Michael Jackson Takes the Witness Stand
The pop star, 44, is charged by his longtime promoter, Marcel Avram, with backing out of two millennium New Year's Eve concerts (to have taken place on either side of the International Dateline, one in Honolulu and one in Sydney, Australia).
Plaintiff Avram testified that he was "shocked" when Jackson pulled out of the planned concerts. Jackson's attorney, Zia Modabber, countered that Avram postponed the performances after realizing they would not be profitable, Reuters reported.
The surgical mask was gone by the time Jackson was sworn in on the stand, though he did wear a bandage on his nose and pancake makeup all over his face, Reuters reported. He also showed the start of a scruffy beard and mustache, as evidenced by press photos.
During his three hours of testimony, Jackson, speaking softly, pointed a finger at Avram, saying it was he who had canceled the shows with a single phone call. Avram's lawyer, Louis "Skip" Miller, however, suggested that the call never happened. Jackson took issue with his statement.
"I remember feeling a little bit upset because I was looking forward to doing the millennium shows," Jackson said, according to Reuters. "I was so excited about them that I told people in my organization that we should reach the Guinness Book of World Records because I felt that these would be the most-watched events of all time."
Miller then accused Jackson of a "discrepancy" in his account, but the star stood by his recollection of the call.
"It's not unusual for my mental clarity to be heightened," he said in a high-pitched whisper, according to the news service.
Jackson's testimony is expected to continue Thursday.