Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Jackson to appear at High Court

Sheikh Abdulla and Michael Jackson in 2005
Sheikh Abdulla and Michael Jackson formed a close friendship

Singer Michael Jackson is to give evidence at London's High Court to counter allegations that he breached a music contract with an Arab sheikh.

The star is due to appear in court next week after his lawyer announced that he had been cleared by his medical advisers to travel from the US.

Mr Jackson, 50, is expected to arrive in the UK over the weekend and will give evidence on Monday afternoon.

An application for him to appear via video link was withdrawn.

'Fantastic intellectual'

"He has been cleared by his medical advisers to travel in two days' time," said the pop star's barrister, Robert Englehart QC.

The King of Bahrain's second son, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, claims Mr Jackson reneged on a music deal.

He is suing the performer for £4.7 million, claiming that under their agreement, an album, stage play and candid autobiography were to be produced.

Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa
Sheikh Abdulla called Jackson a "delightful" person

The Bahraini royal gave evidence on Thursday, and agreed under questioning that Mr Jackson is an "emotionally vulnerable" person.

But he added that he was a "delightful" person and always "with it".

"I regarded him in the same way as other businessmen. He is a person who is very switched on, a fantastic businessman and fantastic intellectual," Sheikh Abdulla said.

He confirmed to the court that he sent Mr Jackson $350,000 (£236,210) and then $1 million (£675,000) during the singer's child abuse trial in 2005.

But he denied the payments were gifts, and told the court they "were sent to help Michael, and many times he confirmed to me he would pay me back".

The pop star was invited to Bahrain after his acquittal by the Sheikh, and stayed in the Gulf state for six months.

The court has already heard that the sheikh planned to revive Mr Jackson's career with songs he had written himself.

'Suitable dressings'

Mr Jackson has rejected the allegations, saying there was no valid agreement and that the case was based on "mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence".

He added that no project was ever finalised, and any payments he received from the sheikh were "gifts".

Earlier this week, the court heard that Mr Jackson may be suffering from an unspecified medical condition and that "even in a best-case scenario it would be unwise to travel" to the UK to give evidence.

A letter from the singer's doctor was shown to the court but not read out.

At the time, Mr Jackson's lawyer added that he was awaiting the outcome of test results.

The sheikh's legal team contended that the outcome of pathology tests would take no more 48 hours to be determined.

The defence team's experts also said that, even if test results were positive, it would be possible for Mr Jackson to fly to London with "suitable dressings".

The case is being held in London by mutual agreement of both parties.

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SEE ALSO
Jackson 'too sick' for court case
18 Nov 08 |  Entertainment
Sheikh 'planned Jackson revival'
17 Nov 08 |  Entertainment
Jackson to make album in Bahrain
19 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Michael Jackson 'in Bahrain trip'
30 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Jackson turns 50: Highs and lows
29 Aug 08 |  Entertainment


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