Jackson's mother blames promoter for not helping 'sick' son

LOS ANGELES Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:59pm EDT

A courtroom sketch depicting the testimony of Katherine Jackson, mother of late pop star Michael Jackson, is pictured during Katherine Jackson's negligence suit against AEG Live at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, California July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mona Edwards

A courtroom sketch depicting the testimony of Katherine Jackson, mother of late pop star Michael Jackson, is pictured during Katherine Jackson's negligence suit against AEG Live at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, California July 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mona Edwards

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The mother of late pop star Michael Jackson testified Friday in her wrongful death lawsuit that concert promoter AEG Live failed to get her son proper medical attention when he became sick while preparing for a comeback tour in 2009.

Katherine Jackson, 83, broke down when recalling the death of her famous son and later asked to suspend her testimony after growing distressed under cross-examination. It was the first time Jackson had taken the stand in the trial in which she and Michael's children are suing AEG Live.

The "Thriller" singer died at age 50 in June 2009 in Los Angeles from an overdose of surgical anesthetic propofol while preparing for a series of shows in London.

The lawsuit alleges that AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray as his personal physician. Murray was caring for the singer as he rehearsed for the shows and the doctor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for administering the propofol that killed Jackson.

Katherine Jackson's testimony on Friday ranged from a tearful recollection of learning her son had died to accounts of her family's humble beginnings in a four-room house in Gary, Indiana. She described Michael as a musically inclined baby who wanted to dance with his brothers.

Under cross-examination from AEG attorney Marvin Putnam, she grew frustrated and confused and ultimately asked to stop shortly after a lunch break. She returns to the stand on Monday.

When Putnam asked why she filed the lawsuit in 2010, she responded: "I want to find out what happened to my son."

"My son was being pressured," she added. "He asked for his father. My son was sick. Nobody said 'Call the doctor. What's wrong with him?' Nobody said that."

When Putnam said he did have a doctor, Jackson said: "My son needed another doctor, an outside doctor, not Dr. Murray."

Katherine Jackson's lawyer, Brian Panish, said later that his client had slept only three hours and accused the defense counsel of trying to mock her.

"If they want to continue to attack her, bring it on," Panish told reporters.

Michael Jackson had shown signs of physical distress as he prepared for his planned 50-date comeback concert "This Is It." Kenny Ortega, who was to direct the shows, has said that less than a week before Jackson's death, he turned up at rehearsals chilled, incoherent and psychologically troubled.

AEG Live has said it did not hire or supervise Murray and argues that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems for years before entering into any agreement with the company. AEG Live representatives have said they could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.

'MR JACKSON WAS SICK'

The Jackson family matriarch has been a courtroom fixture since the trial began in late April, but said she was nervous on the stand because it was her first time testifying before a jury. She had also faithfully attended nearly all the hearings during the criminal trial of Murray.

Dressed in a purple print dress and purple jacket, Jackson told the court repeatedly that it was hard to sit there every day and listen to "to all the bad things they say about my son."

"All I heard was that he was lazy. Mr. Jackson was sick and couldn't rehearse," she said.

Jackson said she was very close to her son and that she depended on him financially at the time of his death. He fixed up the family house, gave her cash, cars and other gifts. "Michael took care of me," she told the court.

Jackson's will named Katherine Jackson and his three children as his only beneficiaries.

Jackson said she was unaware that her son had abused medication and that "sometimes the mother is the last to know." The family had a reunion in May 2009, and she said Michael had looked "OK."

"Then I saw he was thinner. I didn't notice at first because of how he was dressed. He had a jacket on," she said.

Michael's oldest son, Prince, 16, has already testified. The younger children Paris, 15, and 11-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, were not expected to testify. Michael's nephews T.J. and Taj Jackson, sons of brother Tito Jackson, have testified.

The family testimony has opened a window into Michael Jackson's character and his final days, in which they said he was a happy family man.

The trial, which started in April and was supposed to last three months, is expected to wrap up in September.

(Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (14)
rcc512 wrote:
It’s everybody’s fault but your own Katherine Jackson. The fact is that Michael was a drug addict for years. Who’s fault was that? Humm, lets see, Maybe your it was Joe’s fault! Nah, couldn’t be him because you can’t sue Joe. Maybe it was his siblings fault! Nah, they are as screwed up as Michael was. Maybe it was dare I say it? Your fault! Nah, your his innocent mother that has always stayed in the background and your husband beat the crap out of your children. Okay so we have pretty much ruled out your entire messed up family. Wait a minute, I think I have figured it out. How about Michael? Yes, that’s it. He was the idiot that overdosed himself. He asked for the drugs. He hired Conrad Murray to administer the drugs. He liked to have little boys sleep over and play fun games with Jesus Juice. I am sorry Kathrine that you and your perverted sick family doesn’t have your piggy bank anymore. But I am sure that the public is getting tried of all your crap. Oh one more thing, Tell Prince Michael that he can’t act and riding on the coat tails of his “Father” is just plain stupid.

Jul 19, 2013 6:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SameOldGame wrote:
Oh, blame the promoter and not yourself ??? You sucked off your son “FINANCIALLY” for decades but blame everyone else for his taking drugs, declining into depression and becoming a deviate. So typical for a slug family !

Jul 19, 2013 6:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
That is sooo awesome that the king of pop needed the person who promoted him to do babysitting / day care services for him too… If I’d know he was such an incompetent I wouldn’t have bought his records. His mom let the cat out of the bag tooo late for my wallet, lets see if she can make hers bigger with a lawsuit.

Jul 19, 2013 6:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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