Consulting Firm Says Michael Jackson Was Not Healthy Enough To Perform ‘This Is It’ Concert Shows
Under intense cross-examination, a consulting firm executive today clung to his belief that Michael Jackson was not healthy enough to perform all 50 shows for his planned “This Is It” concert series.
Eric Briggs seemed befuddled at times by the questions posed to him by plaintiffs’ attorney Brian Panish. He often hesitated for several seconds before answering, and some of his responses were stricken by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos as irrelevant.
The testimony of Briggs, senior managing director of FTI Consulting, came as the 14th week of trial continued in the negligence/wrongful death lawsuit that family matriarch Katherine Jackson filed in September 2010 against AEG Live, the promoter of her late son’s planned comeback shows. His testimony has contrasted with that of a plaintiffs’ expert, CPA Arthur Erk, who estimated Jackson could have earned $1.5 billion by taking the “This Is It” tour worldwide after the initial 50 shows were completed in London. The suit, which also names the singer’s three children as plaintiffs, alleges that the company hired Dr. Conrad Murray as the pop star’s physician for the tour and failed to supervise him properly. But AEG Live maintains it was Jackson who hired Murray in 2006 as his personal physician and chose him to be his doctor during his “This Is It” concerts.
Briggs said he was relying in part on the opinion of another doctor — not Murray — that Jackson did not have a long life expectancy at the time leading up to the concerts, which were to start in July 2009.
“AEG Live thought Michael Jackson could perform 50 shows, didn’t they?,” Panish asked Briggs.
Briggs replied that he was unsure what the entertainment conglomerate thought about Jackson’s capabilities.
“Who knows more about touring, you or (AEG Live executives) Paul Gongaware or Randy Phillips?” Panish asked.
“I can’t speak to their specific knowledge of assessing risks,” Briggs said.
Asked by Panish whether AEG Live was “fraudulently” claiming that Jackson could perform all 50 concerts, Briggs said, “I can’t offer an opinion on that.”
Briggs said his company’s clients are free to make up their own minds on issues facing them.
“Sometimes our clients take our advice and sometimes they don’t,” he said.
“Would you advise them to fire Dr. Murray?” Panish asked.
After an objection by AEG Live attorney Sabrina Strong, Palazuelos did not allow Briggs to answer the question.
Jackson was in Los Angeles rehearsing for the tour when he died at age 50 on June 25, 2009. Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer a lethal intravenous dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid and was sentenced to four years in jail.