Prince Jackson, Michael’s Oldest Son, Opens Up on the Stand
Michael’s 16-year-old soon took the stand in his family’s billion-dollar trial, describing in graphic detail the night his superstar father died, how his siblings are doing, and more. Christine Pelisek reports.
Prior to Michael Jackson’s overdose in his Los Angeles home, the singer complained to his son that concert promoter AEG was “killing him,” according to testimony from Prince Michael Jackson on Wednesday.
“He would get off the phone and cry sometimes,” said Prince, 16, who testified for two hours as part of his family’s billion-dollar negligence lawsuit against AEG, which alleges that the company was negligent when they hired Dr. Conrad Murray to oversee Jackson’s care as he prepared for his comeback tour. AEG says it didn’t hire Murray, nor is it to blame for Jackson’s death.
Prince’s dramatic testimony was the first from one of Jackson’s children in the high-profile trial.
“He would say, ‘They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me,” Jackson’s oldest son testified about the tense phone conversations between his father, his father’s ex-manager Dr. Tohme Tohme, and AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips.
Prince told the jury that the late King of Pop was not a fighter. “He was like my grandmother,” he said. “He was too kind to fight. That’s why he would call my grandfather.”
Prince, who wore a black suit in the courtroom with a dark grey tie and his shoulder-length brown hair slicked behind his ears, said his father was excited about going on the planned “This Is It” tour but wasn’t happy with some of the conditions of the shows. He complained that “he wished he had more time for rehearsals,” said Prince.
Along with his grandmother Katherine, his sister Paris, and his brother Blanket, Prince is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. In court on Thursday, he recalled that Phillips stopped by Jackson’s rented mansion on the day before his death and got into a confrontation with Murray, who was found guilty in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson an overdose of the anaesthetic Propofol.
“He grabbed his elbow,” Prince said. “It looked aggressive to me.”
During his testimony, Prince said he met Murray in Las Vegas when he began treating him and his siblings after they came down with the flu or food poisoning. He said Murray began to stay overnight at their Holmby Hills mansion when they left Las Vegas. “He would come over every day except Sunday night,” the teenager said. At the mansion, Prince testified that none of Jackson’s employees except for Murray was allowed upstairs. He said his father also kept his bedroom door locked.
He said he saw Murray give Jackson injections of clear liquid in the library, sitting room, and the second-floor bedroom. Prince said he believed it was for “protein.”
“I was 12,” he said. “To my understanding [Murray] was supposed to make sure my dad stayed healthy.” Prince said he noticed that his father wasn’t feeling well a few weeks before his death. His father, he said, would complain about being “freezing cold” or too hot. “He was definitely not strong enough,” he said.
Prince said AEG and Jackson’s doctors had easy access to the family property. “All of the doctors and AEG Live members were allowed in,” he said said, but people “like my Grandpa” were not, he said.
On the day of Jackson’s 2009 death, Prince said he was downstairs when he heard a scream and ran to the kitchen to see what was going on. He said he went upstairs and saw Murray performing CPR on Jackson who “was hanging half off the bed and his eyes rolled behind his head.” He said Murray was screaming while he was performing the CPR.
Paris, he said, was also screaming. Later, Prince said, Murray told him that Jackson died of a heart attack. “‘Sorry kids. Dad's dead,’” he said Murray told him. “I just cried.”
Asked how Paris is handling her father’s death now, Prince responded: “Of all the siblings I think she was hit the hardest. She was my dad’s princess and it hurt her a lot.” Prince said Paris, who recently attempted to kill herself by overdosing on Motrin and cutting herself with a kitchen knife, had developed emotional issues after lawyers deposed her in the lawsuit.
“Is she going through a rough time?” asked Brian Panish, a member of the Jacksons’ legal team.
“Yes,” he replied.
Asked how Blanket was coping, Prince said: “I don’t know if Blanket realizes what he lost because he was so young.”
Prince’s testimony was peppered with sweet anecdotes about his father, who he said taught him how to write screenplays and would leave inspirational messages for himself on his bedroom mirror. Prince said he didn’t realize how famous his father was until he saw girls “were being carried out at concerts. We listened to his music but we never really knew how famous he was.”
About wearing the masks? Prince, who said he had a GPA of 3.68, said that he didn’t like it at the time but now understood why his father did it. “He didn’t want people to see what we looked like, so if we went off alone we would have a normal childhood,” he said. “Now I get followed all the time, so I know now why he did it.”
Throughout the two-hour testimony, Jackson’s lawyer played videos and showed photos of Jackson with his children. He also played portions of two of Jackson’s songs, “Lost Children” and “You Are My Life,” an ode to his kids.