JULY 23- The mother of Michael Jackson testified on Monday in her wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live that the late pop star denied he was abusing prescription drugs when she confronted him in the years before his death.
Katherine Jackson, 83, said under cross-examination that she and her family had heard rumors that the singer was abusing pain medications but never saw him under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the final years of his life.
“I told him I heard that he was using prescription drugs,” the Jackson family matriarch told jurors in her second day on the stand in the trial in which she and Jackson’s children are suing AEG Live over the singer’s death.
AEG has argued that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems for years before entering into any agreement with the company.
The lawsuit alleges that privately held AEG Live hired Dr Conrad Murray as his personal physician. Murray was caring for the singer as he rehearsed for the shows and the doctor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for administering the propofol that killed Jackson.
Katherine Jackson, dressed in a purple and white coat and a dark pink top, said she confronted her son about the rumors at his Las Vegas residence, where he lived from 2006 to 2008. She did not say exactly when she brought up her concerns.
“He didn’t want me to worry,” Jackson said when questioned by AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam about whether she knew he would deny the rumors.
“He’s my son,” she added. “I didn’t think it was that serious. When a child respects his mother and doesn’t want her to think it’s that bad, he’ll deny it.”
‘No deep discussion’
Katherine Jackson, who said that was the only time she confronted her son about drugs on her own, acknowledged that she knew her famous son was taking prescription medication for head and back pains but said she did not believe he was abusing them.
Jackson’s mother, who grew frustrated at times with Putnam’s questioning, said that she and her children together asked the singer about his rumored addictions in 2002, believing that her presence would have a stronger impact on him.
Katherine Jackson on Friday testified that AEG Live failed to get her son proper medical attention when he fell ill while preparing for his comeback tour.
AEG Live has said it did not hire or supervise Murray and could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.
Katherine Jackson, the plaintiff’s final witness, also testified that she dropped her $100 million restitution claim against Murray because the doctor had many children.
“I felt his (Murray’s) children needed it,” she added.
Michael’s oldest son, Prince, 16, has already testified. The younger children Paris, 15, and 11-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, were not expected to testify. Michael’s nephews T.J. and Taj Jackson, sons of brother Tito Jackson, have also testified.
The trial, which started in April and was supposed to last three months, is expected to conclude in September.