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Michael Jackson's makeup artist cross-examined in wrongful death lawsuit

May 10, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson's former makeup artist testified about Jackson's drug use at the singer's wrongful-death trial Friday.

In the courtroom Friday, dueling attorneys showed jurors two versions of a 1999 clip of Michael Jackson in concert.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, assert that a mishap injured Michael's back and sent him into a cycle of dependency on painkillers. A longer view from the defense for AEG showed what happened later: Jackson never flinched while finishing the song.

Among the questions for the jury in the case brought against AEG by Katherine Jackson: How much did AEG managers know about Jackson's early abuse of medications? And were they negligent 10 years later for hiring a doctor who secretly administered to Jackson the surgical sedative propofol, which caused Jackson's death?

Karen Faye, Jackson's former makeup artist, testified Friday. Faye described how Jackson's health had changed over 27 years. She said that his legs, once muscular, were thin, and his face was skeletal. She said that Jackson was not strong enough for the rigorous concert schedule set by AEG.

She recounted an alarming moment with Jackson's costume designer, who was fitting him. She testified that he said to her, "Oh my God, I could see Michael's heart beating through his skin." The response, Faye says she overheard from Jackson's manager, Frank Dileo: "Get him a bucket of chicken." Faye wept.

"It was such a cold response. It broke my heart," Faye said.

Faye recounted multiple incidents that she says alarmed her about Jackson's use of painkillers from the time he was burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, to the stress of his criminal trial on molestation charges, to the day at rehearsal before he died.

Yet under cross-examination, Faye said she never had a single conversation with Jackson about his drug use, and that there was a period of time after Jackson went through rehab in 1993 that he seemed to be fine.

Faye said she had one discussion with Jackson family members who wanted to get him help, but that Michael would not cooperate.

Testimony resumes Monday with a staffer who worked on Jackson's final production, and the coroner who performed Jackson's autopsy.


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