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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 07:34 GMT
'Visionary' Jackson back in court
Michael Jackson signing autographs
Despite being late, Jackson still spent time with fans
Singer Michael Jackson has told a US court he can shed little light on financial matters because he is a creative "visionary", while testifying in the case in which his promoter is suing him for $21.2m (14m).

The reclusive star, who turned up four hours late for the second day of the case, is being sued by German music publicist Marcel Avram - who has worked with Mr Jackson since 1972.

Mr Avram contends that the singer pulled out of a deal to perform in Sydney, Australia, and Honolulu over the millennium.

But Mr Jackson said the shows were cancelled by Mr Avram, after the promoter realised they would not be as profitable as he had hoped.

Michael Jackson
Jackson had to take off his trademark mask once in court
The singer told the court on Thursday: "There's an overview (that I get) of what's going on financially, but I'm in the creative department. I'm a visionary."

According to the Celebrity Justice television show, Mr Jackson said he was late at the Santa Barbara County Superior Court, north of Los Angeles, for medical reasons.

"Jackson's lawyer is said to have objected to unflattering photos of the star taken by a court photographer on the first say of the hearing," said the BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles.

But the programme also revealed that the judge had summoned a photographer into chambers following the complaint by Mr Jackson's lawyers.

The pictures, taken when Mr Jackson had removed his trademark surgical mask while giving evidence, reveal a rare glimpse of the face of the 44-year-old pop superstar, who is said to have undergone extensive plastic surgery.

Michael Jackson trial
The audience had won a lottery for seats
The world-famous star spent much of Wednesday on the witness stand, being grilled about why he did not appear at two concerts.

Mr Jackson's lawyer told the court that Mr Avram had agreed the singer was to have been paid $15m (9m) for the concerts.

But Mr Avram's lawyer, Louis Miller, said his client had had no motive to cancel the concerts, adding that Mr Jackson was paid a $1m (600,000) advance and had debts totalling $1.2m (750,000) covered.


He could not live up to the huge promises he made to Mr Jackson

Mr Jackson's lawyer, of Mr Avram

The promoter said he tried for six months to reach an amicable agreement with Mr Jackson over the concerts, which had been billed as Michael Jackson and Friends.

They were to feature other performers including Ringo Starr and Mariah Carey.

Mr Jackson's lawyer, Zia Modabber, said Mr Avram postponed the concerts in October 1999, when he met with the singer's representatives.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is a long-established star
"He could not live up to the huge promises he made to Mr Jackson," Mr Modabber said.

But Mr Miller tried to highlight alleged discrepancies in a testimony given by Mr Jackson in June last year.

The singer was asked about a phone call he said he had received from Mr Avram to call off the two concerts, but which Mr Avram denies took place.

"I remember being in the bathroom, it was a private call," Mr Jackson told the court on Wednesday.

Mr Miller said Mr Jackson had said earlier he was not sure where he had taken the call.

The court proceedings are being watched by about 30 people who have won a lottery for seats.

The case continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Willis
"Hundreds of screaming fans gathered outside the court"

BBC News Online looks at the many faces of singer Michael Jackson, who is currently being sued for $21.2mChanging faces
Photos charting transformation of Michael Jackson
See also:

14 Nov 02 | Entertainment
27 Jun 00 | Entertainment
15 Oct 99 | Entertainment
25 Apr 02 | Entertainment
28 Oct 01 | Entertainment
05 Mar 01 | Entertainment
05 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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