LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Documents displayed for a jury Wednesday showed the promoter of Michael Jackson’s ill-fated comeback concerts had contemplated a worldwide tour for the entertainer in the year before his death.
The documents prepared by AEG Live LLC envisioned 186 shows, with Jackson earning $132 million for his performances — far less than the $835 million that an accountant who previously testified for the Jackson family had projected the singer would pocket from 260 shows around the globe.
The company’s plans and calculations were presented to jurors hearing a negligent hiring lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson against AEG Live. Katherine Jackson’s lawyers used the tour schedule to show the company had plans to mount an international comeback for the entertainer and that their expert’s assertions were supported by AEG’s own plans.
The AEG Live figures were intended to counter the previous estimate of Jackson’s earning power prepared by certified public accountant Arthur Erk.
Erk had said Jackson could have earned more than $1 billion if merchandise sales, endorsement deals and the creation of a Las Vegas show were included in his take.
However, a lawyer for AEG Live got Erk to concede Tuesday that his projections were not based on historical figures of Jackson’s earnings or spending.
The expert witness for the Jackson family also testified he added in lost earning projections from clothing endorsements.
AEG showed the jury a portion of Erk’s video deposition in attempt to discredit his estimate of Jackson’s potential lost earnings.
“Any evidence anyone was interested in clothing endorsement?” he was asked.
“Not that I saw,” Erk says.
The touring schedule drafted by AEG Live in September 2008 included shows in Europe, India, Australia and the United States. It was prepared by a top AEG Live executive trying to coax Jackson back on stage for the first time in more than a decade.
Jackson eventually agreed to do a series of concerts in London’s O2 Arena. He died in June 2009 while rehearsals were underway for the “This Is It” shows.
His last tour had been in 1997, but the singer was scheduled to perform 50 shows in London beginning in July 2009. Jackson had not agreed to perform shows in any other countries.
Jackson died of an overdose of the anesthetic propofol administered by a doctor in June 2009. His mother claims AEG Live failed to properly investigate the doctor who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
A jury of six men and six women is hearing the lawsuit and would consider possible damages if AEG is found liable.
The company denies it hired the doctor or bears any responsibility for the superstar’s death.
AEG Live projected that Jackson would earn between $22 million and $30.7 million for the London This Is It shows. The singer did not have any sponsorship or endorsement deals for performances.
Jurors also watched a clips from deposition testimony by Jackson’s daughter Paris, who said her father told her that he didn’t plan to perform after the London shows but did intend to take his children on a worldwide tour.
“He still had a lot of music that he was still working on, but he kind of needed to relax,” Paris Jackson said.
Paris is seen holding back a yawn in the video while she answered questions from AEG’s lawyers.
“Did he explain how long the tour was going to last?” she was asked.
“I assume a long time since it was a world tour. Those usually last a long time,” she said.
The case continues.
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