Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wade Robson's allegations: the dirty details

Desiree's note: The following is a "housekeeping" entry, NOT a restart of DSSL. Because events have taken place since I last posted to this blog, as well several requests from readers to write about Wade Robson and James Safechuck, I've considered it a good idea to update the website with this entry, in particular, so the information at DSSL can remain somewhat current, allowing for subsequent updates if and when they are needed.

*  *  *  *  *

From Wade Robson's complaint:
"Defendants' conduct . . . was intentional, outrageous, malicious, despicable and beyond the bounds of decent behavior. Defendants committed the . . . despicable acts intentionally, maliciously, wantonly, oppressively and with a conscious disregard for Plaintiff's rights as a child."
Back in May 2013, Wade Robson admitted he was sexually abused by Michael Jackson, calling Jackson a "pedophile". Approximately one year later, James Safechuck, another Jackson "special friend", became the singer's fifth public accuser.

Jackson and Wade, circa 1991
While James has been mum on Jackson for years, Wade Robson defended Jackson on more than one occasion, even swearing under oath during his mentor's 2005 child molestation trial, telling the jury that he was never molested. That was in spite of at least four eye witnesses to the contrary* and Jordie Chandler's statements to Dr. Richard Gardner that Jackson told him Wade would masturbate while Jackson watched.

Jackson and James, circa 1988
Jackson's defenders have used Wade's past statements as proof Jackson was never a pedophile, concluding that Jordie Chandler and Gavin Arvizo were coached to lie by greedy, vindictive parents, and Jason Francia's claims were squeezed from him during aggressive police interrogation. (For the record, Jackson was acquitted of the charges of molesting Gavin Arvizo, but both Jordie Chandler and Jason Francia received settlements in the millions of dollars.) 

By contrast, because of his willingness to defend Michael Jackson against public scrutiny, Wade Robson was marked as a hero by Jackson supporters. He, like Brett Barnes continues to be, represented a young male "special friend" -- now a man -- who not only slept alone with Jackson, in the singer's bed, on many nights, but could also attest to those sleepovers being entirely innocent.

Jackson's fans needed these firsthand accounts, knowing most people believed Jackson to be a child molester. But if Jackson's boys -- now men -- could tell a wary, skeptical public that Jackson was essentially a harmless man-child, the statements of these "special friends" would serve to validate their ardor and give credibility to their obsessive efforts to vindicate him.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Jordie Chandler Settlement revisited


The analysis of the 1994 Settlement below underscores the point that if Jackson willingly paid millions of dollars to Jordie Chandler over claims of sexual abuse, a reasonable person could conclude he was guilty of said crimes. The extended entry homes in on this conclusion by using the actual Settlement Agreement documents and statements by the parties involved.

The [liability] crimes the Settlement Agreement resolved were claims of negligence that Jackson agreed were “offensive” and “explicitly sexual or otherwise”. Jackson even agreed to a “confession of judgment,” an absolutely binding stipulation that promised there would be no complications in his paying Jordie the millions the boy was due; if complications did arise, Jackson agreed to have his assets seized without complaint.

Contrarian arguments by Jackson supporters surround the idea that if it could be proven Jackson not only did not agree to the Settlement but also did not pay it, it was proof of his innocence. As proof of this, fans held up the Oxman memo, an argumentative legal document filed prior to the start of Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial, that sought to preclude any Prosecution discussion of Jackson’s settlement with the Chandlers in front of the jury.

The Oxman memo (links and more details in the extended entry below) was the first of its kind to suggest Jackson was forced to pay the Chandlers, that force acted upon him by his insurance company. More specifically, Brian Oxman argued that unless the Prosecution could prove Jackson paid “every dime” of the Settlement Agreement without the nudge of an insurance carrier seeking to override his wishes for a trial, it would be dangerously prejudicial for them to introduce the theory of it being proof of Jackson having abused Jordie Chandler.

I noted below that that was quite interesting language on Oxman’s part: again, Oxman agreed that if some kind of evidence did exist to prove Jackson paid the Settlement Agreement on his own accord (the Prosecution believed the unredacted copy in Larry Feldman’s possession would provide those details), it would be relevant for the Prosecution to use it to advance the theory that Jackson paid because he was guilty of child molestation.

The Prosecution never did get the document nor were they permitted a detailed discussion of its implications. In that way, the allegations levied against Jackson’s insurance company within the Oxman memo--that they were looking for a quick resolution in spite of Jackson’s proclamations of innocence and the damage a tacit guilty plea could do to his reputation--had yet to be challenged.

However, roughly two months ago, Jackson defense attorney Tom Mesereau gave a Blogtalkradio interview with Jackson sympathizer King Jordan, in which he clarified the Settlement Agreement. The pertinent portion begins at 64:45 and a transcription of Mesereau's exchange with a caller says the following:
CALLER: Hi. Hello? Hi. My name is Lynette, and I'm calling from Minnesota. I spoke with Tom in May about Wade, and, um, I'm a psychiatric nurse. I have a couple of questions about the '93 settlement. Um, was there ever any evidence that it was settled by an insurance company, or paid by them?
TOM MESEREAU: Ah, my understanding was that an insurance company did not pay. Now, the settlement agreement was written, in my opinion--and again, I was not involved in that settlement, ah, you should ask Cap Weitzman about the settlement, or John Branca about it--I was not involved in it. I didn't even know Michael at the time, I wasn't, I didn't meet him until eleven years later, um, but... 
CALLER: Right. 
TOM MESEREAU: My understanding was that the settlement agreement was written to, um, permit the possibility that an insurance company would step in and pay, but I was also told that an insurance company did not pay.
TOM MESEREAU: And that's why there were some people running around saying an insurance company paid it, and that's why it was settled, and uh, my understanding is that's not correct.
CALLER: Well, I think they base that on, um, one of the motions that were filed by Brian Oxman...
TOM MESEREAU: I'm well aware of that.
CALLER: Mmmm. And so they're under the impression that it was paid by an insurance company, and if that's the wrong impression, that's the wrong impression.
TOM MESEREAU: I understand. 
Mesereau, as we heard, dismantled the fan argument of Jackson’s innocence being proven by his not paying the Settlement Agreement. Jackson did pay the Settlement, especially since California has an insurance code that prohibits insurance companies--even if they wanted to (and there is no evidence of that in this case)--from settling criminal conduct.

Mesereau should also be commended for admitting he was not involved whatsoever in the 1993 case and, therefore, would know very little of the goings-on during the affair. This was underscored during his pitiful cross-examinations of June Chandler and Larry Feldman.

As I stated before and I shall state again,
the 1994 Settlement Agreement--and the chronology of events leading to it--provide more than enough reasonable suspicion that Michael Jackson was guilty of sexually abusing Jordie Chandler. 

On January 25, 1994, the nightmare of the Jordie Chandler scandal officially came to a close for Michael Jackson. In exchange for that closure, Jackson signed off on the payment of a handsome sum to Jordie and his parents, said to be, in total, about $25 million.

The sum was staggering--at the time, it would have been about one-tenth of Jackson's net worth. Today, adjusting for inflation, Jordie's settlement would be equivalent to just about $39.2 million.

Certainly not chump change.

To the intelligent observer, that incredible amount of money paid to one's young boy accuser (Jordie Chandler alleged that various sex acts had occurred between he and Jackson, including kissing, lying on top of each other with erections, and nipple-sucking, as well as numerous sessions of masturbation and Jackson's performing fellatio upon the boy, at least fifteen times, all over the globe, followed by the consumption of Jordie's semen) would seem to suggest something needed to be hidden, and hidden fast

For those still defending Jackson, they recognize, quite acutely, what intelligent observers have always noted: settling over, instead of fighting against, claims of child molestation does not tend to be conducive to a position of innocence. Fair or not, it is a fact that paying a settlement looks like an admission of guilt, a clandestine way of maintaining one's reputation without incurring (further) public or even legal scrutiny.  

It is because Jackson apologists know this that they have steadfastly held on to the belief, against all evidence suggesting otherwise, that two things occurred:
  1. Michael Jackson had been forced against his will by his insurance carrier to settle the Chandler civil suit, and;
  2. Jackson was not the payer of the settlement.
Their position is as such: "Michael would've fought the Chandlers in court had the insurance company not settled against his wishes!"

If Jackson did not pay off Jordie Chandler over the boy's abuse claims against Jackson--settling for an obscene and suspicious amount of clams--his defenders can maintain the belief that Jackson was not a child-molesting pedophile, effectively absolving him of all guilt attendant to the misgivings aroused by his behaviors with other people's young sons.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jimmy Safechuck findings

ETA 8-5-2014:
A recent photo of James Safechuck

Details of James Safechuck's abuse have now trickled out, and more will likely emerge in the future. 

According to early media reports of James's court filings, James states he was abused from the age of 10 to 14, "more than 100 times". He states, in court documents, that Jackson would initiate sexual activity by scratching James's palm with his finger while the two held hands, and that Jackson called erections "bright light, brick city" (mirroring Jordie Chandler's statements to Dr. Richard Gardner that Jackson called erections "lights"). Jackson, James states, used such code words so that he and James could discuss sexual topics in front of others without their knowledge.

James also states Jackson dissuaded him from heterosexuality, eventually leading him to question his own whether or not he was gay; Jordie Chandler also told Dr. Gardner Jackson disliked when he showed interest in girls, saying,
Like, he [Jackson] didn't like it if I would want to call a girl or something.
James says that when he showed interest in singer Sheryl Crow, Jackson deviously undermined his crush by showing unflattering pictures of the singer without makeup.

Jordie, who previously named other 'special friends' about whom Jackson would "kiss-and-tell", also revealed in that 1993 interview with Dr. Gardner that Jackson told him James Safechuck, the 'special friend' joining Jackson on the Bad Tour, would masturbate in front of Jackson.

In perhaps the most shocking allegation, James Safechuck states that he and Jackson would drink alcohol (a claim corroborated by both Gavin Arvizo and Aaron Carter) while watching porn, including films depicting children masturbating. Recall, in my post about Wade Robson, Robson alleged that Jackson would show him explicit images of nude young boys. It is well known that police confiscated three books featuring nude children from Jackson's home during the 1993 raid, two of which were published by pedophiles (read information about Jackson's books here). Unfortunately, police never found actual child pornography at any of Jackson's homes, possibly due to Anthony Pellicano's theft of two suitcases from Jackson's Hideout apartment.

And, apropos this post, James Safechuck did have something of a marriage ceremony at Neverland. However, according to Safechuck, the ceremony was with Jackson. Safechuck states they exchanged rings and Jackson even drew up a marriage certificate.

If one reads the extended entry below originally published in November 2011, it looks as though this author has been further vindicated in her pulling-together-the-pieces of James' odd relationship with Jackson.

James' accusations make one wonder why James accompanied Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley to Budapest, Hungary, in 1994, as the photograph below shows...

ETA 6-2-2014:

Mirroring Wade Robson's stunning May 2013 claim of having been abused by Michael Jackson from the ages of 7 to 14, James Safechuck has also now claimed to have been a victim of Jackson. He's currently on a master list, of sorts, of individuals seeking redress or compensation from Jackson's Estate (probate case # BP117321). The Daily Beast broke the story in May 2014. The specific details are still unknown but documents were filed May 9, 2014. Jackson was rumored to have kept James out of school in order to molest him, according to Safechuck's attorney.

For all that has been written in the extended entry below, it seems to go without saying that not only was La Toya Jackson telling the truth about Jackson's schmoozing of a "garbage collector" with "checks payable" in the millions, but also that all three of us -- La Toya, Jack Gordon, and myself -- have been vindicated.

ETA 11-24-2011:

A few clarifications on this piece, since some people find contextualizing mentally taxing and, thus, choose not to do it. It's a measure of a writer's skill and finesse to make things simple and override the desire for verbosity. Consider the following a handy summary.

First, let's go back to Jack Gordon's 1991 interview and that Gordon called Michael Jackson a 'pederast' before he was ever accused of child molestation. So, what's the point of mentioning Gordon? It's twofold:

  1. La Toya Jackson claims now that Jack Gordon was just "jumping on the bandwagon" when the 1993 allegations surfaced. But how did Gordon jump on the bandwagon in 1991, when no one was calling Jackson a pedophile? And, in the event that some perceptive journalist had brought up the idea of Jackson's behavior with children as being 'odd' during that time, is it not interesting that Jackson was then accused of molesting a boy, that charge resulting in a staggering multimillion dollar settlement?
  2. La Toya Jackson claims now that all of what she'd said was fabricated by Jack, but he'd called Jackson a pederast when no one was calling him a pederast (maybe just calling him a 'kooky kid obsessive'); just two years later, when Jackson was accused of the conduct of pederasts, La Toya had stories of her mother showing her a massive check to a person verified as the father of a 'special friend' and admissions that she'd seen her brother's comings-and-goings with various boys at Hayvenhurst, although she admits to have witnessed no incidents of molestation; all of what La Toya Jackson stated in 1993 added to and corroborated the reasonable suspicion that Michael Jackson was guilty of abusing Jordie Chandler, hence why it was said
In a nutshell, what has been illuminated above is the fact that people called Jackson a pedophile before the title seemed interchangeable with that of the 'King of Pop'; he was subsequently accused of pedophilia just a short time later. The same goes with the fact of the Lemarques' 1991 claim of Jackson fondling a distracted Macaulay Culkin and his watching of pornography in the Neverland theater with his boy guests, a claim that was then corroborated by two other pieces of evidence: the Arvizo boys' claim that Jackson showed them pornography and the claim by Santa Barbara County police investigator Jeffery Ellis that when Omer Bhatti had been asked about pornography at Neverland he seemed visibly nervous and loss his use of eloquent speech.

Let's move to La Toya Jackson's seeing a large check made out to James Safechuck, Sr. The extended entry details Mr. Safechuck's prolific history in the garbage business, which, according to public records, dates back to at least 1983. And what is important to glean from this?

Well, if La Toya Jackson claims now that she was a pawn in Jack Gordon's plan to go after her family, Michael Jackson in particular, and that all of what she'd said was a big lie, it's been 'myth-busted'. Evidence exists to prove that the recipient of that check--a father of a 'special friend'--who'd she claimed then was a 'garbage collector', was, in fact, in the garbage collection business!

Why is this important? As noted in the extended entry, La Toya says she was made to lie then and is telling the truth now; verifying one of her alleged lies (her big story had been seeing those 'checks payable') as actually being true disproves that current claim that she had been lying about her brother the whole time back then.

Not a difficult concept, everyone.

Let's move ahead to the questionable factuality of Tom Mesereau's 2005 assertion that former 'special friend' Jimmy Safechuck had been married at Neverland Ranch. In reality, Jimmy Safechuck was married in 2008 to a woman he's still married to and with whom he has a child. There are no records available out of the state of California suggesting that Jimmy had ever been married before; according to laws regarding the publicity of marriage records in the state of California, had a spouse been available, the name of the spouse would have been listed; only 11 of the 50 states comprising the American union allow for marriage records to be searched for on the web or available to parties unrelated to the couple.

For example, Jimmy's father's first and second (current) marriages are available to find.

Jimmy's current marriage was logged in the state of Illinois, where the marriage ceremony had taken place. Thus, a record of that marriage is not searchable online, although his wife helpfully provided pictures of the ceremony. And what if a marriage had taken place at Neverland Ranch, located in California, the same state where Jimmy currently lives and has lived his entire life? Well, it would be searchable online. No records were able to be located. 

So what does this mean with regard to Tom Mesereau? Well, if the suggestion was that Jimmy Safechuck had been wed at Neverland, and this is not the case, it means that Mesereau knowingly lied in open court in order to defend his clientThe significance of a Neverland wedding having never occurred means that this purported event can no longer be used as a reason or 'proof' that Jimmy Safechuck was not abused by Michael Jackson.

And how is this relevant to our beloved Jacko, you ask? 

Quite simply, it means that a few arguments in defense of his dubious innocence have been shaved off, invalidated. One can't say, "Oh, La Toya is a liar," if she'd been proven to tell the truth about her most significant revelation: those 'checks payable' to the parents of 'special friends'. And one cannot say that Jimmy Safechuck was not a molestation victim because of that 'wedding bash' thrown at Jackson's Neverland since it's obviously false and most likely did not occur--what occurred was the joining of spirits of he and his current wife in Chicago, 2008. And one cannot assert that Mesereau is some sanctified Jackson defender if he is also a liar.

Although the extended entry was quite simple to understand, I've been a lamb to explain it once more in easier language and at shorter length.

~ Desiree, Jacko P.I.

According to Jolie Levine, Michael Jackson was a "chicken hawk", a colloquial term for pedophile.

She did not come to this conclusion overnight, of course; it was founded upon her tenure as his personal assistant. Unique requirements for that job included running errands for Jackson, as well as picking up gifts for those individuals he believed to be 'special'. More often than not, Levine was called to purchase playthings for young boys.

She revealed to police investigators Jackson's penchant for seductively high-priced 'gift-giving' to special families, to which she almost became susceptible (Michael Jackson liked her ten-year-old son, Yoshi). Levine, however, was quite firm in her stance that Jackson giving her presents was totally inappropriate.

She also shed light on her employer's knack for sleepovers with young boys, as well. As per her interview with the police, Levine claimed that, while on the Bad Tour, Michael Jackson repeatedly shared a bed with that moment's chosen young boy 'special friend', even when other beds were available.

At that time, the chosen boy was Jimmy Safechuck.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just another tale of 'Celebrity Justice' in the great ol' U.S.A.

ETA 9-3-2012: "Jacko" killed Michael Jackson

It has been the position of this website that Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's erstwhile doctor, was unjustly incarcerated for Jackson's "death". Why this stance? As pointed out in two previous posts, Jackson's doctor should've been considered blameless because (a) he was following the orders of a patient who'd had previous experience with Propofol, and (b) his doctor's position was interchangeable given that patient's previous experience (Jackson had used numerous doctors for Propofol dispensation in the past).

But common sense sometimes does not move juries and, to be sure, the charge Murray faced absolutely was in line with his actions, if only, of course, one ignores the fact that Propofol was not illegal to use outside of a hospital setting. What was illegal, however, was a patient dying from an action that was merely an ethical misstep. 

Considering everything--the interchangeability of Dr. Murray, Jackson's familiarity with and prior use of Propofol, his drug abuse and alcoholism--it would be an extension of sentimentality, not rationality, to convict a doctor for giving a patient what the patient wants. 

I call it sentimentality because we are beholden to a belief that doctors are always stiff-backed and level-headed people who are not actually human but borne of a world in-between mortal and divine; when this idea is violated, we react, maybe correctly, with anger and teeth-gnashing--we are offended. This is only compounded when we remember who the "victim" was: a shining star, a celebrity: Our Michael

But we should not rule on sentimentality. The fact of the matter is that Michael Jackson was a drug addict who needed money, and was willing to do whatever he needed to do to secure the millions he would've been guaranteed had he did those This Is It shows.

Was he ready? No, and his Propofol dependency would never yield the fruit of preparedness. Was he able? No--he hadn't been able for years: too much drugs, booze, boys, crazy. But was he willing? Yes, a point that should not be understated.

The Los Angeles Times' Ryan Harriet wrote an intriguing piece about the extent to which Jackson was incapable of being the performer the world had come to admire, that he was drunk, sick, drug-addled, depressed but desperately needing money. 

And not only that, AEG Live's Randy Philips knew all about it and secured a multimillion-dollar insurance policy guaranteeing a safety net in the likely event that Jackson would be "too sick" to do the concerts. In a word, AEG was set--this policy was predicated on the lie that Jackson was healthy. For those who certainly remember, Philips and This Is It dancers and musicians made frequent media appearances claiming that Jackson was in great shape and excited; Philips also went into "cover your ass" mode on the stand during Murray's trial, claiming no knowledge of Jackson's inabilities and all but reneging on previous assertions that Murray was a good and competent doctor. The LA Times article disproves these former statements.

It is worth remembering who is really responsible for Jackson's death. For those who are interested in maintaining Michael Jackson's image as an innocent victim of greedy people who, not unlike Joe Jackson in Michael's younger years, wanted him to sing and dance so they could line their pockets, they are not wholly incorrect.

The reality is that capitalism had a hand in destroying Michael Jackson.

But it is faulty to forget that Jackson was also a capitalist and, thus, culpable in his own demise. He was the showman who wanted to be the best and, for profit, allowed his fans to make him into things he never was and could never be. But capitalism isn't only to blame. At the end of the day, Jacko--the Jackson that ruined his fame with alcohol, drugs, and boys, and refused to get help--did Michael in. He was all that was left, as the article shows, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop whatever Jacko wanted to do.

Article in its entirety:
The scene in Michael Jackson's London hotel suite left Randy Phillips in a panic. Phillips was one of the world's most powerful music promoters and used to rock 'n' roll chaos, but the star's condition still floored him.

"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," Phillips said in an email to his boss at Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Los Angeles company staking a fortune on the singer. "I [am] trying to sober him up."

Across the Atlantic, where it was still early morning, AEG President Tim Leiweke read the message and fired back on his BlackBerry: "Are you kidding me?"

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

The story of Jackson's ill-fated comeback attempt has been told in news reports, a manslaughter trial and a feature-length documentary. But a cache of confidential AEG emails obtained by The Times offers a darker picture of the relationship between the down-on-his-luck idol and the buttoned-up corporation taking a bet on his erratic talents.

The 250 pages of messages illuminate the extent to which top executives were aware of doubts about Jackson's stability as they prepared for his 50-show concert run at their London arena.

The emails will probably play a central role in two lawsuits set for trial next year. The shows' insurers are asking a judge to nullify a $17.5-million policy that they say AEG got with false claims about Jackson's health and readiness to perform. Jackson's heirs are pressing a wrongful-death suit that accuses AEG of pressuring the pop star to carry on with a comeback despite indications he was too weak.

Lawyers for AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, said most of the correspondence was produced as discovery in ongoing litigation. They said the messages reviewed by The Times were incomplete and leaked to portray the company in a negative light. The lawyers declined to provide additional emails that they said would give a fuller picture, citing a protective order imposed by a judge in the civil litigation.

"If you are in the creative arts business, you are going to be involved with individuals who have a great many problems," said AEG attorney Marvin Putnam. "Michael Jackson was an adult and … it is supercilious to say he was unable to take care of his own affairs."

Michael Jackson was a megastar but also had a trail of burned investors and canceled performances that loomed large when AEG began contemplating a deal with him in the fall of 2008.

Even before meeting with Jackson, executives at the highest levels of AEG, including billionaire founder Phil Anschutz, were seeking insurance to protect the company's bottom line if the shows didn't come off, according to the emails.

Anschutz invited Jackson to a meeting at a Las Vegas villa in September 2008. Paul Gongaware, an AEG Live executive who knew Jackson, emailed colleagues a strategy memo. Wear casual clothes, he told them, "as MJ is distrustful of people in suits" and expect to talk "fluff" with "Mikey."

The company was proposing a world tour that would net the cash-strapped star $132 million, according to the memo. "This is not a number that MJ will want to hear. He thinks he is so much bigger than that," Gongaware warned. Talk in terms of gross receipts, he suggested.

The singer and AEG signed a deal in January 2009. According to the contract, AEG agreed to bankroll a series of London concerts at its 02 Arena and Jackson promised "a first-class performance." If he reneged, AEG would take control of the debt-ridden singer's company and use the income from his music catalogs to recoup its money.

There were doubters inside and outside the company. Dan Beckerman, AEG's chief operating officer, sent Phillips, the chief executive of concert division AEG Live, a YouTube link to Jackson's shaky 2001 MTV appearance and asked, "Can he pull this off?"

"With time and rehearsal," Phillips wrote back.

Pressed by another promoter about Jackson's ability to deliver, Phillips shot back in an email, "He has to or financial disaster awaits."

The contract required a medical examination as part of AEG's effort to get cancellation insurance, and nine days after Jackson signed, a New York doctor went to the star's Holmby Hills mansion. Dr. David Slavit concluded that Jackson was in "excellent condition," an assessment that AEG would tout in the coming months as proof that their star was healthy.

It's unclear how thorough the exam was. Slavit, an ear, nose and throat doctor who listed his specialty as "care of the professional voice," wrote extensively about Jackson's vocal cords in his report, which AEG said was given to its insurance broker. But he was silent on Jackson's well-documented substance abuse problems.

The singer had dropped out of at least one tour for drug treatment, but Slavit wrote that past cancellations were "related to dehydration and exhaustion."

Asked on a questionnaire in the report whether he had "ever been treated for or had any indication of excessive use of alcohol or drugs," Jackson circled "no."

AEG planned to announce Jackson's comeback in March with a London news conference. But as the date drew near, Jackson dropped out of sight. Inside AEG, there was growing fear.

"We are holding all the risk," Gongaware wrote to Phillips. "We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money.... We cannot be forced into stopping this, which MJ will try to do because he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants."

"He is locked. He has no choice … he signed a contract," Gongaware wrote.

Publicly, AEG projected confidence. "The man is very sane, the man is very focused, the man is very healthy," Leiweke assured a music industry symposium the day before the news conference.

Jackson made it to London, but according to emails Phillips sent to Leiweke, the star was intoxicated and refused to leave his suite. In the end, the emails show, Phillips and Jackson's manager had to dress him.

"He is scared to death," Phillips wrote to Leiweke.

In an interview, AEG's attorney Putnam suggested Phillips had exaggerated in his emails and said Jackson's behavior appeared to be a case of "nerves."

Jackson arrived 90 minutes late for the news conference and his brief comments struck some of the 350 reporters gathered as disjointed and strange. Still, fan enthusiasm was undeniable: Demand for an initial 10 shows crashed Ticketmaster's servers.

Two months later, Jackson and AEG got insurance from Lloyd's of London, according to the policy that is contained in court records. For rehearsals in L.A., it only covered accidents. The policy would expand to include illness and death coverage when Jackson got to London and was evaluated by Lloyd's doctors there.

AEG officials first met Dr. Conrad Murray during May rehearsals. In the trial last year that ended with Murray's manslaughter conviction, witnesses testified that Jackson insisted that AEG hire the doctor as his personal physician for the London shows at $150,000 a month.

Murray, who was deep in debt and in danger of losing his home, was giving Jackson nightly doses of propofol, a powerful surgical anesthetic, for his chronic insomnia, according to the doctor's statement to police.

In an interview, AEG's lawyers noted that none of the emails referred to propofol and said no one at the company knew about Murray's use of it. Jackson died before signing Murray's contract, and the doctor was never paid by AEG.

Those rehearsing with Jackson began sounding alarms in mid-June, according to the emails, a month before his scheduled debut in London. They complained he missed rehearsals, was slow picking up routines and would have to lip-sync some of his signature numbers.

"MJ is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time," the show's musical director informed supervisors in an email. Jackson missed another week of rehearsals, and when he finally showed up June 19, he was too weak to perform.

Emails reviewed by The Times show far greater alarm about Jackson's mental state than has emerged previously.

"He was a basket case," a production manager wrote. "Doubt is pervasive."

"We have a real problem here," Phillips wrote to Leiweke.

The show's director, Kenny Ortega, told Phillips their star was not ready for the comeback and called for a psychiatric intervention: "There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior. I think the very best thing we can do is get a top Psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP.

"It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state," wrote Ortega, who had known Jackson for 20 years. "I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."

Phillips resisted the request for immediate psychiatric intervention. "It is critical that neither you, me or anyone around this show become amateur psychiatrists or physicians," Phillips wrote.

He added that Murray, "who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more," was confident the singer was ready.

"This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he [is] totally unbiased and ethical," Phillips wrote.

At a meeting that day, Jackson vowed to improve, and Murray said he would help. By all accounts, the next two days of rehearsals — the last of Jackson's life — were superb.

In the recent interview, AEG's lawyer said the company responded responsibly to concerns raised by Ortega and others by monitoring rehearsals and consulting Jackson and his physician.

"Michael and the doctor stressed that he was OK. They had it under control," Putnam said.

Numerous emails show that at the same time, Lloyd's of London was pressing AEG to schedule a complete medical examination for Jackson. The insurance company had to be convinced the singer was healthy before they would expand the policy to include illness and death, crucial coverage given reports from rehearsals.

That four-hour exam by Lloyd's in London would include three doctors, heart monitoring and blood work. AEG's insurance broker tried to persuade Lloyd's to drop the physical, according to the email discussions by AEG officials. AEG suggested Murray could provide an oral recitation of Jackson's recent medical history instead. Lloyd's refused.

Since agreeing to the policy in May, Lloyd's had sought additional information from AEG — medical records, details about Jackson's daily fitness program and responses to media reports about his health.

"Always with no response," a Lloyd's underwriter wrote.

Lloyd's also insisted on five years of medical records. The insurance company wrote that it wanted a thorough account for all doctor's appointments, hospital visits and cosmetic procedures since 2003.

Within AEG, it was determined that Murray was the best hope to get the records, and in the final week of Jackson's life, officials sent at least 10 emails reminding him to gather them.

Murray responded to the last of the requests June 25 in Jackson's darkened bedroom suite, according to emails presented at the doctor's criminal trial. He wrote that he had talked to Jackson and "Authorization was denied,"

Less than an hour later, Jackson stopped breathing, according to a timeline Murray gave police.

A week later, AEG filed a claim for the entire $17.5-million insurance policy and said publicly that it was out more than $35 million.

But within a very short period, it became clear that Jackson's demise, however terrible for those who loved him, was a commercial boon for his heirs and for AEG.

The celebratory documentary "This Is It," which AEG co-produced alone grossed more than $260 million worldwide.

"Michael's death is a terrible tragedy, but life must go on. AEG will make a fortune from merch sales, ticket retention, the touring exhibition and the film/dvd," Phillips wrote to a concert business colleague in August, adding, "I still wish he was here!"