Jury Sees Jackson Videotape Testimony
A jury of six women and six men was sworn yesterday (June 29) for the trial of a civil lawsuit against Michael Jackson, and jurors were quickly shown videotaped testimony by the pop star.A jury of six women and six men was sworn yesterday (June 29) for the trial of a civil lawsuit against Michael Jackson, and jurors were quickly shown videotaped testimony by the pop star.
Attorney Howard King, who represents former Jackson adviser F. Marc Schaffel, showed part of a deposition taken from Jackson in London to illustrate what he said would be Jackson's constant claims of not remembering much about dealings with Schaffel, who claims he is owed $3.8 million in unpaid loans and for past work.
"I've wanted Mr. Jackson to be here to tell his story," King said in opening remarks. "He won't be here except by deposition. I had to go to London to take it. He will make a fine presentation. He's finely made up, costumed. You'd think he'd been in front of cameras his whole life."
In the tape, dated Sept. 23, 2005, Jackson wore a dark shirt and answered questions in a quiet voice. He was asked if he thought Schaffel wanted to be paid for his services.
"I know he wanted something from me, of course," Jackson said. "... I do remember these long letters. He wanted me to pay him." King then asked Jackson if he had ever paid Schaffel. "I'm sure he got money," said Jackson. Asked how he could be so sure, Jackson said, "Because he always seemed to be happy."
The lawyer responded: "Money doesn't buy happiness."
King said he would be calling a number of Jackson's former advisers to discuss their dealings with the superstar. One of them, Alvin Malnik, a Florida businessman, performed all services for Jackson for free, King said.
"He said that Jackson will deny ever borrowing from Malnik, but Malnik will testify that he loaned Jackson $7 million in 2003," King said. "So we have a witness in Mr. Jackson who does not remember getting $7 million three years ago."
King took the podium after a morning of sometimes emotional statements from prospective jurors who were subsequently dismissed. Some denounced Jackson's behavior over the years and said they couldn't be fair to him.
In the end, Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor seated two alternate jurors from the group -- a man and a woman who had given no controversial opinions. The jury includes two people who said on Wednesday that they had suspicions that Jackson was guilty of child molestation even though he was acquitted last year.
King glossed over Schaffel's controversial links to the gay pornography industry, saying, "Mr. Schaffel has a successful business background and one of these was in the legal adult entertainment business. In 2000 he was done with that and he began to work with Mr. Jackson."
King said Schaffel was supposed to get 20% from two specials aired on Fox that he produced. For a while, Schaffel earned $50,000 a month for his work, then $25,000 for a few months and then payments stopped when Jackson's money allegedly ran out. He said the Fox videos sold for just over $10 million.
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