Documents reveal fragile mental state of Michael Jackson before planned comeback tour
PROMOTERS involved in Michael Jackson’s planned London comeback described in emails how they were concerned about his mental welfare.
The Los Angeles Times obtained over 250 pages of messages, mostly between executives at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which was financing the ill-fated ‘This Is It’ concerts in 2009.
Some of the emails indicated concern amongst executives that he was out of shape and overwhelmed with self-doubt.
They also indicated fears that Jackson’s planned 50 shows at AEG’s 02 Arena in London would be an expensive mistake.
The singer died in 2009 aged 50 shortly before he was due to perform.
In one email, AEG’s Randy Phillips told company president Tim Leiweke that Jackson was “an emotionally paralysed mess”.
Mr Phillips was writing from Jackson’s London hotel suite hours before a press conference announcing the concert run.
“MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent,” Mr Phillips said in an email to AEG president Tim Leiweke. “I (am) trying to sober him up.”
Jackson arrived 90 minutes late for the press conference and made brief remarks that some of the 350 reporters described as odd and disjointed.
It is expected that the messages will play a key role in two lawsuits set for trial next year.
The show’s insurers, Lloyds of London, are asking a judge to nullify an £11m policy that they say AEG won with false claims about Jackson’s health and readiness to perform.
And Jackson’s heirs filed a wrongful-death suit that accuses the entertainment giant of pressuring the singer to carry on with a comeback despite indications he was too weak.
Numerous emails show Lloyd’s of London unsuccessfully pushing for access to five years of Jackson’s medical records in order to expand insurance coverage for the concerts.
The insurer also wanted the singer to undergo a four-hour medical exam that would include three doctors, heart monitoring and blood work. AEG’s insurance broker tried to persuade Lloyd’s to drop the physical, according to the email discussions.
AEG suggested that Jackson’s doctor, Dr Conrad Murray, could give an oral recitation of Jackson’s recent medical history instead, the Times reported. Lloyd’s refused.
A Lloyd’s underwriter wrote that repeated requests for written records and details about Jackson’s daily fitness programme were met “always with no response”.
Murray responded to the last of the requests on June 25 at Jackson’s Southern California home, according to emails presented at the doctor’s criminal trial. He wrote that he had talked to Jackson and “Authorisation was denied”.
Jackson died less than an hour later, according to a timeline Murray gave to investigators.
Murray was sentenced to four years in jail for involuntary manslaughter.
Lawyers for AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, told the Times most of the correspondence was produced as discovery in continuing litigation. They said the messages reviewed by the newspaper were incomplete and leaked to portray the company in a negative light.
The lawyers declined to provide additional emails that they said would give a fuller picture, citing a protective order imposed by a judge in the civil litigation.
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