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“Never in a million years did I think he would leave us”: Jacksons v AEG update

By | Published on Tuesday 14 May 2013

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was ready to go for his planned ‘This Is It’ residency in London, a choreographer who worked on the show told an LA court yesterday. Countering previous testimonies from witnesses who admitted that they feared for Jackson’s wellbeing in the final days of his life, Stacy Walker told the court: “I just never in a million years thought he would leave us, or pass away. It just never crossed my mind”.

As much previously reported, the Jackson family is suing AEG Live claiming the live firm should be held liable for the death of the late king of pop in 2009, because as the promoter of ‘This Is It’ it was paying and managing Conrad Murray, the doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for causing the singer’s demise through negligent treatment. AEG says that while it may have paid Murray, it didn’t recruit or manager him.

After early testimonies from those who responded to the emergency call on 25 Jun 2009, last week attention in the court case turned to those working with Jackson on preparations for ‘This Is It’ in LA, with most witnesses recalling how the singer seemed in bad health in the days and weeks before his death, and how concerns had been raised, but that AEG bosses said they were satisfied with assurances from Jackson and Murray that all was fine.

But Walker, the first witness called to the stand by AEG Live’s legal team, rather than the Jackson family’s lawyers, said that the singer hadn’t appeared to be in a bad way to her when he attended ‘This Is It’ rehearsals. He had been wearing multiple layers of clothing, she had noted, but she had assumed that was a personal fashion preference, whereas others have said it was because an ailing Jackson was feeling very cold.

Walker conceded that her role at the ‘This Is It’ rehearsals meant that she wasn’t in as close contact with Jackson as the earlier witnesses, though for AEG’s legal team that is probably a positive.

While those very close to Jackson may have witnessed the singer’s ailing health in the last weeks of his life, AEG will want the jury to see that the live firm’s executives, who had much less contact with the star, couldn’t have been expected to see that themselves. And when concerns were raised by those close to the singer, Jackson and Murray fooled said execs into believing all was fine, they will likely argue.

Walker’s testimony contrasted with that of make-up artist Karen Faye, who had worked with Jackson for nearly three decades, and who told the court she feared for the singer’s mental and physical wellbeing as the ‘This Is It’ preparations progressed. In the latter part of her testimony last week she was asked about the ‘This Is It’ movie, which AEG released after Jackson’s death showing preparations for the big live show that never was.

Faye said that she’d been asked to advise on the retouching of the film to make Jackson look healthier in some key shots. “It was a lie”, she said, according to CNN, adding that she declined to help. “I didn’t want to lie. Everybody was lying after he died, saying that Michael was well, and everybody knew he wasn’t. I felt that retouching Michael was just a part of that lie”.

The case continues.