Everybody was lying after Michael Jackson died
CNN News Wire | 5/13/2013, 10:20 a.m.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. --The portrait of Michael Jackson in the last week of his life, painted by people close to him, is a disturbing picture of an emaciated man, unable to sleep or eat, and unlikely to be ready for his comeback concerts just days away.
"Oh, my God, Turkle, I can see Michael's heart beat through the skin in his chest," stylist Michael Bush said after a costume fitting six days before his death on June 19, 2009.
Turkle is the nickname of make up artist Karen Faye, who testified Thursday and Friday in Jackson's wrongful death trial. Her testimony has been the most dramatic so far.
Proceedings continue Monday with choreographer Stacy Walker on the witness stand.
"Get him a bucket of chicken," manager Frank DiLeo said in reply to concerns about Jackson's weight loss, Faye testified.
"It was such a cold response, it broke my heart," Faye said through tears.
Michael Jackson's mother and three children contend concert promoter AEG Live is liable in Jackson's death because its executives ignored his health problem and pressured him to prepare for his "This Is It" shows set to debut in London in July 2009.
AEG Live negligently hired, retained and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop icon's death, according to the Jackson's lawsuit.
The coroner blamed Jackson's June 25, 2009 death on an overdose of propofol, combined with sedatives, given to him by Dr. Murray as a treatment for insomnia.
AEG lawyers contend that it was Jackson, and not AEG, who hired and supervised Dr. Murray, and that he was responsible for his own decisions. They said these were influenced by a drug addiction its executives did not and could not be expected to know about.
Witness: "Everybody was lying after he died"
The Michael Jackson the public saw in the documentary "This Is It" -- produced months after his death with 80 hours of video shot during his last rehearsals -- is not reality, Faye said.
She was asked to help retouch the video to make Jackson look healthier on the big screen, she testified. But she refused.
"It was a lie. I didn't want to lie," Faye said. "Everybody was lying after he died, saying that Michael was well, and everybody knew he wasn't. I felt that retouching Michael was just a part of that lie."
Before Faye testified, jurors heard a similarly disturbing description of Jackson in his final days from "This Is It" associate producer Alif Sankey.
Jackson "was not speaking normally" at the June 19 costume fitting, Sankey said. She and producer Kenny Ortega cried after he left because of his appearance and what he said.
"God keeps talking to me,"Jackson told Ortega, Sankey testified.
Faye said Jackson seemed "frightened," and he was talking to himself, repeating "the same thing over and over again."
"He kept repeating, 'Why can't I choose?'" she said.
Jackson was shivering from chills, and it was "like I was touching ice" when she put on his make up, Faye testified.