Entertainment

Producer testifies she was worried about Michael Jackson

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

An associate producer who worked with Michael Jackson shortly before the singer died testified Wednesday that she was worried about him. She says she told the director of Jackson's upcoming tour, but her plea went unanswered.

Michael Jackson's health takes center stage in the lawsuit against tour promoter AEG.

Alif Sankey testified Wednesday. She was cast as a dancer in the 1987 video of the Jackson song "Smooth Criminal." Sankey testified how Jackson changed over the years.

She stated that when she hugged him in 1996, he was thin, but he had muscle mass. He was "like marble" -- he had a hard body.

"When I saw him in 2006, he was thin, he was just thin," said Sankey.

Sankey testified that in 2009 for the This Is It! tour show rehearsals, Jackson needed to gain weight because he was too thin.

Sankey was hired for the production by producer-director Kenny Ortega to be his associate producer. She described the rehearsal schedule. Seven weeks before the first concert, Jackson was not showing up.

Ortega was concerned, Sankey testified. Sankey worried about Jackson's absence.

In an email to Ortega she wrote: "I left work last night very sad and upset because I know this cannot fail. Please let me help get him back into that magical light."

The lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, against AEG's top executives alleges that AEG was negligent in hiring Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.

According to earlier testimony, Murray was administering propofol to Jackson, a sedative used in surgeries. Jackson died of an overdose.

AEG denies hiring Murray, saying the doctor was Jackson's choice.

Yet Sankey testified about an email from AEG CEO Paul Gongaware about a meeting with Murray.

"We want to remind him that it is AEG, not Michael Jackson, who is paying his salary. We want him to know what is expected of him," the email said.

Jackson's earning potential as well his value as a father is an element in the case.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
legal, court case, celebrity, michael jackson, entertainment, miriam hernandez
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