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Wrongful-death defendant’s lawyer called Michael Jackson ‘the freak’ in email shown to jurors

Posted May 23, 2013 12:45 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Michael Jackson in 1997.
Featureflash / Shutterstock

Jurors in the Michael Jackson wrongful-death action Wednesday were shown an email from the defendant’s top in-house lawyer, referring to the late performer as “the freak.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the email was written by Ted Fikre, chief legal and development officer with Anschutz Entertainment Group. The company is being sued by Jackson’s family, who argues that AEG was negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray. In 2011 Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol. The plaintiffs also maintain that the company pushed Jackson too hard physically.

The email in question was sent to Shawn Trell, another AEG in-house lawyer, who was scheduled to visit Jackson. According to the Associated Press it was sent the day Jackson signed a multimillion contract with AEG, to do the ill-fated comeback show “This Is It!”

“Does this mean you get to meet the freak,” Fikre wrote to Trell.

“Apparently. Not sure how I feel about it,” Trell replied. “Interesting for sure, but kind of creepy.”

“Didn't your mother ever tell you if you don't have anything good to say about someone not to say it?” Brian Panish, who represents the plaintiffs, asked Trell during cross examination.

Jessica Stebbins Bina, a lawyer representing AEG, told the Los Angeles Times that the email “speaks for itself.” Also, AEG maintains that it was Jackson who hired Murray. They claim that any money they allegedly paid Murray was actually an advance to Jackson.

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