Michael Jackson Tells Court He's 'A Visionary'

Michael Jackson spent a second day testifying in California yesterday (Nov. 14) in a $21 million lawsuit over canceled millennium concerts, saying that he could shed little light on matters like contr

Michael Jackson spent a second day testifying in California yesterday (Nov. 14) in a $21 million lawsuit over canceled millennium concerts, saying that he could shed little light on matters like contracts and finances because he was busy being "a visionary." Jackson, who showed up to court four hours late and at times appeared drowsy on the witness stand, said he left most business to others so that he could concentrate on music.

"There's an overview [that I get] of what's going on financially, but I'm in the creative department," he said, speaking softly in a packed courtroom. "I'm a visionary."

One day after photographs of his odd offstage appearance set the Internet buzzing, he appeared looking much the same -- with a stubbly goatee, eyeliner, red lipstick, and heavily penciled eyebrows framed by a mane of shiny black hair.

But gone yesterday was the Band-Aid-type plaster on his scarred nose, which had been apparently smoothed over with make-up. He also traded his black slacks for a midnight-blue corduroy suit with an embroidered crest on the left pocket and a red, button-down shirt.

Jackson, who is being sued by German concert promoter Marcel Avram for allegedly pulling out of millennium shows in Sydney and Honolulu had been expected back on the witness stand at 9 a.m. yesterday. But the self-proclaimed King of Pop mysteriously failed to appear for the morning session, to the disappointment of fans outside the courthouse and the obvious annoyance of Avram's attorneys.

Superior Court Judge Zel Canter told jurors only that they would have to return after lunch because "Mr. Jackson can't be here right now." Jackson's attorneys refused to discuss the matter with reporters.

Canter then summoned news photographers into his chambers and said, according to one photographer, that Jackson's legal team objected to the photographers' presence on the grounds that the courtroom pictures were distracting and could be used to exploit the star in supermarket tabloids. The judge urged the photographers to be less intrusive in their work but did not ban them from the courtroom.

When Jackson finally returned to the courthouse at Santa Maria -- the central California town nearest to his Neverland Valley ranch -- he appeared drowsy and lethargic. His eyes drooped and he had to be prompted to answer by lawyers as testimony proceeded at a snail's pace.

Skip Miller, a lawyer for Avram, sought to prove through his examination of Jackson that the performer had agreed to headline charity shows in Seoul and Munich, Germany, in 1999, followed by the millennium concerts, then tried to renegotiate the contract before ultimately pulling out of the shows altogether.

But Miller, who called Jackson as a hostile witness, made little headway with the singer, who repeatedly said that he could not remember anything about the contract negotiations, key meetings, or documents in the case. Jackson perked up between the questions, smiling at the audience, laughing to himself, and bouncing in his seat.

By the time court recessed for the day, several hundred screaming fans had gathered outside to wait for Jackson, who created a brief frenzy when he moved forward to sign autographs and the crowd surged around barriers and scrambled over parked cars to get a glimpse of the reclusive pop icon.


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