Skip to main content

AEG Live exec: 'Celine Dion's bigger than MJ'

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
<strong>Katherine Jackson: </strong>Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts. Katherine Jackson: Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts.
HIDE CAPTION
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
Key players in Jackson wrongful death trial
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AEG Live's John Meglin disputed an estimate of how much Michael Jackson could've earned
  • An expert said Jackson would have earned at least $1.5 billion had he lived to age 66
  • If jurors decide AEG Live is liable in Jackson's death, the estimate could guide damages
  • A nurse who gave Jackson anesthesia is set to testify Thursday

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A top executive with AEG Live insists Celine Dion is a "bigger" artist than Michael Jackson.

John Meglin, testifying Wednesday at the wrongful death trial of AEG Live, also downplayed how many tickets Jackson could have sold if he had not died while preparing for his comeback concerts.

AEG Live lawyers are challenging an entertainment expert hired by Jackson lawyers who estimated the King of Pop would have earned $1.5 billion touring the world before his 66th birthday had he not died from an overdose of a surgical anesthetic at age 50.

Michael Jackson's mother and three children contend the company is liable for damages because it hired, retained or supervised the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his death.

On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was leaving a boxing event in Las Vegas when he was shot multiple times. Six days later, he was dead at 25. He left behind an ever-increasing fan base, a catalog of music and one of culture's most persistent mysteries. The presumption is that his death was caused by the volatile East Coast/Wast Coast rap war of the era, a feud that held Tupac and New York rapper Notorious B.I.G. as its avatars. Although nearly every fan has his or her own theory on who was involved in the young talent's death, his murder remains unsolved. On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was leaving a boxing event in Las Vegas when he was shot multiple times. Six days later, he was dead at 25. He left behind an ever-increasing fan base, a catalog of music and one of culture's most persistent mysteries. The presumption is that his death was caused by the volatile East Coast/Wast Coast rap war of the era, a feud that held Tupac and New York rapper Notorious B.I.G. as its avatars. Although nearly every fan has his or her own theory on who was involved in the young talent's death, his murder remains unsolved.
Tupac Shakur
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Controversial celebrity deaths Photos: Controversial celebrity deaths

If jurors agree, they could then use estimates of Jackson's lost earnings as a guide to determine how much AEG Live -- the promoter and producer of his "This Is It" tour -- must pay the Jacksons in damages.

Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian of all time, tweeted Sunday, October 5, that he is taking a break from the sport "to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself." The announcement came after Phelps was charged on September 30 with driving under the influence of alcohol. Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian of all time, tweeted Sunday, October 5, that he is taking a break from the sport "to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself." The announcement came after Phelps was charged on September 30 with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Celebrity substance abuse confessions
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Celebrity substance abuse confessions Celebrity substance abuse confessions

AEG Live lawyers argue that Jackson -- not its executives -- chose and controlled Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who signed a $150,000 a month contract with the company to serve as Jackson's doctor for the tour. AEG Live executives never signed the contract, which Murray returned to them just hours before Jackson's death.

A nurse anesthetist will testify Thursday about administering anesthesia to Jackson during a medical procedure. He will be the first of what AEG Live lead lawyer Marvin Putnam said would be a parade of "many, many" medical professionals who treated Jackson. The company will try to prove that Jackson was a secretive drug addict, which prevented promoters from knowing about the dangers he faced under Murray's care.

AEG Live tries to show Jackson had secret drug addiction

Meglin, who has been a concert promoter since the 1970s, is the CEO of Concerts West, the division of AEG Live that was in charge of Michael Jackson's tour. He was the first witness called as the company began presenting its defense in the 13th week of the trial.

Much of his testimony was focused on attacking the analysis of certified public accountant Arthur Erk, who testified last week that he was "reasonably certain" that Jackson would have performed 260 shows around the world as part of his "This Is It" tour. He would have earned $890 million over the three years of concerts in Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Australia, Erk said.

Jackson would have earned at least $1.5 billion from touring, endorsements and sponsorships had he lived to age 66, Erk said.

Erk's analysis suggested Jackson would stage many of his shows in large stadiums, with more than 90,000 fans buying tickets to many of the concerts. But Meglin testified that his experience told him that no stadiums would seat that many people for Jackson's kind of show. The Erk estimates were inflated by about 30%, Meglin testified.

The Rose Bowl would only seat 60,000, Meglin said. Although Billboard Magazine reported that U2 performed for 97,000 people in the Pasadena, California, venue in 2009, Meglin said he was "trusting my gut" that the numbers were inflated. "I know how those numbers can be manipulated," he said.

Jackson lead lawyer Brian Panish noted that 98,000 people were in the Rose Bowl seats when Michael Jackson performed the halftime show for Super Bowl 27 in 1993.

Jackson's mom faces cross examination

Meglin also contested Erk's suggestion that Jackson would have taken his tour to India for at least three shows.

"Nobody goes to India," he said. He later acknowledged that Jackson performed there during his HIStory tour.

"It's not a very big market," Meglin said of India, which is home to about 1.25 billion people.

Meglin also disagreed with what one of his superiors, AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, wrote in an e-mail that there was enough demand in England alone to sell out more that 200 Jackson shows. "He believed that," Meglin testified. "I don't believe that."

Fans bought all 750,000 tickets put on sale for 31 shows in March 2009 in just two hours, Phillips said. Enough buyers were already registered to sell out another 100 shows, Phillips wrote.

Meglin also disagreed with Phillips' opinion that Michael Jackson was the biggest entertainment artist ever.

"I do myself personally believe that that is not true," Meglin testified Wednesday. "In my opinion Celine Dion is right up there with Michael Jackson and, to me, she is bigger."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The Jackson family
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Michael Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of two of his children may now be thrust into the center of the high-profile trial.
updated 4:47 AM EDT, Fri July 26, 2013
A nurse who administered propofol to Michael Jackson more than a dozen times said the pop star did not appear to be a drug-seeker.
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
A top executive with AEG Live insists Celine Dion is a "bigger" artist than Michael Jackson.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013
Michael Jackson's mother told jurors she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live "because I want to know what really happened to my son."
updated 6:46 AM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
Kenny Ortega choked up with emotion as he read aloud an e-mail he wrote days before Michael Jackson's death.
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Mon June 24, 2013
Michael Jackson died while preparing to set a world record for the most successful concert run, but he unknowingly set another record that led to his death.
updated 7:06 PM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
Paris and Prince Jackson made their first appearances in the wrongful death trial against their father's last concert promoter.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Thu July 4, 2013
A London tabloid declared that "secret FBI files" reveal Michael Jackson paid millions to silence dozens of boys he abused.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Sun June 16, 2013
Michael Jackson's health deteriorated so badly that he couldn't perform some of his trademark dance moves.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Thu June 6, 2013
Like her father had done countless times before, Paris Jackson stepped to the microphone.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Fri May 31, 2013
The phrase most spoken by AEG Live's co-CEO during his testimony in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial was: "I don't recall."
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
A dancer-choreographer befriended by Michael Jackson when he was a child now calls the late pop icon "a pedophile and a child sexual abuser."
updated 4:34 PM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
Jurors hearing the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial got a stark look at the dead pop icon after a lawyer showed them an autopsy photo.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
The doctor convicted in Michael Jackson's death serenaded CNN's Anderson Cooper with a song that he said "tells my story."
updated 5:59 PM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
Click through photos remembering Michael Jackson's legacy.
ADVERTISEMENT