While Michael Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG Live for what they say is the company’s role in the pop singer’s death, four of his brothers will perform this month at a festival the entertainment giant is producing and promoting.
Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Marlon Jackson will close out the three-day BET Experience on June 30 on a bill with R. Kelly and New Edition. The festival is being produced by AEG and will be staged at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.
“What are their options about performing?” said Kevin Boyle, the attorney for Katherine Jackson and her grandchildren. “Why would they not perform?”
The Jackson’s upcoming performance came up this week during testimony in the wrongful death suit filed by Jackson’s mother and children. The case could be worth billions if jurors determine that AEG played a role in the singer’s death.
Michael’s wrongful death trial during the testimony of Randy Phillips, AEG Live’s chief executive, who spent his fifth day on the stand. Since late morning, though, his attorney was asking the questions, not the Jacksons’ lawyer.
Although Michael Jackson came to fame as lead singer in a group with his four brothers, he had a strained relationship with his family. Randall Sullivan, author of “Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson,” said many family members looked at the singer as their meal ticket.
“The persistence with which they exploited him was breathtaking and was relentless, and it was right until the moment of death and after,” Sullivan said in an interview. “He was the one really talented person, and they all lived off him and took advantage of that talent to best of their abilities forever.”
Attendance at the Jacksons' tour last year was disappointing, and they failed to sell out the Greek Theatre.
Several Jackson siblings sent a letter to the executors of Michael Jackson's estate last year, accusing them of fraud, forgery and abuse of their mother.
The letter claimed the executors were manipulating Katherine Jackson and affecting her health. The letter also claimed Michael Jackson’s will, which cut out his siblings and left his estate to his children, his mother and charity, was a fraud.
In court Tuesday, Randy Phillips, AEG Live’s chief executive, also testified that he met with Jackson in Las Vegas in 2007 at the singer’s behest, to discuss touring. Jackson also said he wanted to do a TV mini series on King Tut and star in movies. AEG owns a film production arm.
During one meeting, Jackson showed AEG executives a 20-minute special-effects laden film he had financed, called “Ghost.”
Phillips said Jackson was “animated, clear.” AEG made a proposal to Jackson, which included starting a tour in London. AEG later received a call from a Jackson representative saying he was not ready to go back on stage.
The next year, Jackson began negotiating with AEG again, paving the way for the “This Is It” concerts in London. Jackson died after being administer a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol as he was rehearsing for the comeback shows.
Philips and another AEG Live executive are defendants in the lawsuit. The Jacksons say AEG negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered the propofol. AEG says Jackson hired Murray and that any money the company was planning to pay him was part of an advance to the singer.
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