LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson was more engaged in his final two rehearsals for his ill-fated comeback concerts, but his longtime stylist told jurors Friday she had lingering concerns over whether the entertainer was healthy enough to pull off the shows.
Karen Faye said Jackson's last rehearsals were much improved over previous efforts, but she was concerned about his physical and emotional health and thought that drug use might be a factor.
Faye said she was concerned about whether Jackson would be able to perform the high-intensity shows since shortly after they were announced in March 2009, but grew more worried after working with him and seeing him unable to gain weight and struggle to rehearse.
That changed on the two nights before Jackson's June 25, 2009, death. The singer showed flashes of the friend and entertainer she had worked with over a 27-year period.
"I was somewhat relieved because I saw more of Michael, he was laughing and he was actually participating in a rehearsal," Faye said.
Jackson's demeanor and stage presence were still diminished from previous years, she said, and she was struggling to understand why. She said she couldn't ask him directly because of other issues.
"Michael wasn't very coherent in that last week," Faye said. The judge struck that answer after an objection.
Faye resumed testifying Friday after a seven-week hiatus in her testimony due to scheduling issues. She was responding to questions by a defense lawyer for AEG Live LLC, which is being sued by Jackson's mother.
Katherine Jackson claims AEG executives missed signs about the singer's health and failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of administering a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
AEG denies it hired Conrad Murray, the former physician convicted of giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. The company also denies it pushed Jackson to rehearse.
Faye told jurors that she was never pressured by AEG executives Randy Phillips or Paul Gongaware to get Jackson to rehearse.
The stylist testified earlier in the trial that she overheard Gongaware tell Jackson's assistant to get him out of a locked bathroom and to a rehearsal. Gongaware denies that conversation ever happened.
Associated Press writer Sarah Parvini contributed to this report.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP . Follow Sarah Parvini on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/parviniparlance.