Promoter: 'MJ' was 'drunk and despondent'

Sept. 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Michael Jackson was "drunk and despondent" shortly before announcing his plans to headline a series of London concerts, a show promoter said.

Jackson was 50 when he died shortly before the shows were to start. His personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering lethal levels of sedatives and anesthesia to the pop star in an effort to help him sleep.

The Los Angeles Times said it had obtained e-mails suggesting the company producing the 50-show run doubted Jackson was physically or mentally fit to perform the concerts.

"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent ... I [am] trying to sober him up," veteran music promoter Randy Phillips wrote in one e-mail to his supervisor at Anschutz Entertainment, Group President Tim Leiweke, the day Jackson announced the concerts.

"I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking," Phillips wrote. "He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self loathing and doubt now that it is show time."

Jackson ultimately made it on stage for the news conference announcing the shows but was 90 minutes late and said little.

The Times said Phillips' e-mail is among numerous messages from people connected to the shows, which could play a central role in a wrongful-death lawsuit Jackson's family filed against AEG. The company is also being sued by its insurer, Lloyd's of London, which says AEG was not honest about the singer's health and ability to fulfill his contract.

AEG has denied any wrongdoing, the newspaper said.

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