LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The chief executive for AEG Live told jurors on Wednesday Michael Jackson was “forceful” and “determined” as he prepared for his comeback concert series.
AEG lawyers continued their questioning of the company’s CEO Randy Phillips, who took the stand for a sixth day to testify in the ongoing wrongful death trial spurred by matriarch Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against the firm.
“He’s been presented as a drug addled 5-year-old and that is not the man I dealt with. The man I dealt with was forceful. Kind, but determined… and a force, he was a force,” Philips said.
“Did you like him?” AEG attorney Marvin Putnam later asked.
“A lot,” Phillips replied.
CBS2′s Randy Paige reports Phillips testified Michael Jackson told him he wanted to get back to work so that he could provide his three young children with a permanent home.
“I felt incredibly bad that this incredible star was at this point where he couldn’t buy a house with all the money he made,” Phillips said.
He testified that Jackson broke into tears at one point when discussing the matter.
“I cried also,” Phillips said. “It was an emotional meeting.”
Phillips later spoke about the hours leading up to the news conference announcing Jackson’s planned This Is It concert series in March 2009.
He testified how he found Michael Jackson despondent in his hotel room with an empty bottle of alcohol saying he was concerned that no fans would be waiting for him at the news conference and that people didn’t care about him anymore.
“I explained you’re quite wrong, you’ve got over 3,000 adoring fans (waiting)… and every major press organization… Trust me people want to see you,” Phillips said.
Phillips was questioned by attorneys representing the Jackson family last week.
The family’s lead attorney Brian Panish pressed the executive about whether or not he thought Michael Jackson was abusing drugs in the days before his death.
“It’s possible at that time he was, I did not know,” Phillips said in testimony last Thursday.
The suit filed by the late singer’s mother Katherine Jackson alleges AEG executives negligently hired and supervised the doctor who provided Michael Jackson with the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol that killed him in June 2009 while he was preparing for his comeback concert series.
Jackson’s former physician, Conrad Murray, is currently serving a four-year sentence in a L.A. County jail for involuntary manslaughter.