From excitement of world tour to farcical death, sad final days described by his PA
Published 30/09/2011 | 05:00
IT WAS a tale of two Michaels yesterday as the singer's personal assistant took the witness stand.
Michael Amir Williams described the last days of his world famous boss from the soaring excitement of preparing for a world tour to the tragic farce surrounding his death.
Mr Williams explained how the superstar's last 72 hours were filled with the adulation of fans, a rehearsal performance which all those privileged enough to see described as spectacular.
He detailed the amazing and intense preparations for Jackson's highly anticipated comeback in London, a court heard.
In good spirits, Jackson chatted with well-wishers outside his home and at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles where he practised songs and dance routines before he returned home.
Then, things took a heartbreaking turn, Mr Williams said. The superstar's PA explained he had accompanied Jackson to the rehearsal and had dropped him home, and said he got an hysterical call the next day from Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.
"He said, 'Get here right away. Mr Jackson had a bad reaction'. He said, 'Get someone up here right away'," Mr Williams told the Los Angeles jury.
Security guard Faheem Muhammad then came to the stand, describing what he saw when he arrived at the scene.
He told how he arrived at the singer's bedroom to find Dr Murray sweating and nervous, leaning over Jackson and trying to revive him.
Evidence on the second day of the trial helped shed light on what Dr Murray did and did not do after he found Jackson unconscious. Dr Murray (58) who has pleaded not guilty, could face up to four years in prison and would have to relinquish his medical licence.
On June 24, 2009, the day before Jackson's death, Dr Murray was in negotiations to join Jackson on his tour as his personal physician, said lawyer Kathy Jorrie. She said she was gathering information for an insurance company to make sure Jackson was in good health and could be insured.
"Dr Murray told me repeatedly that Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition. Don't worry about it. He's great," she recalled.
Ms Jorrie said Dr Murray had added to his contract a provision for a CPR machine when they got to London for the highly touted show which would include 50 concerts over nine months.
"He needed to be sure if something went wrong he would have such a machine available," she said. "He also told me it was customary."
Dr Murray signed the contract, which would give him $150,000 a month, and faxed it to her that night, she said. Jackson, however, would never get to sign it.
In the late afternoon of June 24, Mr Williams said he arranged for a car and accompanied his boss to Staples Centre for a key rehearsal. He said Jackson was in good spirits and had the car stop at the gate so he could roll down the window and chat to fans who were always camped there. Outside the house, parked in its usual spot, was Dr Murray's car.
The next day at 12.13pm his mobile phone rang. There was a message from Dr Murray.
"Were you asked to call 911?" prosecutor David Walgren asked.
"No sir," Mr Williams said.
Mr Williams said he arrived just as Jackson's body was being loaded into an ambulance. He helped to gather Jackson's three children and put them in a car to follow the ambulance.
Mr Williams said he was standing outside the hospital emergency room area when Dr Murray and a group of doctors emerged. "He walked out and closed the curtains," he said softly. "He said, 'He passed'."
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Ed Chernoff questioned Mr Williams about Dr Murray's actions at the hospital. Mr Chernoff suggested Mr Williams should have known from Murray's call that there was an emergency.
Mr Williams said: "When I hear someone had a bad reaction, I don't think anything fatal. He didn't tell me to call 911."