The Jackson family was in attendance at the courthouse, including father Joseph, mother Katherine, sisters LaToya and Janet, and brothers Jermaine, Randy and Tito. The family also believes Murray was responsible for the singer’s death.
“All Michael wanted to do was sleep. He didn’t want to die,” said his older brother, Jermaine Jackson.
The case will enter a crucial final act in a packed courtroom with opening statements and the start of testimony. Worldwide media and audiences are expected to tune into the trial, as proceedings will be televised and broadcast online. Early Tuesday morning, both Jackson fans and the doctor’s supporters had gathered outside the courtroom alongside a crush of international media.
The trial will reveal new information and provide a detailed record of the singer’s final hours in June 2009.
Murray’s trial is expected to be the first time that the public hears — in the defendant’s own words — his account of what happened in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented mansion.
Following opening statements, Jackson’s choreographer and friend, Kenny Ortega, testified that Jackson was in bad shape physically and mentally less than a week before his death.
He said he sent a message to Randy Phillips, producer of the “This Is It” concert, telling him that Jackson was ill, probably should have a psychological evaluation and was not ready to perform.
“It’s important for everyone to know he really wants this,” he wrote. “It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away.”
In response to the email, Ortega said, a meeting was called at Jackson’s house where Ortega clashed with Murray, who told him to stop playing amateur psychiatrist and doctor.
“He said, ‘Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all his responsibilities for the show,”‘ said Ortega, “I was shocked. Michael didn’t seem to be physically or emotionally stable.”
Within a few days, he said, Jackson had recouped his energy and was full of enthusiasm for the show.
During the next five weeks, prosecutors will rely on Ortega and other witnesses to detail Jackson’s final days and hours and explain to a jury of seven men and five women exactly how the King of Pop died. Some of the jurors are Jackson fans, but the panel is diverse. They are men and women of various ethnic backgrounds with occupations ranging from bus driver to college professor.