Jackson Earns Split Decision With Ex-Adviser
In a split decision Friday, a California civil court jury awarded a former Michael Jackson adviser $900,000 and awarded the pop star $200,000 in his cross-complaint.In a split decision Friday, a California civil court jury awarded a former Michael Jackson adviser $900,000 and awarded the pop star $200,000 in his cross-complaint.
F. Marc Schaffel originally sued for $3.8 million, but his claims were later reduced to $1.6 million, and his attorney ultimately asked the jury for $1.4 million in commissions, unpaid loans and expenses before deliberations began Thursday.
"Obviously, I'm very happy," Schaffel said outside court. "We got less than I asked for, but considering all the factors on what we were able to present, I'm pleased."
Jackson's attorney had said Schaffel owed the pop star $660,000 before Jackson fired him in November 2001 after learning of his past as a producer of gay pornography.
The trial delved into claims involving work Schaffel did to produce two videos aired on Fox that were intended to rehabilitate Jackson's image in the aftermath of a damaging documentary, and claims involving "What More Can I Give," an ill-fated Jackson song intended to raise funds for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Jurors said they came to the figure of $900,000 by accepting Schaffel's claims that he was owed commissions from the two videos and for some other expenses.
They said that after much arguing, they accepted Schaffel's claim that he spent $300,000 of his own money on a secret mission to South America for Jackson. Schaffel claimed he gave the money to a "Mr. X."
Jackson's atorney focused on Schaffel's past in gay adult movies, and Schaffel blurted out on the witness stand that Jackson once wanted him to go to Brazil to find boys to adopt. Schaffel later modified that statement to "children" to expand Jackson's family.
Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Conner plans a separate accounting phase of the trial to examine the claims. That could lead to adjustment of the awards.
Meanwhile, Jackson's former wife, Debbie Rowe, has sued the pop singer, claiming he has failed to pay her what he promised when the two divorced in 1999.
In the lawsuit, filed July 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Rowe seeks an immediate payment of $195,000 for attorney fees and $50,000 in living expenses so that she can continue pursuing her child-custody case against him. The next court hearing on the matter is slated for July 26.
Rowe is the mother of Jackson's two children, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, 9, and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 8. She gave up her parental rights to the children in 2001 but asked a judge to reinstate them in 2003 after she learned of Jackson's arrest on child molestation charges.
Rowe says in the lawsuit that Jackson stopped making his promised payments to her in October 2003. Jackson agreed when they divorced to pay his ex-wife $1 million a year for the first three years after their split and $750,000 annually for six more years. Rowe also received a house in Beverly Hills and a 1998 Ford Explorer. She agreed to visit her children only once every 45 days, according to the lawsuit.
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