LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson’s longtime stylist told jurors Friday that she tried to warn the singer’s manager that concert promoter AEG Live LLC would look responsible if the singer died because of numerous signs his health was declining.
Hair and makeup artist Karen Faye testified about two emails she sent to Jackson’s manager Frank Dileo within the five days before the singer’s death that his health was deteriorating. In one of the messages, Faye warned Dileo that he and AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips might become “villains” or “financial victims” if Jackson were to die while preparing or performing a series of comeback shows called “This Is It.”
Faye said she struck a dire tone in the messages because she felt that earlier concerns about Jackson’s health had been ignored.
Faye sent the warning that Jackson may die in a message on June 20, 2009 — five days before the singer died of an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. Two days later, on June 22, she sent the warning about Dileo, Phillips and tour director Kenny Ortega being held financially responsible for the entertainer’s demise.
“I don’t think you, Kenny, or Randy deserve becoming the villains, or the financial victims,” her email states. She wrote that the message was “between you and me alone.”
She told jurors she was concerned the men “could be responsible for that in some way. Just kind of like where we are right now,” she said, referencing Katherine Jackson’s ongoing civil case against AEG Live.
Ortega was initially sued by Jackson’s mother, but was dismissed from the case.
Faye’s emails described Jackson as emaciated, paranoid and unable to perform. She told jurors Friday that while the singer’s performances dramatically improved in his final two rehearsals, she was still not convinced he would be able to perform the 50-concert schedule of “This Is It,” let alone its premiere.
Katherine Jackson claims AEG executives missed signs about the singer’s health and failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
AEG denies it hired Conrad Murray, the former physician convicted of giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. The company also denies it pushed Jackson to rehearse.
Faye told jurors that she was never pressured by AEG executives Randy Phillips or Paul Gongaware to get Jackson to rehearse.
The stylist testified earlier in the trial that she overheard Gongaware tell Jackson’s assistant to get him out of a locked bathroom and to a rehearsal. Gongaware denies that conversation ever happened.