Jackson's 'Brando' Tapes Heard In Court
MICHAEL JACKSON allegedly demanded huge sums of money from former business associate MARC SCHAFFEL in a bid to work on a video collaboration with MARLON BRANDO, according to tapes heard in a Santa Monica, California courtroom yesterday (05JUL06). The jury in the civil lawsuit against the THRILLER star listened to agitated answerphone messages left for Schaffel, which were played to demonstrate how the singer entrusted Schaffel with handling millions of dollars. Schaffel alleges the pop star owes him $3.8 million in unpaid loans and expenses, unpaid salary for a charity record and a share of proceeds from two TV programmes. In one of the first messages, from 2001, the singer said, "Marc, it's Michael. Marc, please never let me down. I like you. I love you. I really want us to be friends and conquer the business world together. Please be my loyal, loyal friend. I love you." In June 2001, Jackson left messages regarding what he referred to as "the Marlon Brando deal." The star, according to Schaffel, wanted to produce a video in which the two legends would interview each other at Brando's Tahiti hideaway. Jackson was then said to have demanded money for an acting project with Brando at enormous cost.. The "Brando deal" message heard Jackson saying, "Marlon Brando has been pushing. He's a wonderful man. He's a god. He wants a lot of money. He wants to get things done right now." Jackson's September 11 charity record, WHAT MORE CAN I GIVE, was also a bone of contention - Schaffel claims the disc cost millions and was an unfeasible project. Due to complications with Jackson's record label Sony, the record was never released. But Jackson was later to contact Schaffel even more urgently, in a bid to rework it for the American soldiers in Iraq. He said, "It's a perfect cause. It means more now than any other causes." Jackson meanwhile contends that Schaffel owes him money, not the other way around, and has filed a counter-claim. His lawyer THOMAS MUNDELL claims the singer is forgetful, which allowed Schaffel to fraudulently move funds from Jackson's accounts for himself and bill the star for expenses after their business relationship ended. The trial continues.