Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Director Kenny Ortega breaks down during emotional testimony


The Michael Jackson production that ignited so much excitement in March 2009 was in trouble three months later, according to its director, Kenny Ortega.

Ortega testified Wednesday that he had observed Jackson under the influence of something four times as they prepared for the show.

Then came the June night when Jackson was shivering, too sick to perform, said Ortega. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was nowhere around.

Emotion filled the courtroom as Ortega read aloud the email he had sent to Jackson's tour promoters at AEG. Ortega described symptoms beyond chills.

"My concern is that the artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to real emotional stuff. ... He was trembling, rambling, obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated," Ortega said.

Ortega broke down, wiping tears from his eyes as he read on: "It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy."

The court then took a break as Ortega composed himself.

Earlier it was Katherine Jackson weeping as her attorney recalled the premonition of an associate producer who worried that night that Jackson would die.

The Jacksons are suing AEG Live for the singer's wrongful death, claiming that the two top executives ignored warning signs and failed to monitor Dr. Murray.

The defense says they will bring out that no one raised concerns about Jackson's health until Ortega wrote the email, and that AEG responded immediately, notifying Jackson's managers, then meeting with Jackson and his doctor.

Ortega testified that at that meeting, Murray was angry, telling Ortega: "Don't be an amateur psychiatrist."

Ortega testified that days later Jackson had a miraculous recovery. The star was back on stage, assuring all was well, just hours before he died of a sedative overdose.

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