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Jackson's mother weeps in court, blasts critics

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Michael Jackson's mother Katherine broke down in tears Friday recalling the day her son died, as she testified against tour promoters AEG Live whom she blames over his 2009 death.

Taking the stand 12 weeks into a civil trial, she also lashed out at critics who described the star as a "freak" and said AEG Live should have done more to help the late singer, clearly ill in the weeks before he died.

"When I lost Michael, I lost everything," the 83-year-old said, repeatedly wiping away tears as she was questioned by her lawyer Brian Panish in the Los Angeles courtroom where the wrongful death trial started in late April.

"Michael and I were very close. Michael was the the type of son every mother would want," she added, describing him as "very shy."

Jackson accuses AEG Live of pushing her son too hard as he rehearsed in Los Angeles for a series of "This is It" comeback concerts in London and of negligently hiring doctor Conrad Murray to look after him.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 over Jackson's June 25, 2009 death from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, administered to help the 50-year-old singer with chronic insomnia.

Jackson's 16-year-old son Prince testified last month his exhausted father warned AEG Live was going to "kill" him as he rehearsed for the marathon concert tour.

Katherine Jackson echoed this Friday, saying the tour promoters failed to properly supervise Murray and to respond to clear signs her son was seriously ill in the weeks and days before his death.

"My son was sick... and they knew he was sick, and nobody said 'call the doctor,'" she testified, adding she didn't know who Murray was until after Jackson's death.

"That doctor was for his children, I didn't know who it was," she said, adding: "My son needed another doctor."

In tense exchanges with AEG's lawyer Marvin Putnam, who also questioned her, she repeatedly lashed out at critics of her son.

"It's hard for me sitting in court and listening to people call my son a freak, saying he was lazy," she said, staring intently at Putnam.

"He was not a freak," she added.

Putnam asked her about testimony by tour director Kenny Ortega earlier in the trial, who used the word "lazy" in the sense that Jackson was reluctant to rehearse.

"He knew what he was doing. He didn't need that much rehearsing," she said, adding that, in June 2009, her son "was sick and couldn't rehearse."

Emotions have also spilled over outside the courtroom.

On Tuesday, a shouting match erupted in the hallway as lawyers spoke to reporters about the day's hearing.

Panish and Putnam have repeatedly clashed during the trial. Putnam is expected to begin presenting his case next week, once Katherine Jackson has testified to wrap up the case.

Paris Jackson, 15, was originally expected to be among witnesses called at the Jackson v AEG trial, which is expected to last through August.

But she is now unlikely to do so, after being rushed to the hospital after trying to commit suicide at the family home in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, last month.

She had previously been treated for depression and remains under medical supervision. Her testimony has been heard during the trial, in the form of video of a deposition she gave in March.

Katherine Jackson's testimony caps nearly three months of hearings in a downtown LA courtroom a stone's throw from where Murray was convicted in 2011.

After a full morning on the stand Friday, she resumed testifying after lunch, but appeared confused by questions and within five minutes the judge agreed to recess the case until Monday, when she will finish her testimony.

mt/vlk

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130719/jacksons-mother-weeps-court-blasts-critics-1