estate denies allowing expert to help AEG Live”

    By Alan Duke, CNN updated 7:17 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

    I meant to ask a question, but something caught my eye, the date and time of this story.

    My copy says “updated 10:14 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013”. This means at least one other copy of this story was given to the public at an earlier time.

    My question is this. When is it acceptable for the courts to allow a statement by a called witness to be given via email rather than on the witness stand and under oath?

    If this email in lieu of testimony satisfies the this judge and higher courts, will this particular ruling set a precedence for others to use?

    Like

  58. August 2, 2013 1:05 pm

    @ Alice,

    Was “the Man in the Mask” leaked?

    If so then Sony who was given “guardianship” of Michael’s music and is a 50% partner is negligent in protecting the Estates musical assets. Negligent in taking care of its’ partner’s interests and preserving the only MJ Legacy most seem concerned with $$$$$$.

    This makes the what…. 2nd or 3rd leak since 2010? It should be interesting to see how many artist whose music is under Sony, but NOT under the ATV has this problem and how often.

    Like

  59. August 2, 2013 12:33 pm

    Sina, thank you for the article by Alan Duke. I’m reposting it here. There are a great many conclusions coming from this latest news. One of them is that if Briggs is ready to lie under oath (about seeking and getting permission from the Estate) it means that he may be capable of other things as well.

    Can we be sure that his low estimation of the catalog is just a mistake? And what if it was deliberate minimizing the cost of MJ’s distressed property – so that someone could obtain it at the lowest cost possible? Same as with Neverland? Minimizing the cost was opening too many opportunities for Colony Capital and AEG!

    Michael Jackson estate denies allowing expert to help AEG Live
    By Alan Duke, CNN
    updated 7:17 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

    Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s estate never gave an expert it hired permission to help AEG Live defend against the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother and children, the estate’s top lawyer said Thursday.

    The revelation raised questioned about the testimony of entertainment industry consultant Eric Briggs, who was hired by AEG Live to challenge the Jacksons’ expert opinions concerning damages the concert promoter might owe if found liable in the singer’s death.

    Briggs told the court this week that his company — FTI Consultants — had gotten a waiver from a Jackson estate lawyer before agreeing to work on the concert promoter’s defense.

    Briggs had signed a confidentiality agreement with the Jackson estate in 2010 when he was hired to determine the value of its biggest asset — the Sony-ATV music catalog that includes the Beatles songs — for the estate’s tax filings in 2010.

    He was hired by AEG Live lawyers in February to prepare a challenge of the opinion of an expert hired by the Jackson lawyers to calculate how much money the singer would have earned had he not died while working on his comeback concerts in 2009.

    Briggs said he — or someone else in his company — gained permission from the Jackson estate lawyer Jeryll Cohen to waive any potential conflict of interest.

    “No one from the estate or any lawyers authorized or waived any potential conflict for FTI or Mr. Briggs,” Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman wrote in an e-mail read in court Thursday.

    Such a waiver would be counter to the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries — Jackson’s mother and three children, a Jackson lawyer said.

    Despite the conflict, the judge ordered Briggs to answer questions posed by Katherine Jackson’s lawyers about the music catalog. He said although his valuation placed Jackson’s interest in the catalog at about the same level as Jackson’s debt at the time of his death — which he said was $400 million — the IRS challenged it as low.

    An independent analyst hired by the IRS concluded he had undervalued Jackson’s interest in the catalog by up to $300 million, Briggs testified.
    Jackson lawyers argue it is evidence the singer was not broke when he died, contrary to what Briggs said in his testimony.

    Briggs testified this week that it was his opinion that it was speculative that Jackson would have earned a dime more in his life if he had not died of a propofol overdose on June 25, 2009. He based his opinion the testimony of a doctor who said earlier that he did not think Jackson would have lived even another week past that date.

    Panish, however, pointed out that the doctor’s opinion was based on the assumption that Dr. Conrad Murray would still be giving Jackson nightly infusions of propofol — the surgical anesthetic the coroner said killed him — as a treatment for insomnia. The Jackson’s suit contends AEG Live is liable because it negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray.

    http://us.cnn.com/2013/08/01/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

    Like

  60. August 2, 2013 11:38 am

    “This evil liar Briggs seems to be an important figure in the assessment/undervaluation of MJ in the US – financially and personally. I wonder how much of Michael’s fate was based on his decisions when he underrated the Sony/ATV catalogue to such an extent.” – Susanne

    Susanne, I am afraid that this Briggs played too dramatic a role in Michael’s fate. Look at this article again though we’ve seen a hundred times. Now I look at it with different eyes:

    Barrack’s turn into entertainment investing began with a visit to Michael Jackson’s home in Las Vegas in 2008. Barrack had received a call from Tohme Tohme, a fellow Lebanese-American who had become Jackson’s business manager. Jackson hadn’t released a new album or done a world tour in years, but he had three significant assets: the Neverland property, the MiJac catalogue of his own music, and the enormous Sony/ATV catalogue, which included, among other songs, most of the Beatles’ oeuvre. Jackson was facing a crisis, Tohme said. The holder of $270 million in loans to Jackson was foreclosing on Neverland and planned to sell it in five days.

    Would Barrack meet with Jackson? “It’s so not Tom’s thing,” Lowe says. “Getting roped into spending half an hour with Michael Jackson in some weird house is just not on his agenda.”

    Somewhat grudgingly, Barrack arrived at Jackson’s fifties stucco rental on Palomino Lane. “Not one blade of grass,” Barrack says. “The house was old and musty.” The 1,000-plus-page Sony/ATV catalogue was on the table between them, and Barrack was quickly won over. “For sure, the guy is an absolute genius,” Barrack says. “He was remembering not just songs but every performance, every date, every script.”

    When it came to business matters, though, Jackson was lost. He knew only that if Neverland was foreclosed on as scheduled, it would trigger a cascade of financial devastation. For the past decade, he had repeatedly staved off financial reckoning by borrowing. Now he was out of options.

    As a rule, Barrack is drawn to distressed situations. One of his rules for success.

    Barrack had a relationship with the loan holder, Fortress, and was able to get an extension to give his Colony team time to crunch the numbers. They concluded that the only way to make a deal work would be for Jackson to start generating new revenue, which meant performing old material.

    Two days later, Barrack called Jackson. “I told him: ‘Where you are is an insolvable puzzle unless you’re willing to go back to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we can help, but if you’re not willing to do that, it’s just presiding over a funeral.’ ” At first, Jackson demurred. “He really had a hard time with that, and he struggled for about three days. Finally, he calls back and says, ‘You’re right, I’ll do it.’ ”

    Colony agreed to bail out Jackson; in return, the firm would take ownership of Neverland and arrange for AEG, the concert promoter owned by Barrack’s friend Phil Anschutz, to stage a comeback.

    Jackson moved into a gated $100,000-a-month mansion in Bel-Air to prepare for a run of 50 concerts in London that would relaunch his career. http://nymag.com/news/business/69782/index2.html

    So Briggs made a wrong estimation of MJ’s catalog for Fortress, Fortress shared the numbers with Colony Capital, they “crunched the numbers” and Barrack informed Michael that unless he started touring “they were presiding on a funeral”. Poor Michael! Even they say that he “had a really hard time with that and struggled for three days”. Then he came back and agreed.

    And now we learn that it was this clown Briggs who minimized the value of the catalog and triggered off this vicious chain? So they provided him with all those wrong figures, started all the pressure and then Tohme and Barrack forced MJ into a deal with AEG?

    The foreclosure note was bought by Barrack on May 11, 2008 and from then on all of them began to methodically use Michael for their needs. Tohme did one thing, Barrack another and AEG finished it off. The ultimate Greed of all those three took Michael to his grave.

    Like

  61. August 2, 2013 10:25 am

    Incredible how they chased him for 2 years and finally nailed him to sign a contract because they desperately wanted him for their O2 arena and other venues on the planet, then were overwhelmed by the success of the ticket sales, became megalomaniac and pressed him even harder to rehearse, hurry to get the show ready and increase the number of shows – and now they present him in court as an average performer with negative “likability” (1 : 7,4), who wasn’t able anymore to be successful and earn money and who couldn’t secure endorsements and sponsorships, who was even a RISK for his promoter. Why then did they do everything to get Michael for this tour? So far no one of the AEG camp explained this ridiculous discrepancy.

    This “Q” score data also turned out as a totally ridiculous thing. Panish finally could clarify by his questions that it consisted only of 1,800 or 1,400 interviewees only in the US!!! How ridiculous as evidence when they planned a tour mainly outside of the US and particularly started in London because they feared a bad reception in the US, and when everybody knows that Michael was nowhere seen as negative as in the US. They easily could have found sponsorships and endorsements on other continents.

    This evil liar Briggs seems to be an important figure in the assessment/undervaluation of MJ in the US – financially and personally. I wonder how much of Michael’s fate was based on his decisions when he underrated the Sony/ATV catalogue to such an extent.
    And now it turns out he also lied regarding the waiver from the Estate! (Thanks to Alan Duke for reporting this)
    I wonder what happens with this testimony now….

    Like

  62. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 7:05 am

    What a wonderful find those photos are, Helena!
    He looks vibrant. You can almost picture the old bounce and spring in his step which was missing closer to his death – in the way he holds himself and the warmth in his eyes.
    -alice

    Like

  63. Sina permalink
    August 2, 2013 6:55 am

    Michael Jackson estate denies allowing expert to help AEG Live

    By Alan Duke, CNN updated 7:17 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

    http://us.cnn.com/2013/08/01/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

    Like

  64. August 2, 2013 6:51 am

    “Ahahahaah you are so right, Helena. I love your angle for this post.” – Alice

    Alice, now I have changed the angle of the post. As the events evolve I realize that it is not a comedy but a drama.

    Now things are getting together and I absolutely insist that everyone looks up the photos I added to the post. All of them were made on May 22, 2008. Here is one of them – the source is a Romanian treasure trove of MJ’s photos: http://en.michaeljackson.ro/photo/christian-audigier-50th-birthday-party-22-mai-2008(359)

    It is exactly a year before Michael died. He looks perfectly fine here. Michael is attending the 50th birthday party of Christian Audigier.

    But though Michael is still looking great it is already at this moment that the future disaster is beginning. Tom Barrack and Tohme are already around Michael Jackson and both say that his financial situation is so desperate that he needs to go back on the stage and work.

    Tom Barrack’s financial advisors say to Michael that resuming tours is his only choice. Michael takes the news very hard. Barrack calls his friend Phil Anschutz of AEG and puts Michael and AEG together. This is how it started.

    And it is quite probable that it started with our jolly Eric Briggs wrongly evaluating Michael’s assets as too low to cover his debts.

    Like

  65. Sina permalink
    August 2, 2013 5:18 am

    “Companies are looking for safe bets, Briggs said. “They don’t want to take big risks with their products.”
    This is the most cynical of all AEG statements I have heard so far but very true. They dont take risks with their products , and a human life should not stand in the way.

    In general Life expectancy is higher with proper medical care . For Michael it was the opposite. Doctors made him sicker than better. They lived off him and were dependent on him , hence Kleins bancrupcy after Michael passed. But they made him believe he depended on them. Murray on AEGs command took it to the extreme.

    The defense is trying to erase the fact that no other doctor was charged for killing Michael Despite all of their imo unethical practices, it was Murray who comitted the crime and no one else.
    They want to call the former DA ,who in order to have a conviction made sure the case was limited to Murray and no other doctors and to involuntary manslaughter.
    It will be interesting to hear why they choose the strategy to rule out involvement of other doctors while AEG keeps on beating the dead horse.

    “Everyone knows that CD sales are not how artists make money anymore.
    It’s through touring, endorsement, collaboration, and a little bit of merchandise. And a heck of a lot of business behind the scenes in property, assets, publishing purchases, and also appearances on tv shows (hosting things like X factor, The Voice, etc). Most of which Michael already began waaaaaaay before it became the norm that we see today.
    He was ahead of the curve before it had even been drawn. When everyone else was still following that straight line down”- Alice

    Exactly .
    Michaels business plans over the last 10 years involved a diversity of projects and were definitely not limited to making music or performing.
    He knew the entertainment industry and knew how to spread business risk. When he was at his earning peek and could have retired, he bought the Beatles catalog .
    Michael lived quite modestly, most of his expenditure after Neverland was for rent, security and private tutors and paying off loans. He didn’t have fancy cars, yachts and all the show offs of the nouveau riche. I also think in his last years before AEG invaded his life ,he was getting more relaxed and seemed happy to be away from Hollywood. So sad he went back to the snake pit.

    Like

  66. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 4:05 am

    Hey again everyone🙂

    Sorry for flooding the comments like this, but I wanted to share what looks to be the second ‘official’ version of a Behind the Mask short film. Supposedly it was leaked yesterday and appeared on a fan’s (a fellow Aussie, Damien Shields) website first – I followed a link from TeamMJ’s twitter. It looks way too expensive to not be legitimate, but I just wonder what everyone thinks about the timing of this and what you think of the video in general.

    I’ll include a link to where it appears online as it’s already being taken down quickly everywhere else. I’m downloading a version of my own, too.

    Here is where I first saw it:
    http://www.damienshields.com/behind-the-mask-music-video-leaks-online/

    Something to note is that last night the version Damien had up was from vimeo. Now it is from youtube, so I expect the vimeo version has already been taken down.

    Here is where it appears on youtube:

    And I’ll try and embed it below:

    Fingers crossed you guys can still watch it.
    Love to hear everyone’s thoughts.
    -alice

    Like

  67. August 2, 2013 3:37 am

    Briggs should look at what the mega stars own now, from the oligarchs, and compare had Michael not been killed.-Did I read right that concerning life expectancy he didn´t consider Murray at all?

    Like

  68. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 1:17 am

    Hey Linda!

    “I guess they are stalking Zimmerman, and Kate’s new baby. Media makes me sic.”

    You’re totally right. The amount of coverage dedicated to that baby is insane.
    EVERY SINGLE women’s magazine in Australia had the same picture of Kate and the baby on the front after it was born. And you know something? I bet it was one of the worst performers for all of them in terms of sales. Over-saturation breeds contempt. Or at least it does for me.

    I know Australia is on the opposite side of the globe to America where this is all going down, but I can tell you guys this – there has hardly been a single scrap of media OR legitimate news coverage on the current trial over here. The last thing I remember reading was a ‘brief’ (20 words or less) in the entertainment section of a paper saying Michael would have earned more than $1billion if he hadn’t died. That was it. I don’t think they even attributed it to the case itself.

    Here our commercial media cycle (parading itself as ‘news’) consists of the following: reporting rumours as fact, generating responses from biased uneducated commentators to turn nothing into something, and presenting slanted angles on policies on human rights, health and environmental change. These slanted angles are igniting incredible division in the country that already disgusts me. But beyond that, it’s just royal babies this, and promotions that (yesterday’s television second lead story was interviews with models and celebrity endorsers at a shopping centre spring collection launch…followed by an ad for that shopping centre…), and an absolutely hideous amount of political spin and useless commentary on personalities in politics. ‘Prime minister cuts himself shaving’. I’m not kidding, that’s an actual headline that happened because of something our Prime Minister put on his Instagram.

    And people in the industry wonder why nobody buys newspapers anymore…
    -alice

    Like

  69. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 1:03 am

    Seems some of my post got deleted in my haste to send it through without proofreading! Sorry guys🙂

    This section:
    “I think Michael was actually at the perfect time in his career to earn the most with a world tour – but only if it wasn’t under AEG and their gross mismanagement. Briggs’ so-called ‘likeability’ scale is an absolute insult to the”

    should continue as:

    Briggs’s so-called ‘likeability’ scale is an absolute insult to the fan community and to Michael. It also damages AEG’s own reputation for having so desperately sought to work with Michael in the first place. If he was so ‘unlikeable’ why try twice to win him over?
    And ‘no agreement beyond 50 shows’ is somehow an indicator that he would not do a world tour? Yeah, well, look how well agreeing to 10 shows in London worked out for Michael. And if the whole point of entering this shady blackmailing deal between Colony and AEG was done (so Michael was told) to earn him enough money to buy Neverland back and pay off his debts, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that he would endeavour to do enough shows (ie, world tour) to earn that money? Ugh. This claim just further discredits the whole deal itself.

    I also wanted to include comment on this:

    RE:
    “Briggs said Mr. Erk specified album unit sales for five of MJ’s albums. “It also showed a significant decline,” Briggs said.”

    I bet if you did a side-by-side comparison of Michael’s album sales across the years to other artists he would still be a top earner. ALL album sales have been in decline for many years. There’s this great thing called the internet and illegally downloading and pirating music that people have been doing for a while now, Briggs, haven’t you heard?

    Everyone knows that CD sales are not how artists make money anymore.
    It’s through touring, endorsement, collaboration, and a little bit of merchandise. And a heck of a lot of business behind the scenes in property, assets, publishing purchases, and also appearances on tv shows (hosting things like X factor, The Voice, etc). Most of which Michael already began waaaaaaay before it became the norm that we see today.
    He was ahead of the curve before it had even been drawn. When everyone else was still following that straight line down. Assessing the net value of an artist in today’s market and predicting their growing worth is something that goes beyond cd sales, ticket sales and merch. That stuff is just chicken feed. But I guess when you’re dealing with turkeys like AEG, it makes sense…
    -alice

    Like

  70. Linda permalink
    August 2, 2013 12:48 am

    AEG just keeps digging a deeper hole for themselves, lol. Aren’t they suppose to start off with their strongest witnesses? If these are it, they are really in trouble, because these guys are total idiots. This trial is starting to remind me of Michael’s 2005 trial with the Arvizo’s and Sneddon, except I’m not seeing near as much MEDIA coverage this time. Where are they now?

    I guess they are stalking Zimmerman, and Kate’s new baby. Media makes me sic.

    Like

  71. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 12:44 am

    Something else I’m picking out of Briggs’ testimony…

    RE:
    “Briggs said the highest grossing tour ever is U2 360 Show, which generated $736 million in ticket sales and merchandise.
    Tour Gross Revenues: Tickets/Merchandise
    1- U2: $736 million
    2- Rolling Stones: $558 million
    3- AC/DC: $441 million
    4- Madonna: $408 million
    Briggs said what’s actually received by the artist is much smaller that the gross number and it is based on the expenses of the tour.”

    Okay, so we know those numbers are not what the artists actually end up with.
    But do they include endorsements?? Briggs specifies they are only ticket sales and merchandise. But endorsements are probably one of the most lucrative deals beyond tickets and merchandising. This is certainly the case in sports. I remember Anna Kournikova was once the highest-earning female tennis player in the game. But she never even made it to a grand final (that may even be a semi-final, I’m pretty sure, but I’m a bit rusty on that era of the game). All her money came solely from endorsements.

    To follow:

    RE:
    “Strong asked Briggs how AEG’s 2009 Budget compare. Erk projected $1.65 billion for 260 shows tour, he answered.
    Clearly this is in excess of anything we’ve ever seen in the history around the world, Briggs opined.
    Briggs said Mr. Erk was projecting $900 million to be paid to MJ as net for tickets, endorsements and merchandising.”

    Briggs condemns Erk for including endorsements into his projections. But Erk’s inclusions of endorsements are precisely what make them both larger and more correct in terms of the artist’s worth and earnings. AEG probably just don’t even bother or want to consider the idea of endorsements because that is money they get the least of. Plus there’s also the point that they had not started negotiating for endorsements AT ALL right up until Michael’s death for This Is It. Maybe this is why they do not want to start getting into the specifics of WHAT makes their figures differ from Erk’s, beyond Briggs’ incompetence and lack of research? Because they don’t know and cannot reveal answers to how much Michael stood to earn from endorsements during This Is It in isolation – because they hadn’t even bothered to start the proceeds for such agreements when he was alive. Which begs the question – WHY NOT?

    I think Michael was actually at the perfect time in his career to earn the most with a world tour – but only if it wasn’t under AEG and their gross mismanagement. Briggs’ so-called ‘likeability’ scale is an absolute insult to the

    He was at a time when the widest span of his fans existed – those older than him when he first hit the scene would still be around, those the same age as him who grew up with him would still be around, and those younger than him were now old enough to go to his concerts also. He had all demographics and all age groups. In terms of making money, and if Murray, Barrack and AEG had not been in the mix to cause his death, Michael was at his absolute peak to be the central performer and earner for himself in a world tour.

    From there, the world was his. He could make movies, make hospitals, make anything he wanted. Create happiness and beauty and excitement for many years to come.
    -alice

    Like

  72. alice permalink
    August 2, 2013 12:00 am

    ” “Nobody goes to India,” he said. He later acknowledged that Jackson performed there during his HIStory tour.

    “It’s not a very big market,” Meglin said of India, which is home to about 1.25 billion people.”

    LOL.

    Ahahahaah you are so right, Helena. I love your angle for this post. Who knew such comedic genius lay inside the bodies of these bloated, self-important big-wigs?
    -alice

    Like

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