Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Testimony focuses on finances


Jackson turned songs to platinum, but jurors heard testimony from accountant Arthur Erk, a witness for the Jacksons, that the artist spent money faster than he made it and that Jackson was broke when he signed with AEG to stage his comeback tour.

Erk had testified that Jackson could have earned as much as $1.5 billion from the tour had he lived. AEG's defense on Tuesday attacked Erk's figures.

Jackson's most popular tours -- "Bad," "Dangerous" and "History" -- were performed over a 10-year span. Erk said the "This Is It" tour could sell out 260 concert dates over 37 months. Erk conceded that Jackson agreed to 50 shows, not 260.

About Jackson's ability to fill concert venues, Erk had listed potential concert sites throughout the world. Under cross examination, he said he obtained his information from Wikipedia and did not know that a major sport site in India did not even allow concerts.

"It was a creation and a fabrication that was presented to the jury as an idea of what Mr. Jackson would have made, which was more than he made in his lifetime," said AEG defense attorney Marvin Putnam.

The defense also raised questions about Jackson's marketability after dangling his baby over a balcony and his molestation trial. Future earnings potential will be an issue for the jury only if they decide AEG is liable for the actions of Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. The defense says Jackson's debt must also be calculated too.

Jurors heard Tuesday that Jackson signed his tour agreement after borrowing all he could on what he owned, including his mother's house, which was on the verge of foreclosure.

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