Michael Jackson was so ill prior to his death he could barely perform his signature dance moves during his concert rehearsals, a Los Angeles courtroom has heard.
As the eighth week of the court battle between Jackson's mother and kids and executives at gig promotion company AEG Live looms, jury members were shown footage from the King of Pop's Staples Center work-outs on Friday (14Jun13) as the Jackson family lawyers attempted to prove the star was in no fit state to perform in the weeks leading up to his death in June, 2009.
Katherine Jackson and her three grandchildren maintain AEG bosses ignored clear signs that the Thriller singer was not well as he prepared for 50 This Is It dates in London.
Jurors watched comparisons of Jackson's performance of Billie Jean in 2001 with rehearsal video from June, 2009, which clearly showed the pop star was far from his best.
Email correspondence from This Is It production manager John Houghdahl to AEG Live Ceo Randy Phillips also suggested there were major concerns about the ailing King of Pop.
In June, 2009, Houghdal wrote, "I have watched him (Jackson) deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks. He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He'd fall on his a** if he tried now... He was a basket case... The company is rehearsing right now, but the Doubt is pervasive."
The worried production manager also told Phillips, who has spent the past week on the witness stand, that tour director Kenny Ortega was "concerned he (Jackson) would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet, get hurt".
Jurors were told that Phillips met with Jackson, Ortega and the pop superstar's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, after reading Houghdal's correspondence, but AEG's lawyers contend the doctor Murray assured the Ceo nothing was wrong with the singer. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson a dose of anaesthetic which led to his death and he remains behind bars.
The trial continues.