- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LOS ANGELES — The last days of Michael Jackson’s life were filled with the adulation of fans, a rehearsal performance onlookers described as amazing and intense preparations for his big comeback in London.

In good spirits, Jackson chatted with well-wishers outside his home and at the Staples Center, where he practiced songs and dance routines before he returned home. Things then took a tragic turn, said Michael Amir Williams, Jackson’s personal assistant, who testified Wednesday in the trial of the doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter in the superstar’s death.

Mr. Williams, who had gone with him to the rehearsal and dropped Jackson at home, said he got a frantic call the next day from Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. “He said, ‘Get here right away. Mr. Jackson had a bad reaction.’ He said, ‘Get someone up here right away,’ ” Mr. Williams told the jury.

A security guard, Faheem Muhammad, testified that he arrived at Jackson’s bedroom to find Dr. Murray sweating and nervous, leaning over Jackson and trying to revive him. He said that Jackson’s two older children, Paris and Prince, were in shock, and that Paris fell to the ground, curled up and weeping.

Moments later, Mr. Muhammad said, he heard Dr. Murray ask if anyone knew CPR.

The testimony on the second day of the trial helped shed light on what Dr. Murray did and didn’t do after he found Jackson unconscious in June 2009. Dr. Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and would have to relinquish his medical license.

On June 24, 2009, the day before Jackson’s death, Dr. Murray was in negotiations to join Jackson on his tour as his personal physician, testified lawyer Kathy Jorrie of concert giant AEG Live. She said she was gathering information for an insurance company to make sure Jackson was in good health and could be insured.

“Dr. Murray told me repeatedly that Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition. Don’t worry about it. He’s great,” she recalled.

Ms. Jorrie said Dr. Murray had added to his contract a provision for a CPR machine when they got to London for the highly touted show that would include 50 concerts over nine months. “He needed to be sure if something went wrong, he would have such a machine available,” she said. “He also told me it was customary.”

Dr. Murray signed the contract, which would give him $150,000 a month, and faxed it to her that night, she said. Jackson, however, would never get to sign it.

In the late afternoon of June 24, Mr. Williams said he arranged for a car and accompanied his boss to Staples Center for a key rehearsal. He said Jackson was in good spirits and had the car stop at the gate so he could roll down the window and chat with fans who were always camped there.

“He would make sure we stopped, stick out his hand, anything to show his fans he loved them,” he said.

Mr. Williams managed to watch Jackson onstage. “I was an employee but I was a fan first,” he said. “I would try to sneak in to watch him. I was working constantly, but I was able to see him perform a little.”

How was his performance, asked Deputy District Attorney David Walgren.

“Personally, I thought it was amazing,” Mr. Williams said. “I thought it was the best thing in the world. He had told me he didn’t go 100 percent for the rehearsal. It was about 40 percent. But I thought it was great.”

They returned to Jackson’s rented Holmby Hills mansion after that, stopping at the gate again. “He was in good spirits,” Mr. Williams said. “He wanted to stop and say, ‘Hi.’ He even had some conversation with the fans.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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