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Murray defence want to see all ‘This Is It’ rehearsal footage

By | Published on Friday 17 June 2011

Conrad Murray

It may be very nearly two years since Michael Jackson died, but still the legal squabbles continue.

Lawyers for Sony Pictures are fighting demands by lawyers representing Dr Conrad Murray to hand over about 100 hours of video footage from the rehearsals for Jackson’s ill-fated ‘This Is It’ shows, ie the footage that didn’t make it into the behind the scenes movie of the same name, which was released by Sony’s movie company after striking a deal with AEG Live and the MJ estate.

The prosecution in the manslaughter case against the Doc – who is, of course, accused of causing Jackson’s death by negligently administering the drug propofol – are expected to show clips from the ‘This Is It’ movie to show that the late king of pop was in good health in the weeks before his untimely death, despite reports to the contrary at the time.

But the Murray defence note that when Sony Pictures secured the rights to turn ‘This Is It’ rehearsal footage into a movie the company was committed by contract to only use clips that showed Jackson is a good light. Defence lawyers reckon that if they can get their hands on other unused footage they could back up their argument that the singer was actually very ill prior to his death.

Sony Pictures is fighting efforts by the Murray defence to force it to hand over the footage, arguing that said film is incredibly valuable to the company, and may be used for later Jacko-related projects, and that if it is handed over to third parties it may well leak onto the internet. Or, if any of it is shown in court, then that content will then be in the public domain. The film studio also says that the Murray camp’s demand – for all footage – is too wide-ranging.

But the court overseeing the Murray trial seems prone to give the defence team access to the raw cuts of Sony’s Jackson documentary. According to CNN, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor conceded this week that the unused ‘This Is It’ footage would likely be “useful” to defence lawyers, and told Sony Pictures to discuss with Murray’s legal team how it might give them access to it. Sony and Team Murray have a week to sort out a method acceptable to both sides.

The Conrad Murray trial is due to kick off in September. Meanwhile, a new bit of civil litigation relating to Jacko has begun. The pop star’s father, Joe Jackson, has done a deal with French perfumier Franck Rouas to launch two MJ branded fragrances, one for men and one for women, to be called Jackson’s Tribute For Men and Jackson’s Legend For Women respectively. But Universal’s merchandising company Bravado says the new smelly products breach its agreement with the Michael Jackson estate, which gives it exclusive rights to make MJ branded goods.

Bravado has sued through the LA courts, with its lawsuit alleging that Joe Jackson and Franck Rouas are “unlicensed distributors who have been using the Michael Jackson trademark and/or a mark confusing similar thereto”. They want an injunction to ban the launch of the perfumes and $150K in damages.

Joe, needless to say, isn’t impressed. He told reporters: “They can say whatever they want. I am the father, [Michael] was my son and I can decide what to do on his behalf and in his honour. There are many interests around the legacy of my son, companies that want everything, but I have a foundation that allows me to launch projects with his name, the name of my son”.

Finally in Jacko news, for now, and La Toya Jackson will mark the aforementioned second anniversary of her late brother’s death by releasing a book next week in which she will further the conspiracy theories that Michael Jackson was murdered. Good times.