Prince Jackson, Michael Jackson’s eldest son, recalled the moment Dr. Conrad Murray informed him of his father’s death.
Prince Jackson, 16, took to the stand for the first time in the Jackson family’s wrongful death lawsuit against AEG in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
He told the court Conrad Murray simply said: “Sorry kids. Dad’s dead.”
Prince Jackson is a witness in a lawsuit claiming AEG negligently hired Conrad Murray, the doctor who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Michael Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
According to TMZ, Prince Jackson was in the lounge room of the family’s Holmby Hills mansion when his father went into cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009.
He recalled hearing screams and Conrad Murray called him upstairs. Prince Jackson said his father was “half hanging out of the bed” while the doctor was trying to resuscitate him.
Prince Jackson said his sister Paris, 15, who is being treated following a suicide attempt earlier this month, suffered the most in the wake of their father’s death.
He recalled she screamed that she “wanted her daddy” while Conrad Murray was performing CPR.
Prince Jackson said: “She was my dad’s princess. She definitely is dealing with [his death] in her own way.”
He also revealed his father was excited about going back on tour before his death but wasn’t happy about the terms of the ill-fated shows.
Prince Jackson told jurors his father wanted more time to rehearse and had several tense phone conversations with promoters of his This Is It shows that sometimes ended with his father in tears.
The teen said his father remarked after one of the conversations: “They’re going to kill me,” but he did not elaborate.
Prince Jackson recalled the moment Dr. Conrad Murray informed him of his father’s death
AEG denies it hired the physician or bears any responsibility for the entertainer’s death.
Prince Jackson testified that he saw AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips at the family’s rented mansion in a heated conversation with Conrad Murray in the days before his father died. The teenager said he saw Randy Phillips grabbing Conrad Murray’s elbow.
Randy Phillips “looked aggressive to me”, Prince Jackson testified.
Michael Jackson wasn’t at home at the time and was probably at rehearsals, Prince said.
For the first time, the teenage publicly provided details about the day his father died. Prince Jackson testified that he saw Conrad Murray performing CPR on his father, who was hanging halfway off a bed.
It appeared his father’s eyes were rolled up in the back of his head, Prince Jackson told jurors.
Prince Jackson’s eyes appeared red as he recalled being told by Conrad Murray at a hospital that his father was dead.
The testimony began with the teenager showing jurors roughly 15 minutes of private family photos and home videos.
He described growing up on Neverland Ranch and showed the panel videos of the property’s petting zoos and other amenities. After his father’s acquittal of child molestation charges, Prince Jackson described living in the Middle East, Ireland and Las Vegas.
Prince Jackson told the jury that his father was always working, but his children had no idea he was a global superstar.
“We always listened to his music, but we never knew how famous he was,” he said.
Prince Jackson said he and his sister Paris watched a video of one of their father’s performances and got a sense of his fame when overwhelmed fans were carried from his shows on stretchers.
He is the first Jackson family member to testify during the trial, now in its ninth week. Attorneys have said TJ Jackson, who serves a co-guardian to Prince and his siblings, and Taj Jackson, are also expected to take the witness stand. They are the sons of Tito Jackson.
Prince Jackson, his sister Paris and brother Blanket are plaintiffs in the case against AEG, which their grandmother and primary caretaker filed in August 2010.
In court, Prince Jackson wore a black suit with a dark grey tie with his long brown hair tucked behind his ears. He spoke softly as he began testifying, and the first exhibit shown to jurors was a photo taken with their grandmother on his and Paris’ first day of school.
He described his school life, including taking a summer course in U.S. history, participating on the school’s robotics team and volunteer work.
Another image shown to jurors was Michael Jackson playing piano with his son while Prince was still an infant or toddler.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Brian Panish asked Prince Jackson whether he was interested in pursuing a career in music.
“I can never play an instrument and I definitely cannot sing,” Prince Jackson said to laughter from the jury.
He said he wanted to study film or business when he goes to college.
Prince Jackson said he helped attorneys pick out the videos and photos shown in court.
Michael Jackson sheltered his children from the public eye while he was alive, often obscuring their faces while out in public. The children have been more public in recent years, appearing at a star-studded memorial service and other events honoring their father.
Paris Jackson, 15, had also been expected to testify during the case but was hospitalized last month and her status as a witness remained unclear. Attorneys for AEG played a snippet of her videotaped deposition last week, and more of her testimony may be played for the jury later in the trial.
Blanket Jackson, 11, is not expected to testify.
The jury of six men and six women has learned numerous details about Michael Jackson’s role as a father during the case. They’ve heard about a secret trip to a movie weeks before Michael Jackson’s death, a private circus he hired for Paris’ 11th birthday, and Blanket’s interest in his father’s dance rehearsals.
The trial is expected to last several more weeks.
AEG Live’s CEO Randy Phillips claimed in court on Wednesday that Michael Jackson was “desperately broke” before his ill-fated This Is It comeback tour.
Randy Phillips made the claims as he testified for a sixth day at Michael Jackson’s wrongful death trial in a Los Angeles on Wednesday.
He told of an emotional Halloween meeting with Michael Jackson at a hotel where the singer claimed “they were living like vagabonds”.
Randy Phillips added: “He actually broke down and I broke down. We both broke down.
“He got emotional. He teared up about his family and having a good life with them and a place to live and a residence they could call their own.
“I felt incredibly bad that this incredible star was at the point where he just couldn’t buy a house with all this money he made. It just didn’t make sense.”
Randy Phillips also told AEG attorney Marvin Putnam: “It was the first time Michael really told me why he wanted to go back to work.”
Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children are suing the concert promoter, alleging it negligently hired, retained or supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the singer’s 2009 death.
Meanwhile Randy Phillips also told jurors he knew Michael Jackson as a sophisticated, forceful businessman and not the drugged-up performer who’s been described throughout an ongoing civil trial filed over the singer’s untimely death.
Michael Jackson was a far more complex figure than has been portrayed during the trial of a case filed by Katherine Jackson against AEG Live over her son’s death, said Randy Philips, the company’s president and CEO.
Michael Jackson was desperately broke before This Is It Tour, promoter Randy Phillips claims in court
Randy Phillips said based on meetings he had with Michael Jackson in 2008 and early 2009, he found the singer to be a “sophisticated man who had control of his life”.
The portrait of Michael Jackson that’s been presented to the jury during the seven-week trial has been inaccurate, Randy Phillips said.
Michael Jackson was described by both sides in opening statements as struggling with prescription drug addiction throughout his life.
Randy Phillips said he disagreed with the descriptions of Michael Jackson “because he’s been presented as drug-addled 5-year-old. That was not the man I dealt with. The man I dealt with was forceful. Kind, but determined. He was a force”.
Jurors have been presented with conflicting accounts of Michael Jackson, even from Randy Philips. They will have to weigh the different portrayals when they decide who is liable for the singer’s June 2009 death.
Katherine Jackson’s lawyers contend AEG failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing her son’s death, pushing her son too hard to perform and missed warning signs of his health.
AEG, however, contends Michael Jackson hid his addiction to the powerful anesthetic propofol and that the company could not have foreseen that the singer’s doctor was giving him the drug as a sleep aid.
Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake in the negligent hiring trial.
Randy Phillips said he didn’t see signs that Michael Jackson was struggling with prescription drugs when he met with the entertainer to discuss options for his This Is It comeback concerts scheduled for London’s O2 Arena in 2009. He has also told jurors that Michael Jackson never told him he was having trouble sleeping.
The executive has described the superstar as difficult to work with, often changing managers and ideas about what he wanted creatively.
In testimony later on Wednesday, Randy Phillips described having to coax Michael Jackson to a London press conference in March 2009 to announce his concerts.
Michael Jackson was a couple of hours late, appeared hung over and was concerned no one would want to see him perform.
“He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time,” Randy Phillips wrote his boss that day.
He testified that he just wanted to get through the event and forget it ever happened.
The six-man, six-woman jury has been shown numerous emails throughout the trial in which high-level tour workers expressed concerns about Michael Jackson’s health, his weight, and whether he was ready for the shows.
Many of the concerns were voiced by tour director Kenny Ortega, who Randy Phillips at one point told not to attempt to serve as an amateur doctor or psychiatrist.
Randy Phillips acknowledged earlier this week that statements he wrote to Kenny Ortega about Michael Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, were untrue.
Among those statements were Randy Phillips’ assertions that AEG Live had checked out Conrad Murray, and that the deeply indebted physician didn’t need the job.
Conrad Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving Michael Jackson a lethal dose of propofol. He is not a defendant in the civil case, although AEG Live lawyers said early they intend to call the former cardiologist as a witness.
Randy Phillips, head of concert promoters AEG Live, has admitted in court in Los Angeles he believes a legal action filed by Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine is a “baseless extortion” attempt.
Katherine Jackson, 83, claims AEG Live failed to investigate the doctor who was later convicted of causing Michael Jackson’s death in 2009.
AEG Live is being sued for $40 billion.
Randy Phillips says AEG bear no responsibility for Michael Jackson’s death.
When asked on Tuesday by Katherine Jackson’s lawyer whether he thought the case was a “baseless extortion, a shakedown of AEG Live”, Randy Phillips answered: “Yes.”
It is likely Randy Phillips will be asked about numerous emails he sent and received about Michael Jackson’s health in the final weeks of the singer’s life, as well as any interactions he had with his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.
Katherine Jackson is accused of extortion by AEG Live’s Randy Phillips
AEG Live claims it was not responsible for the hire or supervision of the doctor and has called the legal action “preposterous”.
AEG also denies hiring Dr. Conrad Murray and agreeing to pay his fee as an advance to Michael Jackson.
Conrad Murray agreed to serve as Michael Jackson’s doctor for $150,000 a month while he performed shows at London’s 02 Arena in 2009 and early 2010.
The physician was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter after supplying Michael Jackson with a surgical anaesthetic.
The civil trial is now in its sixth week.
Internal emails sent by the promoters of Michael Jackson’s planned 2009 comeback concerts saw them voice concerns over his stability and health.
In one email, sent the day Michael Jackson appeared in London to announce his This Is It shows, he was described as “an emotionally paralyzed mess”.
“[Jackson] is locked in his room drunk and despondent,” AEG’s Randy Phillips told company president Tim Leiweke.
The message was in 250 pages of emails obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Internal emails sent by the promoters of Michael Jackson's planned 2009 comeback concerts saw them voice concerns over his stability and health
Randy Phillips told his boss he would try to “sober him [Jackson] up” ahead of a press conference at the 02 arena on 5 March, 2009.
Michael Jackson eventually made a five-minute appearance that day in front of hundreds of screaming fans, 90 minutes later than scheduled.
Lawyers for AEG said most of the correspondence was produced as discovery in ongoing litigation and did not give a complete picture of events.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the emails are likely to feature in two legal actions set to come to trial next year.
Lloyd’s of London, the shows’ insurers, are seeking to nullify a $17.5 million policy, claiming AEG made false claims about Jackson’s health and readiness to perform.
In a separate action, Michael Jackson’s heirs have accused the Anschutz Entertainment Group of pressuring the singer to carry on with the comeback despite indications he was too weak.
Numerous emails show Lloyd’s of London unsuccessfully seeking access to five years of Michael Jackson’s medical records.
A Lloyd’s underwriter wrote that repeated requests for written records were “always” met “with no response”.
Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol.
Last November his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of his involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in jail.