LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The CEO of AEG Live testified on Thursday that Michael Jackson looked at top of his game in the days before his death while acknowledging he received e-mails from his employees suggesting otherwise.
Randy Phillips was called to the stand in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for a seventh day today for questioning by his attorney, Marvin Putnam.
Phillips is disputing allegations made by Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, who claims AEG executives negligently hired and supervised the doctor who provided Michael Jackson with the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol that killed him in June 2009 while he was preparing for his This Is It comeback concert series, promoted by the firm.
CBS2's Randy Paige reports Phillips received an e-mail on June 19, 2009 - six days before Jackson died - from the show's production manager.
"I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks," John "Bugzee" Hougdahl wrote. "He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He'd fall on his (...) if he tried it now."
"Did you watch him deteriorate over the last eight weeks?" Putnam asked.
"No," Phillips answered.
Jurors were then shown a clip from AEG's This Is It documentary, featuring rehearsal footage of Jackson Phillips said was recorded in early June. The jury watched as Jackson performed several 360 spins which were edited together.
Phillips was later asked how he would describe how Jackson looked at his last two rehearsals a few days later.
"How do you describe one of the greatest entertainers who lived?" Phillips asked. "I had goose bumps watching him."
The CEO then recalled how after Jackson's final rehearsal, the night he died, Jackson pulled him aside.
"He came over and put his arm around me and said, 'You have gotten me this far, I can take it from here. I got this,'" Phillips said.
"I felt like a million dollars," Phillips added.
Putnam asked Phillips if he had any reason to believe Jackson would pass away hours later.
"Of course not," he testified. "I was shocked."
The Jackson family attorney says Phillips' testimony is inconsistent with his previous statements.
Attorneys for Katherine Jackson will have the opportunity to question him tomorrow in what will be Phillips' eighth day on the witness stand.
Michael Jackson's former physician, Conrad Murray, is currently serving a four-year sentence in a L.A. County jail for involuntary manslaughter in connection to the pop star's death.
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