Attorney says Jackson ‘useless’ in own business matters

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[b]Attorney says Jackson ‘useless’ in own business matters[/b] LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Michael Jackson’s lawyer told jurors Thursday that a former associate suing the singer owes Jackson $660,000 and that the pop star owes the man nothing. Answering claims by F. Marc Schaffel’s lawyer that Jackson owes $1.4 million, attorney Thomas Mundell outlined every bill and claim by Schaffel and said the former associate was guilty of a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud in his handling of accounts for a business he formed to do work for the pop star. The allegations came in the conclusion of the defense argument. The case was expected to go to the jury after a rebuttal by the plaintiff’s attorney Howard King. In his argument, Mundell showed that the bank accounts for the business, which had once totaled millions, were virtually empty within a month after Jackson fired Schaffel. “The accounts were pretty much looted,” he said, and reiterated his claim that in the following year Schaffel tried to do a side deal to sell rights to a Jackson recording to a Japanese company, Music Fighters, and took $400,000 from that deal to make a down payment on his own home. Mundell addressed the fact that Jackson’s former adviser Alvin Malnik testified that Jackson acknowledged at a meeting that Schaffel had given him half of the $400,000. Mundell urged jurors to disregard that because Jackson “is someone who will agree to anything. … He doesn’t know anything and Michael is too proud to admit he didn’t remember.” “He’s easily led to acknowledge it,” Mundell said, and pointed out that Jackson has said he doesn’t remember such matters as a $7 million loan from Malnik or the $2 million he put into the business with Schaffel. “This is a witness who is useless in his own business matters. He’s so unfocused and out of it he’s of no use at all,” he said. Mundell called Schaffel’s claims regarding the money “preposterous” and said that throughout the relationship with Jackson, Schaffel converted money to his own use and insinuated himself into the breach left by advisers who constantly came and went. “The interesting thing about Michael Jackson’s world is this revolving door of advisers,” he said. “There’s room for someone who wants to take advantage, to weave his way in between these ever-changing affairs and to say he is owed money,” he said. Schaffel initially sued for $3.8 million but the claims were cut to $1.6 million, and on Thursday his attorney outlined for the jury claims totaling $1.4 million. Source:

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