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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 10:42 GMT
Jackson fails to turn up in court
Michael Jackson's lawyers
Jackson's lawyers turned up - but the star did not
US pop star Michael Jackson has failed to testify in court over a $21m (13.3m) lawsuit, after his lawyer said the singer was absent due to an "unspecified medical problem".

Mr Jackson was last seen at the Santa Maria court in California on Thursday, but he had been limping with crutches, saying a spider had bitten his left foot.

It is not yet known when the singer will continue his testimony.

The star 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 and Honolulu in December 1999.

Michael Jackson
Jackson's recent court appearances have hit headlines
But Mr Jackson, 44, said the millennium shows were cancelled by Mr Avram, after the promoter realised they would not be as profitable as he had hoped.

It was the third time that the singer had not made an appearance during the hearing, which is in its sixth day.

Mr Jackson's lawyer, Zia Modabber, earlier 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.

'Visionary'

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 told the court on Thursday that he was an entertainer not an accountant.

He described himself as a "visionary and a creative person", and that, like the legendary animator Walt Disney, he was "creative but not good with business".


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:

05 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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