Jackson's former director recalled the singer's deteriorating physical and mental health.
Kenny Ortega, the director, who worked with Michael Jackson on his planned This Is It tour, took the stand this week to testify in Katherine Jackson’s wrongful death suit against concert promoter AEG. His testimony was emotional filled with personal details about the singer, such as Ortega’s claim that the last few times he saw the singer, he was “frightened” at the sight.
Jackson was noticeably frail in his final days.
During his Wednesday testimony, Ortega told the jury that at the time, he didn’t think Michael was well enough to continue rehearsals. He recalled Jackson’s peculiar behavior and speculated that the performer had been under chemical influence during at least four rehearsals. Ortega also shared the observation that this delirious behavior tended to follow visits to the doctor.
But Ortega went into chilling intimate details about his condition.
He recalled a session six days before Jackson’s eventual death, during which the singer seemed to be called, shivered and appeared lost, CNN reports. His condition reportedly improved over the course of the night, but Ortega was still convinced that he was in no state to rehearse. According to Ortega’s testimony, he tried to reach out to Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray first, and then to AEG and Jackson’s parents. He recalled that Murray reassured him during a meeting on the following day, that the King of pop was in good enough shape to continue performing. Murray has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and is serving a four year sentence. This lawsuit is against AEG, as Katherine Jackson $40 billion from the company.
The trial might be set to drag on for a while longer.