In a case that attorneys promised would dive into Michael Jackson’s personal life, jurors were shown photographs Thursday of the eccentric music legend's messy, clothes-strewn second-floor bedroom in the rented mansion where he died.
Although the foyer of the Holmby Hills home was pristine — a lavish, open space with ornate gold frames — and the dining room boasted flowing white curtains around giant windows that allowed in streaming sunlight, the second floor presented a scene that was radically different, jurors were told in the wrongful-death case brought by the singer's family against entertainment firm AEG.
On June 25, 2009, the day of Jackson’s death, the master bedroom on the second floor was in disarray, Los Angeles Police Det. Orlando Martinez testified. The curtains were pulled and the fireplace was on.
A portable rack was jammed with hangers of clothing. More clothes were strewn about the room, including on the rumpled bedspread. On a desk were stacks of what appeared to be DVDs and papers. Books lay in piles on the floor. Lining the hallway floor that led from the bedroom to the master closet and a bathroom were piles of clothes.
Inside the closet was a globe, shopping bags, a dress form with a red coat trimmed in black, and cardboard boxes that overflowed with even more clothes.
Papers were strewn about the star’s bathroom, which had another cardboard box stuffed with clothing. Bags and towels lay scattered about. Inside the inlaid marble bathtub were additional towels. Nearby sat fancy glass bottles filled with liquids.
Although merely a peek into Jackson's private life, the photos presented during the fourth day of the case could foreshadow what's to come in a trial expected to last four months.
The suit filed by Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and his three children accuses concert promoter AEG of pushing the singer beyond his physical abilities and of negligently hiring and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave Jackson a fatal dose of propofol and is now serving a jail term for involuntary manslaughter.
On Thursday, the family’s attorney played a phone message to Murray left by Jackson’s manager Frank DiLeo on June 20, 2009.
“I’m sure you’re aware he had an episode last night. He’s sick. Today’s Saturday, tomorrow I’m on my way back. I’m not gonna continue my trip. Uh, I think you need -- I think you need to get a blood test on him today. I -- I -- we gotta see what he’s doing. All right. Thank you.”
Brian Panish, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said he believed that DiLeo had spoken with an AEG executive just prior to making the phone call.
Five days later, Jackson was dead.
Martinez testified that on the day of the singer’s death, he went to Jackson’s home, which boasted a movie theater, workout room, dance area and a wine cellar.
Although the entryway was immaculate, the second floor — where Jackson had been found by paramedics earlier that morning — was a deep contrast.
A search warrant and affidavit said that no adults besides Jackson were known to live at the location and that the staff was only allowed to be present on the ground floor. Martinez testified that the chef was allowed to leave food outside a door upstairs.
Martinez said that when he arrived, Jackson’s children and his brother Randy were at the home. He also saw three cars, including Murray’s BMW.
Investigators attempted to reach Murray but the doctor did not answer his phone or return calls, which seemed suspicious, Martinez said.
“If it was a medical emergency or a natural death, why would he be refusing to speak with us? Why would he leave the hospital after he was asked to stay? Why would he not go back to pick up his car?” Martinez said.
Murray was tracked through his cellphone and found in Santa Monica. Detectives interviewed him two days after Jackson’s death.
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