LOS ANGELES, Calif. — An AEG Live lawyer made an embarrassing mistake in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial — confusing HLN host Nancy Grace with the Jacksons’ former nanny.
It happened Thursday as attorney Kathryn Cahan cross examined Taj Jackson — Michael Jackson’s oldest nephew — who had just described a close and lovely relationship between the late pop icon and his three children.
Did Taj Jackson think Grace Rwaramba — who served for years as the nanny for Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson — was “dishonest at times,” Cahan asked.
The judge ordered him to answer, overruling a Jackson lawyer’s objections that the question was irrelevant to the case.
“I have not experienced her dishonesty,” Jackson answered.
Cahan then presented something she apparently thought would discredit Jackson’s testimony, showing he was not being honest. It was a “TwitLonger” message posted online by him on December 11, 2011. TwitLonger is a service that allows users to post longer messages on Twitter.
Taj Jackson was discussing his dislike of journalist Roger Friedman, who he called “anti-Jackson” and a “sneaky snake.”
“Sorry… but there are a couple of people who truly disgust me. And to me, he belongs in the same category as Grace, Dimond, and Bashir,” he wrote.
Does that document refresh his recollection of your opinion of Grace Rwaramba, Cahan asked.
“That’s not the same,” he responded. “That’s Nancy Grace!”
It took several seconds for the loud laughter in the courtroom to subside.
Dimond is Diane Dimond, a journalist unpopular with many Jackson fans for writing a book about Jackson’s child molestation trial, and Bashir is the journalist who conducted a series of interviews with Jackson that fans blame for triggering the molestation charges.
Grace Rwaramba — not the TV host — is expected to testify in the next week about her observations of Michael Jackson’s relationship with his children.
If jurors decide that AEG Live is liable for damages in Jackson’s death, they will have to place a monetary value on the emotional loss his children suffered. Two handwritten notes found in Jackson’s bedroom by the family were read to jurors Thursday in an effort to demonstrate the love.
Taj Jackson identified one as the handwriting of Paris, who was 11 when her father died: “Dear Daddy, I love you so much & I’m so glad I got a goodnight hug. Sleep well. I love you and good night. I’ll see you tomorrow. XOX Goodnight. Lots of love Paris Jackson”
The other note was Michael Jackson’s handwriting: “Words of Blanket my son, 6 years young. ‘What’s your favorite letter Daddy? Mine is ‘G’ for God and D for Daddy’ age 6, Blanket.”
Jackson lawyer Deborah Chang suggested the father’s note showed how dedicated he was to his children since he took time to write down what his young son said.
An expert in entertainment economics will be on the stand when the trial enters its12th week Monday in a Los Angeles court. Certified Public Accountant Arthur Erk, who audits the earnings of some of the world’s biggest entertainers, will give his opinion on how much income Jackson would have earned had he not died of a propofol overdose while preparing for a comeback tour four years ago.
Jackson’s mother and three children contend that AEG Live, the promoter and producer of the “This Is It” concerts, was liable for the the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
AEG Live lawyers argue it was Jackson, not their executives, who chose and controlled Dr. Murray and that they had no way of knowing about the dangerous propofol infusions he was giving Jackson to treat his insomnia.
Alan Duke | CNN