Emails displayed in trial show promoters' lawyers discussing the late singer
A lawyer for concert promoters AEG Live called Michael Jackson a “freak” on the day the late singer signed a multimillion contract to perform a series of comeback concerts, emails shown in court yesterday (May 22) show.
Billboard reports the emails were presented by Brian Parnish, the attorney for Jackson’s mother Katherine in her lawsuit claiming AEG was negligent in hiring the personal physician who was later convicted of killing the pop superstar. She also claims AEG ignored signs that he was in poor health and pushed Jackson too hard.
The emails show a conversation between AEG Live’s General Counsel Shawn Trell and his boss Ted Fikre. The messages were sent on January 28, 2009, five months before Jackson’s death and discuss the This Is It shows that were due to be performed in London later that year. In them, Trell told Fikre he was going to Jackson’s home to sign he contracts for the series of dates. Fikre responded: “Does this mean you’ll get to meet the freak?”
“Apparently. Not sure how I feel about that. Interesting for sure, but kind of creepy,” Trell reportedly said in his reply.
Outside of court Panish discussed the emails, saying: “That email just exemplifies that AEG had no respect for Mr. Jackson. All he was was a vehicle to make money and to promote their concert business to catch up with Live Nation.”
Jessica Stebbins Bina, one of AEG’s trial defense lawyers said the emails were shown to embarrass the company while Marvin S. Putnam, the attorney leading AEG’s defense, said: “We are four weeks into trial and we have yet to hear one piece of substantive evidence.”
The trial began last month (April 29) and is due to continue for three months. It was previously reported that Jackson’s children Prince, 16, and Paris, 14, are due to appear at the stand, along with Diana Ross, Lisa-Marie Presley and Quincy Jones.