|Defense Witness Helps Prosecution|
(26-10-2011) Defense attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray had hoped AEG boss Randy Phillips would bolster their theory that Michael Jackson was filled with anxiety and desperate as he approached his concert series in London. Instead, Phillips detailed plans for the upcoming concerts and described a confident, excited Jackson.
For two hours on Tuesday, Phillips walked jurors through "This Is It," Jackson's planned concert series, from its beginnings in a Bel-Air hotel suite to a final rehearsal at Staples Center. A rehersal that he said left him with goose bumps and his star performer with great confidence.
"He put his hands on my shoulders as we were walking out and he said to me, 'You got me here, now I'm ready. I can take it from here.' And that's the last [time] I saw him," Phillips recalled.
The defense was hoping that Phillips' testimony would help beef up their claim that Jackson was riddled with anxiety and gave himself the lethal dose of propofol in a desperate attempt to sleep before critical rehearsals.
But Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor prohibited questions about many of the areas the defense had planned to probe, and the answers Phillips gave often were at odds with their theory of Jackson as fearful and anxious and the production as deeply troubled.
"No one on our end was ever contemplating pulling the plug," Phillips insisted.
The "This Is It" concerts had the potential to make Jackson - who was in debt to the tune of $400 million by some estimates - a very rich man. But if the concerts failed, they would have sunk Jackson to new levels of insolvency.
In order to make the concerts happen, AEG was paying for everything in Jackson's life, from his rented Holmby Hills mansion to his personal chef, as well as the huge expense of mounting the high-tech concert series that was to include multiple sets, Jackson catapulting over the crowd and several 3-D elements. If he failed to perform, Jackson would have to reimburse AEG more than $30 million, according to the defense.
Judge Pastor, however ruled that the 42-page contract would distract and confuse the jury and barred the defense from asking Phillips about the details of it.
Phillips said "This Is It" grew out of a 2008 phone call from Philip Anschutz, the billionaire head of AEG Live's parent company. Anschutz asked him to meet with Century City financier Tom Barrack, whose company had recently purchased the note on Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
Jackson said achieving stability for his children was his motivating factor for performing again, Phillips testified.
"The primary reason was that he wanted to finally settle down and get a really, really good home for the kids and his family so they weren't, in his words, living like vagabonds," Phillips said.
Phillips said Jackson's children were present in the Hotel Bel-Air suite when he had that meeting with Jackson in October 2008 and they were wearing Halloween costumes as they played. Phillips said the discussion about securing them a home "got emotional" and both he and Jackson teared up.
The defense has suggested that Jackson was forced by Phillips and AEG into more shows than he could handle, but Phillips denied that, saying that 31 shows were always planned from the beginning and that Jackson agreed to 19 additional concerts "in 20 minutes."
His only conditions were that Phillips get the Guinness Book of World Records to document his 50th show and rent him a country home outside of London where his children could have room to run and play without being cooped up in a hotel room.
"He was very specific. He wanted 16-plus acres, running streams, horses," Phillips said. "He wanted to give them [his children] a pastoral country vibe."
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|19/5/1970||The Jackson 5 hold their first major concert as Motown artists at the LA Forum in California (USA). They played to a crowd of 18,000 people.|