LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Michael Jackson’s eldest nephew took the stand Thursday, testifying about the role the late singer played in his life as an uncle and father figure.
Taj Jackson, 39, testified in the wrongful death trial stemming from a lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson’s mother against concert promoting giant AEG Live.
“He was definitely our mentor and everything we did in life we kind of geared toward what he was doing, whether music or how he was as a person,” Taj said.
The jury was shown a note written by Michael Jackson addressing his nephew, the son of the late singer’s brother, Tito Jackson, reminding him to keep working on his music.
“Taj I love you all and am proud of you. P.S. please rehearse,” the note read.
Taj had formed a singing group with two of his brothers, one of whom, TJ Jackson, serves as the co-guardian of Michael Jackson’s three children along with family matriarch, Michael’s mother, Katherine.
He testified his uncle convinced the group to record the song I Need You, which he initially didn’t like.
The track became one of 3T’s biggest hits, largely thanks to a guest appearance made by Michael, who surprised the trio at the music studio to record his vocals.
Taj told the jury the star also taught him the secret to his success, based on what the pop legend called the law of attraction.
“What you can conceive and believe, you can achieve,” Taj recalled.
The musician said Michael’s death has been hard on his three children, noting the singer was the only parent in their lives at the time of his death.
He also discussed other handwritten notes he found in his uncle’s bedroom after his uncle’s 2009 passing.
One was written by Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, in which she told her father she loved him.
Another, in Michael Jackson’s handwriting, chronicled what his son Blanket said at six-years-old.
“What’s your favorite letters, Daddy? Mine is ‘G’ for ‘God’ and ‘D’ for ‘Daddy,’” it read in part.
Late in the day an AEG attorney let slip that Debbie Rowe was the biological mother of two of Jackson’s children.
The jury was admonished and told not to consider Rowe’s relationship with the children in determining damages.
Taj’s testimony came a day after an emotional afternoon in court Wednesday for Michael Jackson’s former creative partner, Kenny Ortega.
Ortega was directing Jackson for his This Is It comeback concert series in London and choked back tears as he described the way the singer looked in the days before his June 2009 death.
“I saw a Michael that frightened me,” Ortega said, calling Jackson’s appearance “very, very troubling”.
Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, has accused executives at AEG of being negligent in the hiring and supervision of Conrad Murray, hired to look after Michael Jackson’s health during the This Is It concerts.
She claims the company missed warning signs about her son’s health and failed to properly investigate Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter after giving the singer an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
AEG denies any wrongdoing.