Jacksons vs AEG - Day 47 – July 11 2013 – Summary

Katherine Jackson is in court.

The judge reversed her earlier decision not allowing Jacksons to show the handwritten notes based on hearsay. Jacksons' attorney Debra Chang successfully argued that the notes would be admissible under state and federal evidence code 1250. Chang said there's an exception if it reflects a feeling, emotional or physical reaction. Judge agreed. One note reads: Tohme away from my $ now No contact Where's my house (underlined twice). (ABC7) 

Taj Jackson Testimony

Jackson direct

Deborah Chang, attorney for the Jacksons, doing direct examination.

Plaintiff’s attorney Deborah Chang did the questioning and asked for a refresher on his role in the family. Taj is Tito Jackson’s oldest son andMichael Jackson’s nephew. He described Michael Jackson as a “father figure” to him, his brothers. (AP)

Taj: Some people would argue we were his (MJ) children before he had his children. "He was definitely our mentor, everything we did in life we kind of geared to what he was doing," Taj explained. (ABC7)

Taj said he has several handwritten notes from MJ that he saved as keepsake. Note MJ wrote: Taj, I love you all and am proud of you. PS. please rehearse. Taj said it is written in a Neverland stationary, has the logo at the bottom. "He wrote various notes to me like this," Taj said. "That was probably from my mom telling him we were not rehearsing that much." Taj was the piano player. MJ bought him his first instruments. (ABC7)

Chang showed a picture of MJ getting his Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Taj and TJ were present. (ABC7)

Taj gave lots of recollections about his uncle and how he mentored him. “He was a perfectionist when it came to his craft, whatever it was.” He recounted how Jackson sang with 3T on the “I Need You.” He said his uncle came into 3T’s studio to record vocals after his own session. Taj said Michael Jackson’s voice was spent from recording a rock song that day, but he performed his part of the song in one take. He also recounted his uncle working with his nephews to teach them about what makes great music. Jackson played the song “She Drives Me Crazy” by the Fine Young Cannibals for Taj, his brothers, so they could learn to listen to music. Taj also mentioned that his uncle kept up with new artists and liked finding new collaborators. He cited MJ’s song with Akon. (AP)

Taj said MJ would ask him to watch his kids when he needed. He was also in charge of MJ's storage. "It would be foolish not to ask his advise," Taj said, explaining they could, and would, ask anything they wanted. "He picked out a lot of our songs, some we didn't like that much and he told us why they were important," Taj testified. Taj: He was a perfectionist when it came to his craft. He would study, study, study, and tell us to study the greatest, top 10 singers. "The demo sounded a little old fashioned, we couldn't hear what he was hearing," Taj said about "I Need You" song. Taj said they were recording down the street from MJ's recording studio. His uncle lent his voice to the end of the song. Taj: What's most amazing, it was all in one take, he didn't try again, all you hear was all in one take. The song "I Need You" was a success for them. Chang played a snippet of the music video. MJ was not part of it, just his voice. "We were always trying to do what our uncle was doing," Taj said, mentioning the choir in the song. Taj said MJ would tell him 'you have to carry on the legacy, carry on the torch when I retire.' Michael taught Taj and his siblings to listen to the same music several times and hear different instruments each time. "I don't want to give out too many secrets," Taj said, laughing. Taj: For him it was about studying, that's what we learned as well. I started at 12 years old, but didn't start 3T until I was about 19. Taj said he and MJ share their mutual love for music and movies. They would watch it in different ways, once without sound, then with sound. "It was kind of intimidating to me," Taj said, since he didn't know much about movie and said he needed to learn a lot to become a filmmaker. Taj said the robot transformer in the "Moonwalker" film was in their honor, because they loved the transformers. "He was constantly studying and reading about directing, he knew it back and forth and would test us," Taj said. MJ hired a USC professor to teach him movie directing. Taj said the children also learned from the professor. Taj said MJ loved King Tut, he loved Egypt, egyptian culture. MJ wanted him to study 3D, Taj said, since he loved the technology and wanted to do things with it. He wanted Taj to master it. Captain EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is playing at Disneyland. It's a 3Dscience fiction film with MJ's music. (ABC7)

After discussing films, Chang asked Taj about his uncle’s interest in films. Taj recounted being on the set of “Captain Eo.” Taj said he wished he had paid more attention, since Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas were involved. Taj said a scene in Jackson’s “Moonwalker” was inspired by his love of the “Transformers” cartoon. He said Michael Jackson would study film, and even was taking a class from a USC film school teacher. Taj said his uncle was interested in several films, including one based on King Tut, another called “Chicago 7” and an updated “Thriller”. He said Jackson told him to study 3D filmmaking. Michael Jackson “loved the technology” and wanted to do “groundbreaking” work with it. (AP)

Taj said he would stay with his uncle weeks at times. He said he lived at Neverland for about a year, majority of times with his uncle. Taj said he witnessed MJ writing notes to himself. He said he learned it from his uncle and keeps notes himself nowadays. "He liked to conduct meetings usually over the phone," Taj said. MJ would keep the phone on speaker so Taj would learn the business dealings.Taj estimated over 100 meetings over the phone, probably over 20 in person. Michael believed in "What you conceive, you believe, you achieve," Taj testified. Taj said MJ would write down his ideas and what he wanted to achieve. He would see his uncle write on anything he could write. Chang showed picture of a mirror with several notes hang on it. "Michael was very sentimental," Taj said. Taj said MJ kept several items as mementos. Taj ran through a window at Neverland when he was 3 and MJ kept the blanket he was wrapped in. (ABC7)

After discussing films, Chang asked Taj about his uncle’s custom of writing notes. He said his uncle had a system of taking notes. Taj said some of the notes and writings Michael Jackson kept were sentimental. This included keeping his sister Janet’s report card. They showed some of Jackson’s inspirational notes, which included one that read, “Love No Violence Ever.” He said he saw hundreds of these notes, both when he lived at Neverland Ranch for a year and after his uncle’s death at his mansion. There were several notes that Taj authenticated were written by his uncle, but they weren’t shown to the jury. AEG Live wants to argue against allowing the notes to be shown to the jury. Jackson’s attorneys want them shown. The notes will be used by an expert for the plaintiffs who will estimate the damages if AEG Live is found liable in the case. (AP)

Taj explained the system MJ had in his life. Types of Documents 1- Inspirational ("Law of Attraction") 2- Loving Keepsakes (notes) 3- "To Do" Topics to Cover During Meetings to Have Others Do. Taj said after MJ died he went to Carolwood house to collect some of MJ's belongings. He said he wanted to keep them for his cousins. Taj said when his mother died, he lost a lot of things either in storage or they were auctioned off and it was very painful for them. Taj retrieved a box of documents from MJ's storage. The attorneys stipulated some of the notes were MJ's handwriting. (ABC7)

Taj said he's familiar with Paris' handwriting, has seen her doing homework. Note from Paris to MJ: Dear Daddy, I love you so much & I'm so happy I got a goodnight hug. Sleep well, I love you & good night. I'll see you tomorrow! XOX, goodnight and lots of love. Paris Jackson. (ABC7)

Note Michael wrote to himself: Words of Blanket my son 6 years young "What's your favorite letter Daddy? Mine is "G" for God and "D" for Daddy" Age 6. Blanket. (ABC7)

AEG Cross

AEG attorney, Kathryn Cahan, is doing cross examination.

Taj said he was the one family member who spent the most time with MJ (out of his cousins and extended family.) Taj visited MJ in every tour he did: Triumph, Victory, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory. He stayed at the hotels with MJ's, went to his room. (ABC7)

She asked Taj about all the time he spent around Jackson. She asked Taj about staying with his uncle on tours. Cahan asked if he ever saw drugs in his uncle's hotel rooms. Taj said no and he never saw MJ use drugs, or under the influence of any meds. (AP)

Cahan: Did you ever see any signs of MJ using drugs? Taj: No (ABC7)

Cahan then asked how often Taj saw his uncle in late 2008-2009. Taj said he saw him once at Bel-Air hotel, and again at an anniversary party. Taj also said he talked to his uncle when he was trying to stop an auction of his possessions. (AP)

In 2008, MJ was living in Las Vegas. Taj saw him regularly during that time. "He was definitely happy and healthy, yes," Taj testified. Taj said that after living in Neverland, MJ went overseas and then to Las Vegas. Taj saw MJ maybe twice, when he was at the Bel Air Hotel. (ABC7)

Taj said he never saw MJ use drugs. "I didn't even know he had moved," Taj said about MJ moving in to Carolwood house in 2008. The last time Taj saw MJ alive was in May of 2009 during his grandparent's 60th anniversary party. He never went to the Carolwood house. Taj said that when they learned MJ was going on tour, they stayed away and gave him space. They knew they could be a distraction for MJ. (ABC7)

"I know MJ was on the phone once to stop an auction," Taj said. Call wasn't to Taj though, he doesn't recall talking to MJ on the phone. Taj heard MJ was recording an album for the news or family members. The album started in 2008, Taj said. "He was constantly recording and writing," Taj said. "He juggled a lot of things." (ABC7) Cahan asked how Taj knew MJ was recording new music. He said he thought he heard about it on the news or from relatives. Taj added that Jackson was always working on new music. “I don’t think he would have stopped recording.” (AP)

Cahan asked several questions about storage lockers that Michael Jackson wanted his nephew Taj to be responsible for. Taj said his uncle wanted him to be responsible for the storage lockers and wanted to transfer them into his name. He said his family lost many of his mother’s possessions after she was killed due to a lien, and his uncle didn’t want the same to happen. One of the facilities, the largest, housed items from Neverland Ranch. Two smaller ones had personal keepsakes, Taj said. Asked why Jackson would want his possessions transferred over, Taj said there were “very few people my uncle trusted.” “He had been betrayed his whole life. He knew he could trust me,” Taj Jackson said of his uncle Michael. He said reluctantly agreed to let his uncle pay him to take care of the storage units. (AP)

Taj said MJ wanted to put the storage facilities in Taj's name. Taj: There were very few people my uncle trusted. Taj: He had been betrayed his whole life. He knew he could trust me and if something happened to him I would do the right thing. Taj said his mom did the same thing, put her valuables in a safe. However, his mom's possession in the storage locker were auctioned off. Taj: A company sued our family for not performing at a certain event and they put a lien on the storage. Taj: The storage unit got tied up and unfortunately we became the victims of it. Taj said MJ had sentimental things in the storage that he wanted to keep for his children. Taj said the storage was full with stuff from Neverland. It had furniture, arts, arcade games. MJ had 2 storage lockers. One in Vegas is half of the size of the courtroom (30x37 feet) and the one in Buellton was at least 4 times bigger. Cahan asked if Taj was being paid to take care of MJ's storage. He said at first he didn't want to get paid, but MJ insisted. (ABC7)

"Everyone else is making money off of me, I want to take care of my family," Taj said MJ told him. (ABC7)

Taj said he doesn't think MJ wanted to live at Neverland again. "It felt violated in a way, the purity of it. It didn't feel the same." (ABC7)

Taj doesn't know when he went to Carolwood house. Rebbie and her daughter, Janet, Katherine, possibly Trent and 1 of his brothers were there. Taj doesn't remember seeing La Toya that day. "It's a time I'd rather forget," Taj said. Taj testified the house seemed normal, not messy. Taj went to MJ's bedroom on the second floor. Cahan asked if MJ was messy. Taj said he wasn't trying to defend his uncle, but understood him. "When you travel a lot, living out of luggages, it's messy," Taj testified. "It looks like my place now," Taj said, laughing. Taj doesn't remember who handled him the box. It was a cardboard storage box. Taj: The idea of going there was to preserve the stuff. It's something someone can sell on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said it could be seen it was documents, that he threw in some stuff as well, but 95% of the stuff was already in the box. Taj said he only stayed in his uncle's master bedroom, closet and bathroom. "The box was given to me in the master bedroom, I just assumed the documents were from that area," Taj said. "It was traumatic enough to be in that room so I just wanted to get out of there quickly," Taj recalled. (ABC7)

Cahan then asked about Taj going to his uncle’s mansion after he died. He received a box of documents while there. Taj said he also picked up some of his uncle’s motivational notes. He said he didn’t remember who handed him the box. There was a lot of discussion about the box, and then Cahan moved on to questions about two computers that Taj received at a later time. (AP)

Taj took the box to his house. He said he skimmed through some of the documents. This was in the Summer of 2009. Taj turned over the box of documents to Sandra Ribera, one of the Jacksons attorney early this year. The lawsuit was filed in 2010, Cahan said. Taj: "I don't even know they remembered I had the box." "I protected that box with my life," Taj said. He kept it hidden in his closet of his house. He turned over the entire box to his lawyer. (ABC7)

(Attorneys in the hallway said judge asked for it because she wanted to know why they were spending so much time on the computer issue. Judge said the computer stuff had already been litigated during pretrial. ABC7)

The Mac computers were given to Taj by LaToya Jackson’s business partner at the family’s Encino home, he said. Taj said one contained music and was turned over to Michael JacMichael JacksonThe other one was used by security at MJ’s mansion. The second computer was password protected and was apparently used by MJ’s assistant, Michael Amir Williams. Taj said he asked Williams for the password and got one, but it didn’t work. He said the estate wasn’t interested in the computer. Taj said he turned over the computer because Jackson’s estate was looking for hard drives with Michael Jackson music. Taj wasn’t sure of the dates when he received the computers, or when he turned the machine over to the estate. They went into a sidebar that the judge requested. Cahan asked a couple more questions about the security computer, but moved on. (AP)

Taj said he was given two computers from the Carolwood house. One was a computer with music, one was a computer used by the security team, Taj said. Jeffrey Phillips, business partner of my aunt La Toya, gave him the computers, Taj said. He was at the Hayvenhurst house. "He handed them to me," Taj said. They were Mac Towers. Taj is not sure whether he got the screen as well or not. Taj: It was known Estate was looking for music for MJ's new album. I'm assuming Jeffrey knew I was helping Estate out in that aspect of it. Taj is still working with MJ's Estate. Taj: I turned 1 of them on, it had music files. Turned the other one on and had log in request, with Mr. Amir's name, asking for a password. Taj could not access it, since he didn't have the password. "The Estate was looking for 4 hard drives with music in it," Taj said. He thought that's what was being given to him. The music computer was given to the executors of Michael's estate, Taj said. Taj said he called Michael Amir Williams but the password he gave him didn't work. Michael Amir said there was no music in that computer. The Estate, thus, was not interested in the security computer. Taj said he left the security computer at Hayvenhurst house. He hasn't seen the computer since. (ABC7)

Cahan asked Taj about his uncle’s movie aspirations. Taj said the last time he saw his uncle, MJ told him, “After this, we’re doing films.” Jackson’s statement was made in May 2009 at a 60th anniversary party for Joe and Katherine Jackson, Taj said. Cahan asked Taj whether his uncle ever mentioned he wanted to partner with Kenny Ortega on films. Taj responded that wasn’t surprising, his uncle wanted to partner with Peter Jackson and other filmmakers. (AP)

After "TII" tour ended, MJ and Taj would make movies. "I think when TII ended, he would've shifted his focus to films primarily," Taj said. MJ's son, Prince, was going to make movies with them too. "I'm sure more powerful people would be involved too, not just us," Taj said. "His last words to me: After this, we're doing films," Taj recalled. Cahan asked if MJ ever told him he wanted to partner with Kenny Ortega, not him, to make "Thriller" 3D movie. Taj: I'm sure he would partner with, he wanted to partner with Peter Jackson at one point. I wasn't exclusive to him. (ABC7)

Cahan asked a few questions about Taj’s music career, then moved on to questions about Michael Jackson’s kids. Cahan asked about Taj’s relationship with Prince, Paris and Blanket. He said he has been there for him since their father died. (AP) The last 3T album was in 2003. "We dropped everything after Michael passed to be with his kids," Taj explained. "Code Z was kind of my homage to my uncle," Taj said. "We did kind of zombie tribute to him." It was a fake trailer, not made into movie yet. (ABC7)

Taj said he was planning to go to London to see his uncle Michael performing. (ABC7)

MJ had his own record label, MJJ. Taj said MJ was concerned in putting 3T under his label in case something went wrong they would blame him. (ABC7)

Taj has spent a lot of time with MJ's children after his passing. "We've been a unit," Taj said. Cahan: Has Debbie Rowe gotten back involved with the children? Taj: Yes. "She started a relationship with Paris, that's as far as I know," Taj said. Rowe is Prince and Paris' biological mother. (ABC7) The attorney then asked about Debbie Rowe and whether she had become involved in the children’s lives recently. Taj: “From what I know, yes.” Cahan: “She’s Prince and Paris’ mother, yes?” Taj: “Biological mother, yes.” Taj said Rowe had started a relationship with Paris, as far as he knew. The plaintiffs then asked for a sidebar. (AP)

Plaintiffs asked for sidebar since judge ruled that no parentage question were to be asked. AEG said Debbie Rowe is the kids' biological mom. Judge read admonition to jury. She said there was a question regarding the status of Debbie Rowe's relationship with the children. Judge said they are only to consider the relationship between Michael and the children when assessing damages, if any. (ABC7) The plaintiff’s side had said before going into chambers that the mention of Rowe’s status was a violation of a pretrial order. After court, AEG Live defense attorney Marvin Putnam said it was paternity that was subject to the order. (AP)

Cahan then asked about Taj’s Twitter account, and questioned him about nanny Grace Rwaramba and whether he thought she was honest. Taj responded yes in response to a question asking whether Grace was truthful. Cahan then wanted to show a post from Taj’s Twitter account. It was a Twitlonger post urging people not to give credibility to a report by Roger Friedman. He mentioned a Grace at the end of the post. After reading it, Taj said, “That’s not the same. That’s Nancy Grace.” There was laughter in the courtroom. (AP) Cahan asked Taj if he thinks Grace Rwamba is a truthful person. "Yes," Taj answered. Grace Rwamba was the children's nanny. Cahan then showed Taj a tweet he sent in 2011. "That's not the same Grace," Taj said. "That was Nancy Grace!" Everyone started laughing.

Taj was released subject to recall.

Arthur Erk Testimony , Jacksons expert CPA

Jackson direct

Arthur Erk. He's a CPA for Citrin Cooperman, partner in the firm in New York. Erk is in the entertainment group, handle finances for entertainment. "Music happened to be my particular specialty," Erk said. Erk said they have 10 sports clients in football and baseball. He became a CPA in 1978. Erk described his extensive background in the industry. He has worked with rock back Kiss, did royalty audits. (ABC7)

"I was retained to calculate MJ loss of future earning capacity due to his untimely leave," Erk said.The categories in Tier 1 that Erk analyzed was Touring, Merchandising, Sponsorships and Endorsement, Las Vegas and Royalties. MJ wanted to have a team show in Las Vegas based on Neverland. Erk calculated its earning, use of music for royalties. (ABC7)