Michael Jackson tells his side by video in suit over alleged debt

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[b]Michael Jackson tells his side by video in suit over alleged debt[/b] By LINDA DEUTSCH The Associated Press SANTA MONICA The plaintiff in a lawsuit against Michael Jackson prepared to rest his case Friday after the jury was shown hours of videotaped testimony from the star, who professed little memory of major financial transactions involving the former associate who claims he’s owed $1.6 million. Jackson, who was interviewed twice in London by F. Marc Schaffel’s attorney, Howard King, said he did remember at least one occasion when Schaffel delivered money to him on the set of a music video. He said it arrived in a fast-food bag and they called it “french fries,” which became their slang for money. But Jackson said he thought that any money Schaffel gave him came from Jackson’s own funds. “You never realized it was his own money?” asked King. “I would never ask him for his money,” Jackson responded. “That’s ridiculous. I would never.” Schaffel’s lawsuit originally claimed Jackson owed him $3.8 million for unpaid loans, royalties and other debts but he has now reduced the claim to $1.6 million. Jackson’s videotaped deposition was shown to the jury because the singer will not appear at the trial. Jackson was asked if he would want to pay back the money if he learned that it was Schaffel’s. “He never insinuated that it was his and I don’t believe it to be his,” Jackson said. Jackson also said he remembered Schaffel working on the production of his ill-fated charity record “What More Can I Give” but didn’t expect him to be paid, thinking that his efforts were a charitable donation. When he found out in late 2001 that Schaffel had a background in producing gay adult movies, Jackson said he decided to fire Schaffel but didn’t do it personally because he didn’t want to embarrass him. Asked how Schaffel wound up back in his employment in 2003 when he produced two TV specials that aired on Fox, Jackson said, “I didn’t directly rehire Marc Schaffel. It was somebody in the organization who obviously did.” Of Schaffel’s role in the productions, he said, “He was more in the background … he didn’t direct it.” Jackson also said he couldn’t remember giving Schaffel instructions for such chores as paying Marlon Brando $1 million to appear at Madison Square Garden for a show Jackson was doing in September 2001. “I don’t remember mentioning it to Marc,” he said. “Did you want to pay Marlon Brando $1 million for appearing at your Madison Square Garden concert?” asked King. “It wasn’t so much for the appearance as it was for the fact that he said he really needed it and I wanted to help a friend,” Jackson said. When King pressed Jackson about whether Schaffel once loaned him a million dollars in cash, he again cited a lack of memory but suggested he would not have taken such an amount if it wasn’t his own funds. “Nobody just gives me money,” he said. “I would expect it if it is mine. I wouldn’t just take it from somebody. That’s not right and I work for what I get. Don’t make like I’m begging from anybody. I have pride.” He also laughed at one point when King suggested that Schaffel had given him $375,000 to go shopping. “It sounds spoiled, but it doesn’t sound like me,” Jackson said. “Give me $300,000 to go shopping? That’s not me. I am sorry.” King followed up with a question: “You’re not a big shopper?” “Not like that, no,” said Jackson. Published: Friday, July 7, 2006 13:54 PDT Source: http://www.pe.com/ap_news/California2/CA_Michael_Jackson_244364CA.shtml

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