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Katherine Jackson on stand: 'When I lost Michael, I lost everything'

Katherine JacksonParis JacksonRentalsMusicMichael JacksonAEG

This post has been corrected, see note at bottom for details.

Katherine Jackson wept on the witness stand Friday as she described her relationship with her son Michael, saying that when he died, she “lost everything.”

The 83-year-old matriarch said she and her seventh child were “very close,” saying “a mother wouldn’t want a better son than Michael.”

He took care of her “every need, my every want,” Katherine Jackson said, for example by remodeling her Hayvenhurst home, covering the walls of a room with enlarged pictures of their family.

FULL COVERAGE: AEG wrongful death trial

He also wrote her poetry, she said. After Michael Jackson died, his older brother Jermaine found another handwritten poem to his mother and had it framed. Katherine Jackson said she cried when she read the words.

“All my success has been based on the fact that I wanted to make Mother proud,” the poem ends. “To win her smile of approval.”

When attorney Brian Panish asked how she had been affected by her son’s death, Katherine Jackson broke down.

“When a mother loses a child,” she said, crying. “No one knows until it happens to them. That’s the worst thing that could happen to a person, losing a child.

“I lost my mother, my father and my sister … but when I lost Michael, I lost everything,” she said.

Katherine Jackson and her grandchildren -- Prince, Paris and Blanket -- claim AEG Live negligently hired and controlled the physician who gave the singer a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in 2009, days before his "This Is It" tour was to open in London. AEG Live was promoting and producing the comeback tour.

AEG says it was Jackson who hired Dr. Conrad Murray, and that any money the company was supposed to pay the doctor was actually part of an advance to the singer. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death and is serving jail time.

Katherine Jackson, a Jehovah’s witness, said she was out in “field service” — going door to door to share her faith — and returned home to a message from her husband on that June 2009 day. One of the fans who had gathered outside Michael Jackson’s rented Holmby Hills home had called Joe Jackson, saying someone had left on a gurney “completely covered up,” she testified.

“Later on I got a call to come to the hospital, so I thought maybe he was just sick,” she said.

Katherine Jackson said she arrived to find Jackson’s staff and a man she later learned was “packing back and forth.” Someone took her to a room where she waited, she said, until her son’s manager approached.

“Frank DiLeo came and told me that Michael had a reaction, and I said, ‘Well how is he?’ ” she said. “And nobody said anything.”

“I said, ‘Did he make it? Did he make it?’ and Frank said no,” she said, her voice breaking.

Katherine Jackson continued to cry on the stand as she described her reaction. “I just started screaming.”

Jackson said she was then taken to another room, where she was attended to by nurses and later met with her grandchildren. Paris Jackson, she said, was particularly emotional.

“She was screaming, looking up at the sky and said, ‘Daddy, I want to go with you.' ” Katherine Jackson said.

When it came time to leave the hospital, the family matriarch said, her granddaughter turned to her.

“Grandma, where are we going?” she recalled Paris asking. “And I said, ‘You’re going home with Grandma.”

Katherine Jackson now shares guardianship of the three children. Paris, she said, has “had the hardest time” with her father’s death.

“My nephew and I and Paris and her brothers … went everywhere trying to find this special heart, and it was a broken heart,” Katherine Jackson said. “When she got it, she went to the morgue and she hung one heart around her father’s neck.”

Paris kept the other half, her grandmother said.

Paris also kept a pajama shirt of her father’s, Katherine Jackson said, putting it on a pillow on her bed. She hung photos of him in her bedroom, later covering a wall with more pictures.

“I was wondering how could she do that because I didn’t want to see him,” Katherine Jackson said. “Every time I saw him I felt so sad.”

Katherine Jackson acknowledged that Paris had received medical help following her father’s death, including a hospital stint. The girl has said “that she wanted to go where Daddy was,” she testified.

Though her grandsons are more subdued, Katherine Jackson said, they also miss their father. The youngest, Blanket, keeps his hair long -- he “doesn’t want to cut it because that’s the way Michael liked it,” she said.

Katherine Jackson said her son changed after his children were born, describing his songs “more loving, more meaningful.” “It just changed his life,” she said of fatherhood.

Panish showed a video of photos of the children set to a recording of Michael Jackson singing “Speechless,” a song Katherine Jackson said her son wrote in 45 minutes about being a father. The video showed the children laughing, dancing, playing with a puppy.

“Mrs. Jackson, do you miss your son?” Panish asked when the video ended.

“Words can’t explain,” she said.

[For the Record July 19, 2:52 P.M.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Jackson fans had gathered outside Neverland Ranch. They had gathered out the pop singer's rented Holmby Hills home.]

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kate.mathers@latimes.com

 

 

 

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