Court Readies for Quincy Jones to Take the Stand in Suit Against the Michael Jackson Estate

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Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones photographed at the 1994 Grammy awards. 

Jones’ legal team has publicly stated that their client is owned at least $30 million.

Quincy Jones is expected to take the stand this week in his case against the Michael Jackson estate as the celebrated Grammy-award-winning 84-year-old producer seeks millions of dollars in royalties for his contributions to songs from albums such as Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and This Is It.

The jury for the case was excused on Monday (July 17) but was told to return on Tuesday as attorneys for both Jones and the Jackson estate spent the morning with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern. The legal teams mostly reviewed organizational items as they inch closer to hearing Jones’ testimony, which will likely be Thursday, according to a legal representative for the producer.

During Monday’s session with legal teams from each side, Stern asked Jones’ attorney, J. Michael Hennigan, why the case had come this far considering that his star client has had some of the best representation in the business. The biggest issue, the attorney said, was not having access to “audit material” and the results of that data.

Opposing counsel addressed the concern and indicated that providing the jury with that kind of information was misleading as Jones and his representatives had access to audits from CBS Records, now part of Sony, suggesting that the producer has had the ability to see what his legal team is claiming was not available to him previously.

Last week, Stern informed the jury that the trial might conclude by the end of this week instead of a full three weeks as originally estimated. Stern asked the Jones legal team on Monday if the producer would be available a day earlier, but it was established that Jones is returning from a long trip and will need time to rest and prepare for his day in court.

Jones’ legal team has publicly stated that their client is owned at least $30 million, but in the end it will be up to a jury of mostly women to decide.

In recent days Jones attended the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and on his social media accounts he also highlighted his Quincy Jones & Friends showcase on July 16 at the Jazz Open Stuttgart in Germany through photos and videos, which includes extended standing ovations.

In 2003, Jones sued MJJ Productions and Sony Music Entertainment, asserting that songs such as “Thriller” and "Billie Jean,” among others, were wrongly edited and remixed to exclude the prolific producer from backend profits and a producer’s fee. The lawsuit alleged that Jones’ contracts gave him the first option to re-edit or alter the songs as a way to protect his name.

More witnesses are expected to take the stand on Tuesday in support of Jones, but it is Jones’ actual testimony that will give the case momentum as the jury determines if he is eligible for a substantial payout.