CEO describes Jackson as forceful businessman
FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, Michael Jackson speaks at a news conference in London. AEG Live LLC CEO Randy Phillips told a jury Wednesday June 12, 2013 that they have heard an inaccurate portrait of Jackson during an ongoing civil trial, and said the entertainer was a sophisticated businessman and not a “drug-addled 5-year-old.” The company and Phillips are being sued by Jackson’s mother, claiming they did not properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing her son’s death in 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of AEG Live LLC told jurors Wednesday that he knew Michael Jackson as a sophisticated, forceful businessman and not the drugged-up performer who's been described throughout an ongoing civil trial filed over the singer's untimely death.
Jackson was a far more complex figure than has been portrayed during the trial of a case filed by the singer's mother against AEG Live over her son's death, said Randy Philips, the company's president and CEO.
Phillips said based on meetings he had with Jackson in 2008 and early 2009, he found Jackson to be a "sophisticated man who had control of his life."
The portrait of Jackson that's been presented to the jury during the seven-week trial has been inaccurate, Phillips said. Jackson was described by both sides in opening statements as struggling with prescription drug addiction throughout his life.
Phillips said he disagreed with the descriptions of Jackson "because he's been presented as drug-addled 5-year-old. That was not the man I dealt with. The man I dealt with was forceful. Kind, but determined. He was a force."
Jurors have been presented with conflicting accounts of Jackson, even from Philips. They will have to weigh the different portrayals when they decide who is liable for the singer's June 2009 death.
FILE - In this July 2, 2009 file photo, AEG CEO Randy Phillips speaks to members of the media in Los Angeles. Phillips told jurors hearing a negligent hiring lawsuit filed against him and his company by Jackson’s mother that he did not believe the company was responsible for the King of Pop’s death and that he believed the case was a shakedown by the Jackson family during testimony on Tuesday June 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
Katherine Jackson's lawyers contend AEG failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing her son's death, pushing her son too hard to perform and missed warning signs of his health. AEG, however, contends Michael Jackson hid his addiction to the powerful anesthetic propofol and that the company could not have foreseen that the singer's doctor was giving him the drug as a sleep aid.
Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake in the negligent hiring trial.
Phillips said he didn't see signs that Jackson was struggling with prescription drugs when he met with the entertainer to discuss options for his "This Is It" comeback concerts scheduled for London's O2 Arena in 2009. Phillips has also told jurors that Michael Jackson never told him he was having trouble sleeping.
The executive has described the superstar as difficult to work with, often changing managers and ideas about what he wanted creatively.