LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of the company promoting Michael Jackson‘s ill-fated comeback concerts told jurors Thursday that he never consulted a mental health professional to help the singer despite two high-level show workers suggesting it was necessary.
AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips testified about emails he sent and received in the week before Jackson’s death, including a production manager’s characterization that the entertainer’s condition was “deteriorating.”
Phillips is testifying in a negligent hiring case filed by Jackson’s mother against AEG Live LLC, claiming the company failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of giving her son a lethal dose of an anesthetic. Her lawyers also contend that Phillips and AEG Live executives ignored signs of Jackson’s poor health and pushed the entertainer to perform.
Emails displayed to jurors hearing the case show that Phillips told Jackson’s business manager he believed the singer might have breached his contract by missing rehearsals. The email was sent June 20, 2009, five days before the “Thriller” singer died from an overdose of propofol.
“And I thought it couldn’t get worse,” the business manager, Michael Kane, responded. Phillips said Kane had been seeking a $1 million advance for Jackson against the earnings of his “This Is It” shows.
Phillips’ email to Kane came hours after the tour director, Kenny Ortega, and production manager, John Hougdahl, emailed Phillips telling them that Jackson was in such a poor emotional state that he couldn’t rehearse that night and had to be sent home.
“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks,” Hougdahl wrote. “He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried it now.”
According to Hougdahl, Jackson said earlier that night after watching a pyrotechnics demonstration, “You aren’t going to kill the artist, are you?”
He wrote to Phillips that the entertainer, whose scalp was badly burned while shooting a Pepsi commercial in 1984, didn’t appear to be referring to the fireworks.
In a later email, Hougdahl told Phillips he believed Jackson needed a mental examination. “My layman’s degree tells me he needs a shrink to get him mentally prepared to get him prepared to get on stage,” he wrote.
Ortega also wrote to Phillips hours later, urging that Jackson get some psychological help.
Earlier that night, Jackson had been “trembling, rambling and obsessive,” according to Ortega, who wrote to Phillips that the singer seemed unable to rehearse due to “real emotional stuff.”
Phillips has yet to testify about a meeting he had with Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray.
Jackson died before signing Murray’s $150,000-a-month contract to accompany him for 50 shows planned at London’s O2 Arena. AEG denies it hired Murray, and several of its executives have testified that the former physician’s fee would have been deducted from Jackson’s earnings for the “This Is It” shows.
Phillips is the highest-ranking AEG Live executive to testify in the trial, which has concluded its sixth week. He denied Thursday that he ever threatened Jackson over missed rehearsals.
“We would have never dealt with Michael that way,” he said.
He also rejected the idea that he was responsible for Jackson’s health.
“I’m not responsible for his medical needs,” Phillips said. “We’re promoters — that’s what we do.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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