LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Michael Jackson’s ex-wife took the stand for the second time Thursday in his family’s wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live.
It was another emotional day in court as attorneys for the Jackson family dominated questioning.
Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1996 to 1999, told the jury he was battling with a combination of medical problems, prompting doctors to compete for his loyalty and over-prescribe pain medications.
She said Jackson trusted them and testified that people who get the worst medical care are the very rich and the very poor.
“The very rich can buy it, the very poor can’t afford it and the famous can dictate it,” she said.
When asked if Michael Jackson was one of the famous who dictated his medical care, she clarified her remarks.
“I wouldn’t say he was dictating. He was more begging for relief,” Rowe said.
Rowe described Jackson’s performances as surreal, saying that her favorite part was when a fan was allowed on stage.
The jury was shown a clip of one of the singer’s performances from his HIStory tour, in which the singer embraces a fan rushing to him on stage.
Rowe watched from the witness stand and cried.
She also talked about her decision to bear the two eldest of Jackson’s three children, Prince and Paris Jackson.
“Michael wanted to be a father. I didn’t sign on to be a mom. I loved him very much and I still do. I wanted him to be a father. I wanted him to have everything he didn’t have growing up. I wanted him to experience it with his own child, with his own children,” she said.
When asked what impact Jackson’s death has had on his children, Rowe sobbed.
“Their father is dead!” she said.
Rowe broke down when describing her recent relationship with her daughter Paris. She said she had been in daily touch with the teen until she had to be hospitalized on June 5, when paramedics were summoned to the Jackson family home in Calabasas.
Paris, 15, took Motrin pills and cut her arm with a kitchen knife, according to emergency dispatchers.
“She is devastated,” Rowe said. “She tried to kill herself. She is devastated. She has no life. She doesn’t feel she has a life anymore.”
Jackson family representatives have not provided an update or publicly classified her hospitalization as a suicide attempt. Jurors have heard from her older brother, Prince, but have only seen Paris through a couple clips of her deposition and have heard references to her struggling with her father’s death.
When attorneys for AEG asked Rowe about Jackson’s use of propofol, the anesthetic that caused his 2009 death, she said he used the drug to sleep the night before his 1997 concert in Munich.
She first became concerned about his use of the drug in the late 80s and early 90s.
The lead attorney for AEG said the reason he called Rowe as a defense witness was for the jury to understand the history of Jackson’s use of propofol.
“This is a drug that Michael Jackson had been using for decades and no one knew about it except for those in his right inner circle,” Marvin Putnam said.
Attorneys for the Jackson family say Rowe was a good witness for them as well, showing the jury that Jackson was a good father who trusted his doctors.
Rowe is testifying in a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother against AEG Live LLC, the promoter of Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” comeback concerts.
There was a powerful moment in the courtroom when Rowe got off the stand and walked up to Katherine, who was sitting in the front row, and bent down to hug her before they began crying together.
Rowe then looked up at Trent Jackson, Katherine’s 6’1″, 250lb nephew, and asked, “Are you taking good care of her?” and in a light-hearted moment added, “If you’re not I’m going to beat you up,” prompting a laugh.
Katherine Jackson claims in her lawsuit that AEG Live failed to properly investigate Conrad Murray, the doctor later convicted of giving her son an overdose of propofol while he prepared for his ill-fated comeback concert series.
AEG denies it hired Conrad Murray or bears any responsibility for the singer’s death.
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