Makeup artist says Jackson was pushed to rehearse
FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, Michael Jackson announces several concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, at a press conference at the London O2 Arena. Jackson's longtime makeup artist tearfully described to jurors in a Los Angeles courtroom on Thursday, May 9, 2013, the singer's struggles with back pain and insomnia after suffering injuries during his career. Witness Karen Faye also recalled how Jackson's reliance on medications coincided with the first time he was accused of child molestation in the early 1990s. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's longtime makeup artist testified Thursday that she overhead an executive for concert promoter AEG Live insist that the singer rehearse despite signs of Jackson's declining health.
Karen Faye, who worked with Jackson for more than 27 years, told jurors she became increasingly concerned about Jackson's health and agreed with a fan's assessment that the singer might die if he was pushed too hard in preparations for his "This Is It" concerts.
AEG executives continued to push Jackson, Faye said. She testified she overheard a phone conversation in which AEG executive Paul Gongaware told Jackson's assistant to get him out of a locked bathroom and to a rehearsal.
Faye described Gongaware, AEG Live's co-CEO, as "angry and kind of desperate" in the conversation. She testified Gongaware told the assistant to do "whatever it takes."
Faye said the only people she saw insist that Jackson rehearse were Gongaware and tour director Kenny Ortega.
The makeup artist and hair stylist is testifying in a case brought by Jackson's mother, Katherine, against AEG Live LLC. The suit accuses the Los Angeles-based company of failing to properly investigate the doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the singer's death. Her attorneys also contend the company didn't properly respond to concerns about the singer's health.
AEG denies it hired Murray or bears any liability for Jackson's death.
Faye said she informed Ortega, Jackson's manager and AEG Live co-CEO Randy Phillips about her concerns about Jackson's health during the preparations for the shows. She said Jackson was frustrated and after a costume fitting days before his death repeatedly asked her, "Why can't I choose?"
She said that after Jackson missed several rehearsals, Phillips told her to ignore the singer's instructions.
Jurors are expected to hear from Ortega, Phillips and Gongaware later in the trial.
Faye, choking back tears, read portions of an email from one of Jackson's fans that she forwarded to his now deceased manager, Frank Dileo. It described the singer as a skeleton.
FILE - In this April 27, 2011 file photo, Katherine Jackson poses for a portrait in Calabasas, Calif. An expert told jurors Tuesday May 7, 2013 that Michael Jackson's doctor was not qualified to treat the singer for insomnia or drug addiction. Jackson's mother is suing AEG Live LLC claiming it failed to properly investigate Jackson's doctor before allowing him to work on the singer's planned 2009 comeback concerts. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
"If we do nothing, he will die," the fan wrote. "I know people who work for him cannot tell him anything. I know his own family tried to help him but he won't listen."